Remember your first tweet? Many users of Twitter shared their first tweet last week and commented how embarrassed they were about it. The reason? Many of the first tweets displayed a a tentativeness – of being unsure how to use this new platform. Over the years many have become ‘experts’ at using the platform for whatever they choose to do best – sharing interesting articles, news, opinions or simply self promotion.
Live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope have gained tremendous traction over the last two weeks; the latter more so perhaps, because there is a synergy with Twitter feeds. However, one cannot but see a similarity between the early years of Twitter and that of Periscope & Meerkat.
Most of the live streaming videos are flippant, even inane. The streams include live video of sunsets, what one is doing right now and other such ‘light’ moments, if we can call it that. But the potential is for all to see – capturing a live news worthy incident, clips of live concerts and sporting events – the potential is immense. As this TechCrunch article concluded: “live streaming has immense potential for knowledge exchange, shared experience and empathy – as long as we know when to keep our spigots closed”. But the spigots will not get closed right now as such apps are like shiny new toys – we all want to play with them. The apps are currently iOS only and the floodgates are likely to truly open up when the Android versions are launched giving access to many more consumers. Switching off notifications of such live streams is a double edged sword. The ‘fear of being left out’ takes over and many users are likely to simply grin and bear it.
What effect will such constant distractions have on human interactions? They are likely to come in more shapes (round or square), sizes (38 mm or 42 mm) and places (on your wrist or pocket). One can only hope that the upside to such distractions is the positive impact that such new technology can possibly have. For every inane tweet about eating a sandwich there are examples of the platform having contributed to so may positive moments – impacting millions globally. One hopes the potential gap is bridged soon with live streaming apps too.