Commentary

With Live Video, Facebook Makes Like Periscope

The sociologist lament is that people don’t really talk to each other anymore. They send texts, or tweets, or Facebook messages or, at best, participate in the briefest, disposable live interactions on Snapchat.  

But now, there’s Facebook Live Video. The real danger is that now wishing happy birthday to your uncle in Ashtabula is going to become something like a video event. Rather than just a perfunctory click of the “like” icon, you'll be watching Aunt Gert singing "Happy Birthday" to him--live.

Facebook announced Live Video yesterday, but for now, just for “a small percentage of people” in the U.S on iPhones.

“Live lets you show the people you care about what you’re seeing in real time — whether you’re visiting a new place, cooking your favorite recipe, or just want to share some thoughts,” the Facebook Newsroom site said. Like that’s a good thing.  “No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what’s happening together.”

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The videos can be up to a half hour long.

What Facebook Live does, beyond that, is it keeps those precious videos on your timeline, for you and others to endure forever and ever.

What this could do to the marketing influencer business is mind blowing.

Sure, there already are those well-known live video stream sites, but Twitter’s Periscope and pioneer Meerkat may quickly begin to look like a high school experiment next to the finesse Facebook brings, not the mention the 1.55 billion worldwide (and 217 million North American) users.

Live Video lets you broadcast to your friends, and lets them subscribe so they’ll know the next time you’re there. In August, Facebook started the same sort of thing for celebs.

Back to earth, your friends can add live comments, just like everybody can on Periscope or Meerkat, so that while you now speak the silly joke that once you once wrote, they can continue to lie, “LOL.”

Live is another way Facebook is branching out and out and out, away from the original idea of back-and-forth cheery notes (and inanities and political screeds) to becoming more of a video site than anything else.

Wired.com observes, “Live Video matters to Facebook because video matters to Facebook. Ted Zagat, the company’s head of ad product, told a crowd earlier this fall that ‘a year or two from now, we think Facebook will be mostly video.’ ” 

Already, it gets 8 billion video views every day and 75% of those come via mobile devices. That's gold. It’s pretty clear that Facebook's future as a video site is pretty well assured.

pj@mediapost.com
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