Twitter Live Streaming – Too Little Too Late

Twitter is making a push for live event coverage with a focus on live video streaming. Better Twitter live streaming is good news for eventprofs but is it too little too late?

Twitter is stepping up its game in terms of how the platform facilitates event coverage. Increased investment in live video streaming and more focus on highlighting real-time content has made Twitter a great platform for broadcasting. However, for eventprofs, this news comes too late. Also, the myriad other options now available for achieving the same goals, and Twitter’s falling engagement rates further invalidate the social media platform.

Twitter Live Streaming – Too Little Too Late

Why it’s Too Late

Eventprofs were using Twitter for event coverage back in 2009. Back then, event planners were using hashtags to create a backchannel for events and the platform allowed attendees to easily live-blog, bringing the event to a far wider audience. It may come as a surprise to Twitter, but events were being live streamed back then too. Live video streaming was already becoming popular at events of all shapes and sizes. Why Twitter didn’t do more to facilitate this at the time seems truly odd. Audiences on Twitter, although much smaller, were also incredibly engaged. Unlike Twitter audiences today, most of whom are probably bots anyway.


Twitter Live Streaming Was a Thing

It’s not that Twitter hasn’t tried to capture events in the past. In 2012, it launched hashtag pages which gave a nice way to view real-time content based around a hashtag. It seems crazy that Twitter failed to capitalise on this enough to make it stick. This felt like a great start. This feature and any hopes of Twitter becoming a live streaming platform were effectively replaced by Twitter’s “Moments”. Moments put more emphasis on curated content than real-time events, making them front and center, particularly for mobile users. Moments has now also fallen by the wayside.

Why it’s Too Little

This largely comes down to Twitter’s competition, or perhaps more accurately, their respective audiences. Even if Twitter gets it right on the platform front, they have a lot of work to do if they want to engage audiences just like the good old days. The biggest competitor in this space is Facebook, whose audiences are highly engaged and always on. Facebook also has Instagram in its arsenal. Both platforms support live video streaming and are fully optimized for a mobile experience. That’s a lot for Twitter to compete with. New pretender, Snapchat is snapping at Facebook’s heels in this space. It’s a two horse race – Twitter is not even in the running.

Twitter’s audience is a huge problem. Twitter is full of spam and misinformation which has caused the audience to become link-blind. Twitter’s user experience has also proved difficult. It’s never been easy to search for information or follow particular topics on Twitter. Twitter naturally guides users to follow users, not communities or shared interests. This not only makes it hard for users to follow events but can exclude the audience altogether. The recent addition of the Explore function will go some way to repairing this but Twitter live streaming has a long way to go if it wants to even begin to compete with Facebook and Snapchat.

In Conclusion

Twitter’s recent push towards events could turn Twitter into the perfect broadcast platform and backchannel for events but that’s no good if the audience isn’t there. Twitter will need to do something big if they want a seat at the live events coverage table with Facebook and Snapchat.

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Julius Solaris
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