LIVE Media: Everyone Wants to be Seen

Briana Benitez, Class of 2017

LIVE! From your bedroom it’s a random person!

You take your phone and see Instagram and Snapchat but instead you choose to open Periscope. You mount your phone on a flat surface and open the app. In just three seconds you have a live audience and now the whole world is free to see what you’re doing.

According to data on Pew Research Center, 90% of young adults ages 18 to 29 use social media.

Social media networks have become vital channels for Americans’ daily interactions. Recently, all the excitement has been over social media platforms that allow users to broadcast their content as a live stream. Everyone ranging from public figures to adolescents in high school seems to be joining in on the trend.

According to Recode, Periscope has more than 10 million users and nearly two million are active on a daily basis.


PIX11 News anchor, Tamsen Fadal, offers her input on why she enjoys using the live feature.

“I really like live social media. I feel it allows me to talk directly with the audience. I know what they want to hear, how they feel about topics, trending issues, breaking news and how we can better provide them what they want on a daily basis in a newscast,” said Fadal.

PIX11 now offers fans a behind the scenes look before their newscast.

“ I am a big fan of Facebook Mentions – live. We talk to viewers before and during the show as often as possible and show them behind the scenes. I often find it’s what they don’t get to see on the screen that encourages a conversation. When I do a live stream it is usually once a day. I don’t find a lot of cons. In terms of the pros – it’s about audience engagement. It is nice for people to get to talk with me so I know what they are thinking. It allows the audience to be involved in the process and determine what is important to their daily lives,” said Fadal.

Fadal recalls being a news junkie as long as she can remember. Her favorite thing is delivering what people need to move through the day and she thinks it’s important to remember the viewers always come first. Fadal thinks it [live media] benefits all of us, it helps  journalists deliver the news people need and she has heard from the viewers who say it allows them to get to know them better.

Washington Post writer, Wesley Lowery, is another journalist who finds himself using live media.

“Live media excites me. When I covered the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, I was stunned by the role of live video – this was before Periscope and Meerkat. But there were live streamers who took to the streets to broadcast the protests and police response in real time. Hundreds of thousands of people watched those feeds, which again proved the power of immediacy in media coverage. People want to see things for themselves, and there are various ways for us to help them do that – either through words or photos, or video,” said Lowery.

Lowery has yet to use Facebook live on his personal accounts, but he has used periscope on Twitter. The first time he used it was in North Charleston, SC, covering the death of Walter Scott.

“The shooting had been caught on tape, but I did a live stream showing a 360 view of the spot where Scott had been killed, allowing viewers to see for themselves the broader spatial context. The biggest upside is to allow for readers to be brought more directly into the action. Some of the downside is the tendency to over-use live video. Also, it’s live. If you mess up, there is no turning back. My favorite part is the real-time feedback. When you write a story, sometimes you get emails or calls with complaints or feedback and you think, ‘I wish I would have thought of that before I published’ When you’re live, people can provide that feedback in real time so it’s easier to make sure to address their questions – which serves as a benefit to them,” said Lowery.

Barna Donovan, professor of communication at Saint Peter’s University believes in the theory of the global village in the sense that electronic communication will connect the entire world.

“Now you’re able to see what someone is doing live and I think it’s just shrinking the world. There’s no edited version, I just follow your live platform and I can see exactly what you’re seeing at this exact moment. It’s [live media] creating that global shared experience,” said Donovan.

Donovan expresses why he believes the use of live media appeals to such a large group of people.

“We want to be watched. We have turned into this display and surveillance culture. So much of our society puts such a high premium of being famous. Being seen has become the social premium. Not being seeing because you’ve done something or have some kind of talent but just for being. For everyone else who was not born into a millionaire family the next best thing is to put yourself on display. Views and likes are making the average person almost feel like they are a celebrity,” said Donovan.

It is human nature to want to be seen, and it seems this trend is not going to go away any time soon.


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