When the Novelty of Livestream Video Wears Off

Right now people are wowed by the ability to livestream video as they go, most notably in the form of Periscope and Meerkat. But what will happen after the novelty wears off?

Perhaps the trend was predictable. Cameras on smartphones, more bandwidth and mass market adoption of social networking have combined to bring the widespread consumption of rich media. Now these technological advancements have wrought large-scale adoption of live streaming video on the go.

There will be some talented livecasters who garner significant, engaged followings. We can also expect some incredible use cases, such as great and terrible news events livestreamed by citizen journalists. Other niche uses include collaboration amongst friends and workforces discussing the evolution of now. There will be the celebrities who stoke their legions of stalkers, er, fans. Finally, others will share important moments like marriage proposals.

For every interesting livestreamed video created, we can expect thousands of bad ones. In my opinion, society’s tolerance of the Instagramization of live video feeds will be much lower than photos. We’re going to be looking at a lot of really bad content creation live.

Boring Content Won’t Succeed


The average person’s filter of quality information and entertainment is contextual at best, and frankly just piss poor most of the time. That’s before you even factor in video creation skills.

Congratulations, Joe, you’re at the zoo. By the way, every time you pan down you’re showing me the guacamole stains on your shirt. And that your fly is open. Oh, by the way, no one above the age of eight really likes the Mediterranean Donkey.

Maybe you do like Mediterranean Donkeys, and I just made an ass out of myself with this post. But I think we will grow weary of everyone’s interpretation of awesomeness in the moment, just like we have gotten tired of feet photos at the pool. Or as we have grown weary of the average social media tips blog (or article if you prefer).

Perhaps the most compelling reason is that we’ve scene this game before with webcams. You didn’t hear much about webcam streaming after the public got tired of someone showing us their world in a room over and over again. Why?

Because it’s really hard watching someone doing nothing most of the time. Some webcams are interesting in the moment, for example the Cherry Blossom Watch webcam at the Tidal Basin. But invariably, most of them are just downright boring. In fact, even the good ones become boring in a matter of minutes.

Just like 99% of Periscope and Meerkat videos are boring, too. In a time of TLDR (too long did not read), we will soon see TBDW (too boring, did not watch).

Perhaps the novelty wore off for me a little sooner than others. What do you think?

Featured image via Techcrunch. Donkey image by Helen ST.

8 thoughts on “When the Novelty of Livestream Video Wears Off

  1. “Maybe you do like Mediterranean Donkeys, and I just made an ass out of myself with this post.”

    What you did there. I see it.

    You’re absolutely right. The bottom line is that whatever is being broadcast MUST have a purpose and engage the audience. There’s a reason I haven’t Meerkat’d or Periscoped anything yet. My daughter swinging in the backyard or me cooking dinner isn’t something I deem interesting enough. I think there’s lots of cool uses, but it all comes back to delivering stuff that people want to see/read/watch/consume.

    • LOL, I was wondering if someone would actually pick up on that. Yeah, you hit it, and it’s not that your kid’s activities aren’t interesting, in a contextual sense they are, and to a limited group of folks it may be interesting. I think the issue comes with sending this stuff to mass followings without any filter. And even if people could select who received the videos, would 90% of users actually use it?

      • Probably not, but I’m not a big celebrity. It could make for interesting chat sessions, but the most common thing I’ve seen (and I’ve not watched a lot yet) is the AMA format. Which is fine, but I find to be pretty arrogant for the majority of people. I think the medium itself is viable, it’s just a matter of how it sorts itself out.

  2. You nailed it, context is key. (And well done with the donkey bit.) I do think there’s some interesting positives for storytelling potential that will be discovered and shared. Of course, along with those positive examples will be some (more?) negative aspects such as copyright infringements of live events/shows and other likely pitfalls and mishaps as with any communication medium. BRB, I’m going to go watch that cherry blossoms live feed :)

  3. The opportunity for creating MORE of EVERYTHING is the greatest it’s ever been. And I think it’s put a premium on the skill of knowing when to say less or (OMG!) nothing.

    How many brands do we know that love to weigh in on everything in the news (good news, bad news and even innocuous news like a more diverse set of emojis )? It’s their attempt at being relevant. But far too many brands and people stop to think beyond the challenge of relevancy/context. This skill is almost a new form of curation in many ways. And think of this skill’s potential.

    It reminds me of the home movies I had converted to mp4 recently. I got to see snippets of me and my family in 1974, 1976 and 1980. It’s maybe 40 minutes of footage – without sound – spanning 6 years. And at the end of it, all I wanted was MORE. It’s because of the nature of home movies. Before video tape and vcrs, you were limited to flashes of memories, not simulcasts of them. And they’re a lot more interesting to watch as a result — even without sound.

    So perhaps a way to articulate this is that we need folks who can use the always on technologies we have now to choose a better selection of content…not simply more of it.

  4. Pingback: Some More Thoughts on Using Periscope/Meerkat | Geoff Livingston's Blog

Comments are closed.