Back in the old days (1980’s and 1990’s), producing a video took a lot of technology and talent. Today, it still takes talent (maybe you and a guest), but the technology thing has gotten a whole lot easier. YouTube brought personal video into the mainstream, to the point that people have their own channels today. These people are called YouTubers – heck they are even ranked (yes that is a thing!).
Video has taken the internet by storm. You now have Periscope and Meerkat (personal broadcasting platforms based on mobile devices). Google hangouts were all the rage, because they auto post to YouTube (and Google owns YouTube). The newcomer is Blab.im.
What Is A Blab?
Blab is a live-streaming web and mobile-based platform that enables a public video chat with one to four participants at a time. It combines the best Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangouts features into one very easy to use and relatively stable platform. Periscope and Meerkat are primarily mobile only based platforms. Google Hangouts has been known to be wonky and unreliable at times.
Viewers can watch the live stream and they can participate by Tweeting (sharing the Blab) on the left hand side of the desktop application or below on the mobile version. You can also leave comments for the hosts and participants (on the right hand side of the desktop application).
If one of the four seats is open, you can request to join in on the conversation, but it’s up to the host to accept you into the broadcast.
So Why Should I Care?
Tweet Chats, Google Hangouts, and Facebook groups have been around for years, but only Google had video. Facebook has started “Facebook Mentions”, but it is only open to the rich and famous. They can broadcast live-stream video into Facebook. I don’t know about you, but I am neither rich nor famous (yet), and neither are most of my Facebook friends (a few are and they have Mentions already).
I don’t know if you have noticed, but most people don’t schedule their lives around what’s on TV any more. DVR’s and on-demand video like Comcast, Hulu, Amazon, Apple TV and Roku, now own the viewing space, because it’s on your timeframe … on-demand. Heck, with most of the options above you can watch on-demand with your mobile devices. The keyword here is ON-DEMAND.
Other than live sports (in this house) all other programming is watched on-demand. People are leaving their cable and satellite boxes in droves, and the big companies are struggling to gain or even maintain their market share.
What Can I Do With This?
So, what if you could have your own TV channel? One that people receive alerts to through social media and email to come watch your messages rather than watching the “Bachelor” or “Survivor – Geriatric Island”? With a mic and a webcam, you can have the new reality TV. Except this time, you are educating or entertaining people in a way that will make them want to engage with you and your brand.
Here are some ideas for any business…
Start A Blab Show – Start a regular Blab. Find great guests to interview. Have a set time to broadcast and invite exciting, verbose, and non-camera shy guests. Quality is not a huge concern, but I suggest you Skype with your guests before your Blab to make sure they have some presence. You also should make sure that their technology is in working order. Nothing kills a show like a monologue where your guest can’t connect and you have nothing to say (trust me I have done that on podcasts and it’s not fun – video makes it even worse).
Do A Customer Q&A – Have two people from your company join in to moderate a customer Q&A. You can seed the Blab with a little training and then open it up for customers to ask questions and interact. Bonus points if you can find a customer that is using your product or service and has some unique tips for other customers. Make it entertaining and engaging.
Be A Guest – Find a Blabber (if that is a term?) and become a guest on their show. If not, find someone you admire and join a Blab they are involved with (as a guest or participant). Sometimes, just jumping into the hot seat and adding some good questions or advice is enough to have you invited back as a guest on their Blab. Keep in mind that Blabs can lead to interviews on podcasts, radio shows and magazine articles as well, so never under-estimate the power of being seen online!
Blab is a relatively new platform and relies on the internet. If you don’t have a very reliable high-speed internet connection, then you will have some glitches. As far as I have seen, it has been much more reliable than Google Hangouts , but it is young and in beta (not final software), so you have to be ready for technical difficulties. I had to sign in to an interview three times before I could get my audio to work.
You can’t control what your audience says. I was on a Blab where the last guest was dropping F-Bombs like a Blitzkrieg! There is not a ‘seven second delay’ like there is on live radio, so make sure your audience is prepped and ready for anything!
My suggestion is to sign up for an account and log into a few Blabs. Follow people you know to see what they are doing and how they are using it. It is new and cool … but only the beginning of the personal video broadcasting revolution. If you want to be relevant in this new personal brand internet world, you owe it to yourself to check this out!
I would love to hear your Blab stories, comments and feedback … comment away!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community