Live Streaming and the Oversaturation of Social Media

Okay.  So, let’s say you’re sitting in class, at work, or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and you’re bored out of your mind.

What do you do?

Chances are you pull out your phone and get on one of your various social media apps, like Facebook.  (Not that I would do this during class, ever. :))

Maybe you’re now just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, or maybe you’re reading an article from Bustle or NME (because that’s something I would do).

Everything’s great, but then, all of sudden, a little box pops up in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen or your notifications go crazy and you get annoyed because it’s distracting and you really just want to read about the latest and greatest YA novel.

Why the little box or notifications, you ask?

Well, that’s because someone or some organization you follow is live streaming.

Why is it annoying, you ask?

Well, that’s because I get annoyed easily and often, but that’s a story for a different time.

Live streaming is when someone transmits live video and audio coverage of an event on the Internet.  In addition to Facebook, you can also live stream on apps like Periscope and Instagram.

If, for some reason you want to go ahead and risk the chance of annoying users like me and want to go live on Facebook, there are a few things you need to do.  You should make sure your phone battery is fully charged and have your charger nearby in case you need it.  You need to make sure you have enough storage on your phone to record a video.  You should put your phone on airplane mode in order to avoid having calls or texts come through while you’re live.

Also, to make sure you don’t annoy people more than necessary, make sure there’s also a good reason to go live.  Once live, you should be visually engaging and keep your phone moving, though you should keep it on a tripod so that your audience doesn’t feel like its swimming.  Be sure to explain why you’re streaming not only at the beginning of your video but also periodically throughout your video; your audience will change as you stream.  If you’re covering something professionally, you should look professional, so you  should be dressed appropriately.  Finally, you should be mindful of lighting and your background.

When you go live, it would be beneficial to have someone helping you.  This person can monitor the video’s comments, so that you can acknowledge people as they interact with your video and also avoid trolls.

Obviously, there are ethical concerns regarding Facebook live, especially considering the recent Facebook live killing in Cleveland.  I’m not saying that what happened wasn’t terrible, but I don’t really see that being Facebook’s fault.  People are always going to misuse things if they can find a way to do so.

As part of your ethics for Facebook live, you need to make sure you have the right to stream whatever it is you’re streaming– like music or even children.

If I were to use Facebook Live, I like to think I’d be streaming a concert or some kind of event to do with a favorite band.  No, I don’t mean simply as a concert-goer, but, since this is a hypothetical situation, I’d ideally be friends or work with the band that I’m promoting.

If anyone is like me and gets annoyed by videos that just pop up or gets annoyed by constant notifications, then watching videos on demand is much more appealing than live streams.  Sometimes, there are situations where I know there are going to be live streams where one of my favorite bands or authors are going to be answering audience questions, but I don’t have the time to watch until later, so I think that would play a role in people watching videos on demand rather than live-streamed.

I understand the importance of live streaming in the news world when there’s a good reason to do it, especially in emergencies or breaking news situations, so I don’t think live streaming is inherently annoying.  I do, however, think that the oversaturation I experience is what has made me want to throw my phone every time I get a Facebook Live notification.

I don’t really know if live streaming for branding and marketing is a fad because I don’t really see it stopping.  However, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing for social media users.  Something about it just seems so invasive; I guess it kind of feels like another way that society’s standards are being lowered because it seems to fill our collective need for constant entertainment and consumerism.

I don’t even know if that makes sense, but, nonetheless, there’s my cynical outlook on the world and social media for the day.


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