LIVE (Streaming): Hurricane Updates

With the launch of Facebook Live, we have seen a number of organizations and individuals get on board the live streaming trend. Facebook Live provides the ability for anyone to lives stream video similar to Periscope and Meerkat, video-streaming platforms which allow for questions to be sent in real-time to the user created the video.

With Hurricane Season upon us here in Florida, we need to be sure to monitor the progress of storms and understand the potential impact of each named storm and even depressions. I had wanted to see how various news organizations cover weather conditions so I searched Facebook for various pages related to weather or news generally. Some of these included The Weather Channel, Florida Storms, NOAA, NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center, the New York Times, and CNN. The only three that actually used live streaming to cover weather were The Weather Channel, Florida Storms, and CNN.

Approach

These three organizations took a similar approach to live streaming. CNN was reporting live during Hurricane Hermine so the live stream took on more of a traditional live broadcast approach. The presenter, Mark, gave the current status of the situation and interviewed local kids. The Florida Storms channel really approached its live streaming as a different type of broadcast and did a great job approaching it as a different news forum. Both The Weather Channel and Florida Storms approached the live streaming as an ability to interact with online users.

You can view the live streams here:

https://www.facebook.com/FloridaStorms/videos (Videos for Hurricane Matthew)

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https://www.facebook.com/TheWeatherChannel/videos/vb.118071565920/10154664668635921/?type=2&theater (Videos for Hurricane Matthew)

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https://www.facebook.com/cnn/videos  (Videos for Hurricane Hermine)

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Value

The value in live streaming weather forecasts related to storms is that it allows for users from all over to engage with the presenters and ask questions. This is critical because safety measures and understanding can mean life or death in such emergency situations. Where a topic can be complex and leave laymen with questions, live streaming is able to help so that these questions can be answered. There is also value in reporting live from a storm because it provides a real time picture of how people are being affected and what people are saying and thinking at the scene of the storm.

Techniques for Interacting

Florida Storms and The Weather Channel took questions from users while live streaming. This was likely an attainable technique because the presenters were situated in the newsroom. The Florida Storms live stream was very interactive, with presenters taking questions and actively forming their broadcast around questions and even doodling on the map to better illustrate answers to the questions they were receiving about Hurricane Matthew. The Weather Channel took questions and incorporated answers into their live streaming newscast of Hurricane Hermine. CNN did not utilize any comments for interacting, instead the presenter interacted with people in his immediate surroundings just as in a traditional live broadcast.

Suggestions for Improvement

I would suggest that CNN use comments for interacting with the viewing audience. It would add another level of interaction if users could have posed questions for Mark to ask the local children. Sometimes outsiders are better able to come up with interview questions because they are not in the moment of reporting. I do not have any suggestions for Florida Storms. I thought they the organization did a great job of live streaming.

Thoughts

Overall, each type of presentation has its own value and perspective. As someone who is interested in the path of the storm, I thought that the Florida Storms broadcast exhibited the most value. However, I think that there are many users who will greatly enjoy the CNN broadcast live from the storm as people like to see live action and what is truly going on and affecting people. It is important to note that these live streams featured different storms so it is possible that each channel might use live stream to show the path and projections of the storm as well as live coverage as Hurricane Matthew gets closer to making landfall here in the US.

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Facebook: The Flattering Bully

Thirteen years ago, Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe brought us Myspace. For those of who remember Myspace, it’s hard to forget “Tom”. He was “friends” with everyone, appearing in everyone’s “friend list” in a small box wearing a plain white t-shirt.

Twelve years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and a group of friends gave us Facebook. Now, unlike Myspace, as users, we are not all “friends” with Mark Zuckerberg. He would be a cool friend to have in your friend circle though, so I can’t say I would mind being able to pick his brain about the behemoth of a social channel.

Ten years ago, four guys gave the world the ability to send messages in 140 characters. Cryptic? Maybe to some. Morse code? No.

Twitter. In 2006, we began tweeting. Or as grandparents all over the world say, “twittering” or using “the tweeter”.

Six years ago, the world was introduced to Instagram. Millions of users took to the platform to share our photos and videos. We started using “filters” to edit images and took to hashtagging like with Twitter. Then it seems, we became so fascinated with images and filters that we embraced something new.

Drum roll, please. Snapchat. Five years ago, the application of disappearing content began to take the world by storm. Snapchat originated under the name “Picaboo”, just as Twitter began as “Odeo” and many others were born under different names. The goal of Picaboo was to provide a way to send messages to others that disappeared. If you are keen to pay attention to connotation, the goal of the application was to provide a platform for content that was “explicitly short-lived”, if you get what I’m saying.

So now, we have other platforms like Meerkat and Periscope that allow for live video broadcasting which have influenced the likes of Facebook. Over the next ten years, it will be increasingly difficult for new platforms to gain a foothold. Although future founders will have great ideas, they will be bullied into selling way before their time. The biggest bully in the social media marketplace is Facebook. Facebook is the Donald Trump of social media. Facebook is the guy who buys everyone’s property in the game of Monopoly and puts up hotels. Simply put, Facebook can put your idea in business or put you out of business.

In 2012, Kevin Systrom and Mark Kreiger sold Instagram to Facebook for $1 billion. Not a year later, Facebook tried to buy the ability to send explicitly short-lived photos from Snapchat for $3 billion. Snapchat owners Evan Piegel and Bobby Murphy didn’t sell. They are, in effect, the two younger siblings so used to be pushed around that it wasn’t unbearable because they had hope, like all younger siblings have.

Last year, there was a lot of speculation that Facebook would make a particular purchase. Then, this year, Facebook introduced live broadcasting. Original idea? No. Another idea popping up just like a Meerkat, or should I say Periscope? If Facebook does not buy your idea from you, Facebook will copy you. He is the older sibling in the game of Monopoly who puts a hotel up just before your property just because you added one to yours.

They say that copying is the highest form of flattery. The next ten years are sure to make Facebook the most flattering bully out there.