The revolution will be a live happening online

The other day a Facebook Live stream appeared in my news feed. Nothing remarkable about that, had it not been my sister posting it. She’s not a marketer or community manager, early adopter or social influencer. And she was born decades before the Millennials. But there she was with her iPhone, live streaming a crab flexing its claws on an Australian beach.


The evolution took 5 years


It was the tipping point in an evolution I’ve been betting on since 2012.


That was the year President Obama’s live Q&A crashed the reddit servers, YouTube live streamed Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space, and 115,000 websites coordinated a 24-hour blackout to protest SOPA/PIPA legislation in the US. Live happenings, big and small, were migrating from television to the internet, bypassing the TV networks who’d limited our consumption of “Live” to big crowd pullers. Sports. Breaking news. Eurovision finals.


Now even a live stream of a puddle can go viral. User driven content platforms like Twitter, Twitch, Periscope and (most recently) Facebook Live have enabled anyone with an internet connection to consume, interact with and create live happenings online whenever they want. Live video, live blogs, live chats, live tweets, live stories, live this, live that. The democratisation of Live has been more rapid, exciting and terrifying than it was ever supposed to be.


The revolution will be Live


Those of us who communicate for a living should be leading the Live revolution. I know it’s risky and scary communicating without a safety net, but it’s what today’s online communities (aka Seekers of Authenticity) expect from us, and what our communication strategies deserve.


Apps, filters and plugins will help you. Analytics and audience feedback will guide you. People like me will advise you. And in the next 5 years, 5G mobile networks and VR tech will enable you to create online experiences for all 5 senses. (That Australian crab will be jumping out of our devices to pinch us on the nose and I’m not even joking.) Most of our interactions with people, places and events will be happening online in seamless realtime.


You needn’t take my word for it. Mark Zuckerberg is betting on Live too. When you live stream on Facebook, an algorithm already prioritises your post over on demand content, so more of your friends/followers see it. That’s because live content generates stronger engagement, influence and conversions than its on demand cousins. Live creates all kinds of realtime marketing and advertising opportunities. Live is where the money is.


That’s why, soon, our default experience of news, entertainment and social media won’t be on demand. It will be Live. So If your organisation, movement or event is yet to happen live online, let me help you join the revolution today.


Richard Medic is founder of happeningo communicators and Soonfeed media.