Disclaimer: That above is not me. I carry a WBEZ tote bag full of holes, because it was a free member gift years ago.
When Facebook Live first launched, I’ll admit that I thought it was pretty pointless. I scoffed at the fact that they were airing commercials and putting up billboards to promote it. I thought, “what a desperate attempt to get people to use a feature that’s not going to happen.”
However, the appeal of live streaming was not lost on me. I had dipped my toe into Periscope and the now defunct Meerkat, as some comedians and podcasters were doing things of interest there. I saw the appeal for brands, but at the time wondered how you’d get your entire audience to migrate to new apps for it.
Well, Facebook solved that, but at the time when advertising for Facebook of Live focused on peer to peer live streaming I rolled my eyes. My experience with it was getting notified that loose acquaintances from high school were live streaming bad song covers or accounts of their day I couldn’t care less about (go ahead, call me a curmudgeon).
But here’s the thing, Facebook wasn’t really trying to get me to live stream, those ads were just a means to get users to understand Facebook Live, so brands would get on board. Because as you know, Facebook is really just one large scheme to sell us things. Queue me in a basement somewhere connecting the dots with red string…
All grievances about Facebook’s early, very thirsty promotions for live streaming aside, as a millennial I am contractually obligated to interact with new technology. So let me give you some examples of what makes me pause to watch live.
Birchbox Beauty Tutorials
I may have long since stopped my Birchbox subscription because I order in food too much, but I still follow them on Facebook. Every so often they go live with a professional to share beauty tips or a tutorial while answering viewers’ questions. While it’s true that I’ve grown far too lazy to ever implement what they show me, I find it engaging nonetheless. They have a consistent “face” of the brand hosting, and they really do go out of their way to actually engage with the viewers.
I just watch and imagine that maybe someday I’ll find the effort to do my makeup.
Since I stopped having a commute to work, I admittedly don’t listen to WBEZ (my local NPR station) as much anymore. It’s nice sometimes to just hear the headlines of the day while I’m on a morning Facebook scroll.
Live Coverage of Big News Events
I’m a millennial, which means I don’t even own a TV. I’m just kidding, smartphones have afforded me to live my dream of being able to watch TV all the time. However, I don’t have traditional cable which means I can’t just turn on the news when big things are happening. If there’s something big going on, like the James Comey hearing, I head over to Facebook Live for it.
New York Times Live Artist Streams
The New York Times is constantly telling me I’ve gone over my article limit for the month, but they haven’t found a way to stop from watching their live streams yet. They cover a lot of interesting interviews and panels with their live streams, but the one thing I’m guaranteed to stop and watch is their live artist streams. Sometimes they’re drawing the news, sometimes they’re just talking about their art. As an aspiring comic artist, I’m mesmerized by these because of the art and learning about the artist’s process.
My Favorite Podcast Goes Live
Podcasts are for the ears, not the eyes, so it’s rare to get a glimpse at the behind the scenes. Usually my favorite podcasts stream live rarely, if ever, so when it happens I’m always delighted to sit and watch for awhile. And by the way, my favorite podcast is a comedy podcast called Jordan, Jesse, Go! and it’s NSFW so maybe don’t click the video below while at work.
The theme among all this content is that it provides something of value to the watcher whether it be information, entertainment, or tips. What makes you stop to watch on Facebook? Let us know in the comments and link us to your favorites, because I could always use new things to distract me from work.