Facebook Live vs. Periscope

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Image from Facebook

In August, Facebook released Mentions which opened up live streaming video for athletes, politicians, musicians and other people of influence.  Unfortunately, they did not release the app to the rest of us as individuals or as law enforcement agencies.  Instead, they decided to roll their live streaming video out slowly. 

Meanwhile, Periscope is growing exponentially, especially among law enforcement agencies.  Periscope is being used to live stream community events, press conferences, educational opportunities and a myriad of other police activities.  In August, Periscope passed 10 million users. 

Can Facebook live video streaming compete with Periscope?  I will answer that question in just a minute.

On December 17th, Facebook announced the release of Facebook Live to various brands that have Verified Pages.  Instead of having to grab the Mentions app, eligible users will see the “Live Video” icon show up in the “Update Status” dialog box.  Again, it looks like Facebook is limiting who gets this feature to major brands like Nike, Verizon and other similar companies.  Facebook has also indicated access will be given to other Verified accounts, but it is unclear if law enforcement agencies will be included.  Right now, this feature only works on iOS devices.

Here is how Facebook Live works.  Go to your Facebook Page and click on Publish.  Write a description of what you will be live streaming about and then select Go Live.  Your fans will be notified and you will be able to see how many viewers are watching.  Actually, Facebook says you will be able to see your Verified Fans or Verified Pages, which implies you will not be able to see your unverified fans.  In addition, your fans can add comments and like what you are broadcasting.  When you are finished, click on Finish and the video will be posted on your Timeline. 

Of course, it doesn’t look like law enforcement agencies can use this feature yet.  Please let me know if you are aware of a law enforcement agency that has access to the Facebook Live feature.

Although Twitter owns Periscope, it is a separate application.  You use your Twitter login to sign in to Periscope.  Once inside Periscope, click on the Camera icon on the bottom of the screen.  Enter the title of your broadcast.  You have the option of turning on your location, allowing comments and posting a Tweet about your broadcast on Twitter.  It is usually best to turn your location on, allow comments and turn Twitter on.  Once you are ready to go, simply select Broadcast Now.

So how do Facebook Live and Periscope compare?

At the present time, there is really no comparison.  Periscope is head and shoulders above Facebook Live, both in reach and features.  However, the most important reason Periscope beats Facebook Live is the fact that Facebook Live has limited availability.  Some people have even accused Facebook of being elitist and have vilified Facebook for their roll out of Facebook Mentions and then Facebook Live.  I would imagine that Facebook is being very strategic in their release of Facebook Live.  A slow release to limited groups gives them the opportunity to work out all the bugs, test what works well and what doesn’t and ultimately produce a better product. 

Periscope is head and shoulders above Facebook Live, both in reach and features. Click To Tweet

Although Facebook Live doesn’t really compare to Periscope now, I believe it has the potential to dwarf Periscope in the future.  How well it performs depends on Facebook’s long term plan and if that plan includes making Facebook Live available to more of its users. 

No other social media platform has the reach of Facebook.  They can potentially leverage their 1+ billion users and fly past Periscope like it is standing still.  If done well, the benefit is Facebook Live is integrated into the Facebook platform, which allows users to access all of the traditional Facebook features, while adding live streaming video as an additional option.

For those keeping score, here it is.

Periscope:                    Leads Today

Facebook Live:            Poised to Take the Lead in the Not Too Distant Future

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