JOURNAL

JOURNAL

Facebook Live: Taking over our news feeds, keeping us up to date, and making us feel a little uncomfortable

Valerie Michalecki

Native New Yorker Valerie Michalecki is an unashamed social media addict who always keeps her finger firmly on the pulse of what's hot on the internet. 

When she's not checking her timelines, she's selling unicorns and drinking G&Ts on the beach in her second home on Egypt's South Sinai peninsula.


Never one to remain quiet in the background, Facebook’s launch of Facebook Live is on the brink of changing the way we consume all of our media, not just social media.

Facebook Live broadcasts debuted in August 2015, but it was only available to celebrities with a verified page. Cool! So we got to see The Rock on the red carpet in front of screaming fans from his POV. Who cares really? As if celebrities needed another platform of self-exploitation. But since March of this year, broadcasting with Facebook Live is available to any old Joe with an opinion and a Wi-Fi connection.

The first experience I had with Facebook Live was back in April. I got a notification that one of my “friends” who sells makeup online was live, so I clicked on it and there she was. A girl I hadn’t seen or spoken to in more than 6 years, and whose Facebook content I always scroll quickly past, was streaming live right before my eyes, going on and on about mascara and lip gloss. About 30 seconds into my viewing, she said “hey Valerie! I’m so happy you’re watching! How you been?” OMG, I threw my phone so far across the room. Could she see me? Was my camera on? I wanted to hide under a blanket forever, I was mortified. When I had the courage to pick up my phone again, I commented back to her, and she was able to respond in real time in her broadcast. I closed Facebook immediately. Everything that I thought was sacred in the world had to be reevaluated. Was this too close for comfort?

Since then, so many more people in my social network started broadcasting. Narcissists love it. Then I saw that The New York Times and New York Magazine jumped on the bandwagon, and so did some of the interesting bloggers I follow. With their high viewership, I felt more comfortable joining the live stream since I didn’t have to worry about being singled out. And then I realized how cool this whole thing really is.

New York Mag took me to an exclusive dance party at 6 AM.

I learned everything I needed to know about Brexit from The New York Times.

I’ve watched at least six drag queens transform from man to woman right before my eyes.

When Ricki Hall shaved off his infamous beard for charity through dear friends of MMW, Captain Fawcett’s page, I felt like I was right there in London with the crew.

 

And just the other day, I got a notification from Man Repeller that said “How to turn a regular old shirt dress into a super cool new…” A what??? A super cool new what? This is clickbait at its finest! It was super cool new skirt, by the way… which I filed away in my brain under “Things I Didn’t Know I Needed to Know.”

Facebook Live - Man Repeller

People are craving more up to the moment updates on everything they care about. Facebook knows that most people do their social networking on their smartphones, and creating shareable content with a smartphone is easier with video, so why not do it live? The video becomes archived immediately and can be viewed an unlimited number of times by anyone… anywhere.

For brands, bloggers, and social media celebrities, it’s an amazing way to get intimate with your following. During a live broadcast, you can respond to the comments as they come in, and watch the thumbs up and heart icons float adorably across your screen.

While it’s not available to everyone yet, most pages and people already have access to create their own Facebook Live broadcast. While creating high quality, interesting, and potentially viral content is paramount to a successful Facebook Live feed, it certainly puts the pressure on for broadcasters who want to get noticed.

To wrap it up, I’ll share some of my favorite Facebook Live feeds here:

  • The New York Times for making me feel sophisticated and for keeping me to up to speed on current events and breaking news.
  • New York Magazine for their all-encompassing showcase of the arts, news, politics, science, and technology.
  • Kat Blaque for her provocative and passionate stance on racism and gender issues (plus she keeps it really real).
  • Man Repeller for clever and hilarious fashion highs and lows from a very relatable New Yorker.
  • The Dodo, which is perfect for any emotional, oversharing, animal lover.

Join the conversation – tell us which Facebook Live feeds are your favourites and if you’ve already done a live broadcast, we’d love to hear about your experience.