Going Live: The Evolution of Live Video in Media

Whether we realize it or not, live video has been impacting our lives for decades.  When we think of going live, the first thing that comes to mind is often Facebook or Instagram.  While these media platforms are surely the front runners of our generation, we may want to consider those which brought us to where we are today.

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Photo Credit: Video Blocks

Whether we realize it or not, live video has been around for decades.  When we think of going live, the first thing that often comes to mind is Facebook or Instagram.  While these media platforms are surely the front runners of our generation, we may want to consider those who brought us to where we are today.

The News. Local and national news organizations have led the industry when it comes to live0feed.  For years, news organizations have been covering breaking stories, controversial topics, and the “what to expect in the next few days.” They were the start to live video. This includes local or political emergencies, up to date information on weather, news, and other important events. We could even argue that, all live media today roots from television news. But it was the captivating stories with flashy headlines that were the turning factor into starting the phenomenon of live feed into motion.


Facebook live has risen in popularity over the past few years.  Not only are celebrities using this platform to score more screen time with their fans, but small businesses are also reaping the benefits with it as well.

Every time I log on Facebook, I see videos, whether active or not, that were recorded live.  I often see employees modeling new clothing for boutiques and young women attempting to teach me how to contour my cheekbones.  Many of these videos receive hundreds if not thousands of views. Not only can the videographer see the number of viewers he or she has, but these viewers can also like and comment on the video.  These reactions appear in real time, both to the originator as well as other viewers.

Photo Credit: Visual Anthropology

Facebook also gives users the unique option of split screen video.  This allows multiple users to broadcast live on the same screen.  When the streamer’s done recording, or the viewer is finished watching, they can then choose to save the video to his or her timeline forever.

Live videos are a brilliant way to promote small businesses and keep in touch with viewers.


Photo Credit: Try News
Photo Credit: Try News

The social media site, known as Instagram has quickly become a leader in today’s media scene.  While it may be owned by  Facebook, there are many distinct differences between these two media platforms.

Instagram is unique because it only houses photos and videos.  This puts the site at an immediate advantage when it comes to live-streaming.  Viewers are already logging on to see videos, so the transition to clicking in on a live stream isn’t foreign territory.

While Facebook is more beneficial when promoting brands and tutorials, Instagram has taken over celebrity feed.  Many celebrities will announce when they’re going live to maximize viewers.  Fans cannot wait to connect with their idols in such a seemingly personal way.  This is an excellent move for celebs who want free publicity.

Kylie Jenner says that the majority of her advertising for her billion dollar makeup brand is through social media, especially Instagram live. Going live when she reveals a new product or opens a new store, allows her fans immediate access to her world and her brand.


Periscope is a relatively new brand, launching in 2015 before being picked up by Twitter.  This application takes full advantage of its mobile platform, boasting the ability to let users go live anywhere and everywhere.

Photo Credit: Blast Creative

The live stream, linked of course to Twitter, offers the full interactive experience.  Much like Facebook live, it allows viewers to actively comment back and forth with the creator as well as other viewers.  This site, however, has found its success as a business platform.

On this app, the user can “follow” as many people or businesses as they so choose.  Periscope will then alert users when people they follow are going live.  This way, anyone can tune in to someone’s broadcast.

While the app is connected to your twitter account, the same information is not crossed over.  Only those you wish to follow will be added to your Periscope list.  Personal information in your profile carries over without the addition of your followers.

Overall, this app is user-friendly for whatever its intended purpose.  While its popularity is on the rise, it’s not yet competing with mega platforms like Facebook and Instagram.


While still a relatively new development, the platform for live videos has been adopted by popular YouTube channels as well. This allows subscribers to feel more connected and involved in the lives of YouTube celebrities.  This form of live media hosts many news updates as well as sports coverage.  By logging on right now, viewers can easily find news coverage on the national and international levels.

Photo Credit: NLT

YouTube Live covers all bases.  From live kitten rescue videos, baking tutorials, to video games, this live media platform has it all.

Pros & Cons

Why use one form of live media over the other?  This poses an interesting debate.  While Facebook and Periscope take over the business department, Instagram and YouTube seem to have the social scene covered.  However, there are benefits to both.  Facebook, for example, uses live video to promote small and personal businesses while also connecting friends.  This gives the site a more balanced take on live media.  Instagram, however, has kept its focus primarily on the social aspect.  This begs the question, is it better to be proficient in many areas or to excel in one?

Where it’s going

Live video gives us a sense of urgency. It’s happening right now, and we want to be a part of it.  As far as the future of live video in social media, only time will tell where it takes us.