After Republicans declared the House in recess during a Democratic protest demanding a vote on gun control, the cameras on the floor turned off — and the cameras on smartphones turned on. The use of Periscope to document the sit-in has captured the hearts and minds of internetgoers, who proclaim the live-streaming app a necessity for liberty. Mark Zuckerberg would like to point out, though, that some people are using Facebook Live, too.
“19 Members of Congress decided to go Live on Facebook and share what they were doing directly with citizens,” he wrote in a public post this morning. “As of 10am ET, those broadcasts have been watched more than 3 million times — and that number is still growing.”
Three million is a lot, of course, but you can bet the Periscope numbers are much higher (Twitter hasn’t released them publicly yet, but we expect to find out soon) — it broke out of the rather small box that contains the insular, tech-savvy community that actually cares about live streaming video. Millions must have tuned in when CNN and other major networks posted the link, and if you were to count the people who watched it on national TV, it likely is one of the most-watched streams ever on the service.
The Facebook numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but it must be said that the Periscope model is better suited to spontaneity and virality than Facebook Live. How many of those 19 members of Congress had to ask their interns for help navigating the Live setup process?
Second question: How long before Facebook announces it’s streamlining the Live experience with (yet another) standalone app or new dedicated functionality within the existing one? If it means the chance to dominate a news cycle with the name of your product plastered all over the front page of every major news site, you can be sure the Live team is pulling all-nighters from now until then.
Literally as I write this, Facebook announced new features for Live — but no streamlining. There’s a waiting room now, though.
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