Blogging is a familiar practice for many avid online users and has become an integral component of the Internet experience. Users can openly document their experiences, share opinions, disseminate information or even offer advice through online journals. With the inception of more recognised sharing platforms such as Blogger (1999), LiveJournal (1999) and WordPress (2003), the blogging culture quickly gained ground and created the blogosphere of today.
Blogging: The New Trend?
The blogging culture has amassed a huge online following consisting of both readers that browse content and authors of blogs.
The types of posts in blogs share many common aspects: Blog posts are often self-motivated and tend to delve deeper into specific topics of concern such as current affairs and popular culture. Also, authors share their uncensored personal insights on the chosen topic without fear of repercussions. The transparency afforded by these elements of blogging - a crucial factor in today's internet culture - results in high-quality content and hence makes these posts significantly more competitive than mainstream media.
The massive following that influencers enjoy through their blogs is one of the reasons contributing to the popularity of the blogging culture, particularly within the influencer community. Additionally, one can now connect blogs with social media accounts through social media platforms. As a result, some influencers can utilise blogging as a source of income.
With higher quality content emerging from the blogosphere today, individuals and organisations have become more receptive to integrating blogging in their social media marketing strategies. Blogs are used to increase the overall reach of the campaign (by banking on the influencer’s existing network of followers) and to promote the campaign through sponsored posts on reviews, etc.
Sharing Lives with Influencers through Live Streaming
The appeal of live streaming is irrefutable — through this medium, one can share the same experiences as the influencers one follows without the intermediary of time; Having a coffee with your favourite influencer has never been easier.
While the medium of live streaming is not exactly novel, significant developments to digital media — specifically smartphones, have increased its pervasiveness in our lives. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat and Instagram have also fully integrated live streaming on their user interface. In 2015, both Facebook and Periscope captured massive amounts of attention online with their launch of the live streaming function. On Facebook, live videos are garnering three times as many views as pre-recorded ones. Indeed, live streaming has effectively stolen the limelight from multimedia mediums such as pre-recorded videos and podcasts.
Influencers and celebrities across the globe have embraced the live streaming trend and integrated live streams in their online social repertoire, thus bringing their fans and followers along with them. Deeper connections are formed between influencers and their audiences through the visual stimulus, greater engagement and the shared real-time experience that live streaming offers.
These online platforms further supplement the live stream trend with social proof tactics — this quantifies audience engagement with the content in the form of ‘hearts’ as used by Bigo and Instagram live videos, and Facebook’s ‘reaction’ system.
Live Streaming as a Substitute for Blogging?
Social media and social networking sites have progressed rapidly the last five years. Today’s multi-faceted digital spectrum offers us many options to choose how we represent ourselves online. From vlogging, podcasting to live streaming, blogging has simply become one of the many options available
Truly, blogs are at risk of being replaced by live streams, particularly since the latter has many features that are highly appealing to today’s mobile generation that demands instant gratification.
However, well-known London live streamer & blogger Rebecca Casserly raises some points for the continued relevance of blogs. She states that it is imperative for live streamed videos to be embedded within a website that is external to the platform where the live video was created. Casserly also emphasised the importance of systematic and consistent archiving of information for future references. Thus, she suggests that blogs will remain relevant despite recent trends and can serve as the platform for the documenting of live streams.
The characteristics of blog posts result in them being inherently more coherent than live streams. Curated and carefully planned with a mélange of text and multimedia, blog posts are more effective at conveying relevant information to audiences, also allowing audiences to easily access the information at a later date. While live streams have some extent of pre-planning, it involves a greater deal of spontaneity and on-the-spot improvisations, which can potentially distract from the intended message. Hence, there is little cause for worry as blogs are here to stay. But they will likely be supplemented by live streamed content
Live Streaming: Exploring Further
With that said, it is undeniable that the spotlight is currently on live streaming and its potential in the field of social media marketing. One innovative use of live streams is seen in the launch of LiveShop in Japan.
Officially released on June 7 by Candee, this social application is the video solution to the too-wordy explanations of products on contemporary e-commerce platforms. LiveShop has models and influencers explain the product features to customers through live streams, thus enhancing the interactive e-commerce experience of consumers.
Indeed, live streaming has the makings to be the next biggest thing in social media marketing and beyond. It is a new lifestyle that everyone can adopt as we continue to share our stories with one another.