Say It With Live Video, Especially If It's Nothing Much

I have, so far, never done a live video. Not on Periscope or YouTube or Facebook or Snapchat, or now, on Instagram.

I can only imagine a few instances where I might. If I was witnessing a news event (I imagine the worst kind), or sky diving (which I’ll never do), or at my own wedding (which, unfortunately, is not a once-in-a-lifetime event, so that’s out).

This does not sound like a potent ad environment to me. Boy, am I wrong.

According to eMarketer, Instagram has 67.2 million U.S. users now and will hit 95 million in 2020--almost 30% of the population. Its ad revenue from mobile devices will go up 70% between now and 2018, from $1.58 billion to $4.65 billion, after rising an astonishing 165% in the U.S. (and 788% worldwide!) from 2015 to this year.

The promotional video Instagram provides t
o introduce its live capability is loaded with snippets of people doing the most unremarkable things, and all of these people are not just young but from the looks of it, junior-high-school young.

Maybe it makes sense that a brief, live documentation of something they’re doing is enough. They recognize it is just a moment in time. It is not a photo they will look back at when they’re, oh 16, and say, I remember that.

You’d think--well, I’d think--the marketers of live video would want to carefully say the opposite. Photo images and even live video seems to be based on the idea that the subject of the video is interesting or significant. The old Kodak film used to talk about Kodak “Moments,” those times in life when an event was so noteworthy it might be worth 24 or even 36 images.

Lately, Kodak re-introduced Kodak Moments as an app that would let a user create a kind of online scrapbook of meaningful images, getting away from the “seemingly endless number of selfies” infecting the image-creating world.

Wrong idea. Photos and video are so simple now they can replace two other heretofore more accessible ways of communicating, by voice or writing. A selfie is a phone call, or a sentence.

And who cares if your image has nothing much to “say”?

Oddly, it seems, no one young enough, who is otherwise bothered by any piece of visual or textual material that fails to grab them immediately, is bothered by tiresome live video.

Look at the TV commercials Facebook produced touting their new Facebook Live app. With a touch of a button, you can go live with video of a. . . a bolt of lightning! Or a video of yourself exclaiming as your feet touch the water at the shoreline. “Am I dreaming? No. I’m on a weekend getaway,” say you, our star. Friends, in theory, need to know this right now.

The idea we’re supposed to have is that live video is to show off something we feel is meaningful, as it is happening. I suspect, in practice, live may be a way to show your face, removing the necessity of importance or significance or care to edit or think something out. Rather than special, it might be designed to be ordinary.

Like a video home to your parents from your dorm room, at a time you are sure they won’t see it live. It says something and it doesn’t, too.
Next story loading loading..