Anyone who has observed online behavior with the advent of microblogging will have noticed that people will often converse online during live events such as football games or political speeches or television talent shows.
I have long contended that the last bastion of appointment television is the live event or breaking news. Facebook appears to be targeting that online behavior with the release to everyone of their Live Stream Box, a feature that allows developers and site-owners to incorporate live Facebook activity into live streaming video.
The Minnesota-based citizen journalism outfit TheUptake has been executing this function well during their coverage of live political events and speeches.
AllFacebook.com points out that we got to see examples of Facebook’s execution with CNN’s live stream of the presidential inauguration and TNT’s broadcast of the NBA All-Star game.
AllFacebook.com also says “One downside of using the Live Stream Box is that content posted to it will not be archived or accessible for any APIs. Essentially itâ€™s a one-use chat room that you can throw away at a later point.”
You can try out an actual implementation of the service on AllFacebook.com’s page on this story.
ReadWriteWeb reports that the Live Stream Box will work within multiplayer games, as well. They also note that the feature “is built to scale; they [Facebook] anticipate certain sites or events having so many real-time updates that not all users will be able to view or absorb all the content in the stream.”
The two companies teamed to provide live coverage of Jonas Brothers concerts last night that attracted a massive audience that, as TechCrunch reports, generated 1.5 million unique posts.
TechCrunch also reports that there will be a Live tab that can be added to Facebook Pages, which will house live content like streaming video and the Live Stream Box.
UStream is offering both a “free ad-supported version, and a white-label version” of the their streaming solution, according to TechCrunch.
NewTeeVee reports that people visiting a Live Stream Box-enabled web page will be able to follow and participate in the comment stream from everyone on the site who is also participating or they can engage in their own personal news feed directly from the page.
This is the first practical application that implements the idea of being able to bring your network with you wherever you go.
NewTeeVee also points out that the “Live Stream Box makes use of your social relationships in other ways. Any comment made through the app is accompanied by a tagline when it shows up in friendsâ€™ Facebook feeds, (e.g., â€œvia Jonas Bros webchatâ€), enticing more people to join the live stream right as itâ€™s happening.”
Inside Facebook says “Facebookâ€™s Live Stream widget is critical to its partnerships with major broadcast and cable TV networks. We expect to see more integrations like the CNN and TNT examples coming later this year. “
The Next Web asks, importantly, “if Iâ€™ll be able to share the broadcast outside of Facebook. If Facebook diverted from its walled garden mentality, now that would be innovative.”
This is potentially a very big development and presents fantastic opportunities for organizations and/or individuals who are involved in live events.
I imagine the appeal of real-time online video will only grow as live-streaming video capabilities become standard features of mobile phones and as video cameras get Internet access.
Throw in the fact that people love to talk about television (and, by extension, Web video) and the appeal of sharing live events and experiences, and you’ve got a recipe that is likely to be enormously popular.