There always seems to be a battle of the shiny new thing in social media: Google+, Ello, have each been called the “Facebook Killer” and quickly came and went. This week’s Social Update isn’t about the next shiniest platform. Instead, it’s about a fundamental shift in the way that people are sharing content, and that just happened to show up first in the battle of Meerkat vs Periscope.

Live (or near-live) video sharing just wasn’t a thing that was possible until we got crazy fast networks and super-computers in our pockets. Now that our LTE networks and infinite-resolution cameras allow us to literally upload and download video files as quickly as we can shoot them, a whole new realm of possibility has opened up: Instead of 140 clever characters (which were made possible by the breakthrough SMS-to-web technology – crazy, right?) we can now share whatever’s happening around us or in our brains instantly, and without barriers.

That is a big deal, and not because these technology updates are changing our behaviours – we’ve always been the same. You think that the Alexander Graham Bell wouldn’t have much rather live-streamed that first phone call with crystal clear 1080 resolution rather than holding a heavy piece of iron to his head? You know that he would have been adding filters to his messages like a boss.
Bell Snapchat
The truth is that our desire to communicate, to share, will always grow to the extent that our technology will allow us. When we were able to share through text and hashtags, Twitter owned the Super Bowl. When high quality photos became accessible, then Instagram became the most talked-about social media channel.

The one that has evolved, adapted and actually led the pack in every measurable category is, of course, Facebook. And now it’s taking the lead again.

The really amazing thing about Facebook is that it’s rarely first to anything. It wasn’t the first network to offer Friend-ing (Friendster, Hi5), or Wall posting (MySpace, Hi5), or private messaging (BBM, Twitter, ICQ), but it was the best at all of those things, and now it’s doing the same thing with live streaming video.

In 2015 Meerkat and Periscope burst onto the social media scene, each battling for ownership of peer-to-peer live streaming video. Users, influencers, brands and media all flocked to one side or another to plant their flags early with the eventual winning team. The way that it’s looking now is that the winner will be neither: This week Facebook introduced live streaming video right into its timeline.

Image source:

Yes, that’s The Rock live-streaming his face to the world from the red carpet to his millions of adoring fans.

As of this week, that same feature is now available to millions of mainstream Facebook users, meaning that we’re going to start seeing live streaming content from every buddy, Mom, Dad and brand that we’re connected to on Facebook.

Our newsfeeds aside, the bigger picture here is that, for the first time in history, we’re going to be able to access real-time, streaming feeds anywhere in the world, anytime we want from a device that lives in our pockets.

Imagine friends and families of travellers in the 80s whose only contact for months was the occasional overpriced phone call, or early 2000s emailers, learning that we can now access a wide open stream of video that’s live-broadcasting our friends anywhere in the world, live to wherever in the world that we are, in an instant.

That’s creating a major shift in the way that brands communicate with their audiences. And I don’t mean the kind of “2 way communication is the wave of the future” kind of social media evangelicalism that we’ve all been privy to for the past 5 years. I mean: social text to rich media communication is as big a change as phone to email was, and then email to text-based social media was.

There is no longer any reason for anyone not to be creating rich media content and communication except because they’re indecisive, unsure of the message, or generally nervous about putting video content out into the world.

There will always be a place for the written word (ie. posts like this one), but for real-time, event-based, or many other messages, Facebook Live-Streaming, Snapchat, Twitter video replies, and whatever the next tool will be is the way that the audience will be communicating with each other, so it’s the best way that we can be doing the same.

A few brands are already killing it. To get a taste of what’s possible, check out a few of the following:

Everlane on Snapchat
DKNY on Periscope
Red Bull on YouTube Live

Thanks for reading this week’s Social Update. Each Monday, I take a step back from social & advertising for our clients and share what’s new and newsworthy from around the social space. If you liked/agreed/disagreed with/hated today’s please let us know: @JunctionYVR and check back next Monday for more social goodness.

Until next week,