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You can't afford live streaming

The ROI on live streaming is horrific. The best part of video is the ability to manipulate time. Live streaming eliminates this and forces you to trade, minute for minute, your life to experience a tiny faded fraction of someone elses life. Do not make this trade.

The renaissance for live streaming apps is here.

Rising from the dust of RealNetworks and Qik, Meerkat and Periscope are flying high and everyone is predicting that live streaming will be the next big thing. Read these posts from Meerkat and from Periscope to see an the optimistic future painted for you.

Proponents of live streaming say it is an amazing way to experience someone elses life, however:

Live Streaming is NOT the best way to experience someones elses life

I love experiencing parts of peoples lives. I love Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. Oh I love YouTube. I love seeing how other people eat, and live, and play, and work. That is the reason I love photography and videos. You can play with time. Time lapses, slo mo (I LOVE slo mo), editing and even recording itself, allows me to experience what I could not on my own.

But the problem with live streaming is it is synced, even locked to my time.

To experience one hour of someone elses life, I have to give up one hour or my life.

And that is a horrible trade. What is even worse, is I am giving up my full life, with all of its sounds, smells, feelings, emotions, and sights, for a compressed, faded 4 inch rectangle of someone elses life.

But lets forget all that. Lets forget that I am giving up a minute of my real life, to watch minute of video from someone elses life, and lets just focus on video examples.

Which would you rather watch, or better yet, which would you rather spend your time on?

This vlog (just watch 30 seconds)…

Or this Periscope?

In the vlog, seeing Casey’s whole day costs me a few minutes, and I can skip parts I don’t care about. With Periscope, I trade a minute of his life, for a minute of my life. That is a horrible ROI.

The Beast Mode touchdown…

Or this fans view of a Beast Mode touchdown…

I love the close up of the players, the intelligent commentary and the slow mo (can you tell I love slomo?) of the broadcast. It is kind of fun seeing things from the fans point of view. But what you don’t get in this little example, is spending 25 minutes watching the game from this fans point of view and missing celebrating the touchdown with my friends, because I am watching this fan, and his celebratation. A much better use of my time, is to watch the edited, best of fan moments posted on YouTube the next day, which is what this clip really is. I spend a few minutes, and get a fun experience of being at the game. Which would you rather watch, which would your rather spend your time on?

Live streaming works in certain situations

I fully acknowledge that there are times where live streaming is an appropriate tool for the job. When dealing with natural disasters, police brutality, wars, or tense situations, live streaming is a powerful tool to help inform others. In these types of situations, live streaming, delivering the video immediately is important, because if you just record a video, as sad as it is, you or your phone might not be around later to send it.

But these situations make up a tiny percentage of all the time that will be spent on live streaming. And that is the main problem. What do you want to spend your time on?

Your Time is too precious to Waste on someone elses life.

I read a stat that blew my mind:

Twenty percent of Meerkat users watch over 2 hours of live video daily; eight percent catch a whopping three or more hours a day.

source — Meerkat CEO in this Mashable article

2 hours a day. 14 hours a week. 56 hours a month. That is 2+ full days a month. 24 days a year. That is almost a full month of your entire year, spent watching someone elses life.

You have 730 hours in a month. That is it. Maybe 1/3 of those are spent on sleep. 1/3 on work. That leaves you with 240 hours. Are you really going to spend almost 25% of your free time watching someone elses life on a little glass rectangle? Step back and think, what do I want, and what am I going to spend my time getting?

Spend those 2 hours a day Meerkating, or at the gym. 2 hours watching someone else’s life, or writing a book? 2 hours watching someone talk about their life, or talking to your friends?

Life is glorious and full of amazing things.

Which is a better investment of your time, which will give you a higher return on investment. Spending hours watching someone elses life?

Or getting out there and creating your own vibrant, screaming, real, crazy, wonderful life?

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What are you buying with your time?

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Written by

Code, design, cook. Make stuff. Cookies. @BYU grad.

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