Scott Monty

 

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak on a panel at today's session of Streaming Media East by Chris Brogan. The topic was "Lifecasting: The New Broadcasting Platform," and I was seemingly the odd man out, as I was joined by the likes of Sarah Austin of Pop17.com, Steve Garfield of SteveGarfield.com and Sariq Reichert of Flixwagon. I was the only one on the panel who wasn't livestreaming from a Nokia N95, so I felt a little bit out of my league.

But I like to think that I added a bit of reality and business sense to the proceedings, as there were quite a few people there who, in addition to wanting to learn about lifecasting, also wanted to understand how it applies to businesses. I had a few key takeaways about lifecasting that I'd like to share with you here.

Trust
A question out of the gate was, "Why would advertisers be interested in this?" It's a good question that plagues a lot of social media tools. Invariably when customers are asked whom they trust most, the answer is "Someone like me." The 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer Bears this out (visual below). When citizen journalists take to the airwaves with their videos, it's inherently more credible than any scripted, edited piece by a company.

Engagement
The next (predictable) challenge was when some audience members seemed to be dismayed at the number of viewers for some livecasting shows. Numbers in the low thousands were quoted, for frame of reference. But they were missing the point that all of the viewers watch these shows because they want to; they're actively seeking out the content.

My take is that, as a marketer, I'd rather have 100% engagement from 1,000 people than 1% engagement from 1 million people.

Measurement
I'm sure you're following the progression here. The next issue up was: "How can you tell if your viewers are engaged?" I think we all admitted that the jury's still out on this, but that the real innovators would be able to develop metrics for length of views, which content in videos is most compelling (including using embedded comments), etc. There's a lot of room for growth in this area.

Content vs. personality
One of the problems that I noticed is that there seems to be an abundance of data/information out there, much of which is just not that interesting. How often do I need to see someone sitting around their living room, or doing a talking head video? Puh-lease.

The truly compelling content - and I'd argue verticals are key here - is what's going to be of the most interest to advertisers. This means consistency and quality.

Final note
When asked for our final thoughts on the future of lifecasting, I closed with what is a sneak preview of my chapter in the Age of Conversation 2:
When you think about it, the human race can be divided into two camps: exhibitionists and voyeurs. Between these two groups, there'll be enough fuel to keep lifecasting going for some time. Taking Andy Warhol's famous phrase and turning it on its head, "In the future, we'll all have 15 minutes of privacy."

Do you have any thoughts on the prevalence of lifecasting/livecasting? I'd love to hear what you have to say on the future of this nascent activity.

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