We shouldn’t care too much about who is watching at the beginning, but in its entirety on the web.
The Wankel engine was supposed to change the way that automobiles were manufactured for the rest of history; the engine was light, compact and offered more uniform torque than traditional piston engines. Though the idea was heavily considered for some time, the Wankel never quite became the revolution (pun very much intended) that its champions hoped.
I believe the same fate awaits live streaming.
Periscope, one of the original companies to ride the wave of live streaming a half decade ago, was officially shut down by parent company Twitter just over a month ago. Twitter decided to add the live streaming functionality straight onto the parent platform instead, stating in a company blog post:
“The Periscope app is in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state and has been for a while … over the past couple of years we’ve seen declining usage and know that the cost to support the app will only continue to go up over time.”
While this is very heartbreaking for Periscope staff, this is the right choice. Live streaming was a great novelty for a bit but is no longer part of the larger conversation of social media. Though I do not believe it will ever go the way of the dodo, live streaming will not be a touted feature anymore.
To watch something live is an experience, like a concert, a sports event or the theater. People have to make efforts to make themselves available for the experience. As journalists the only time that a live stream of ours would be an experience for the consumer would be tragedy, unfortunately. Every American old enough to remember 9/11 remembers the traumatizing imagery.
This is not to say that we should not create and upload smaller quality content, just that the concurrent live viewers and retention should not be the sole focus of the content analysis. Instead, the focus should be, on these small scale posts, on the number of viewers over the course of a 24-hour period. Then, the viewer will have the content on-demand. This is the same reason that watching television programs on network channels is no longer a thing. People like to have the power to choose when and how they will interact with any media.
This is the power of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, and by extension Facebook Stories as well. Twitter is going to bring this feature to their platform, too, titled Twitter Fleets.
Just like Mazda did with the Wankel engine, we should probably let the importance of the live stream go.