X is looking to make it easier for users to live stream in the app, with new access buttons in testing for both its audio Spaces and video broadcasting options.
As you can see in this example, shared by X designer Andrea Conway, X is currently testing a new process that would see both the Spaces and video live-streaming options appear when you hold down the post composer button. That, ideally, will then lead to more people using X to stream direct, by making the option more up front and readily accessible in-stream.
The previous Twitter team tried something similar, with various posting options expanding from the composer “+” icon.
X is now looking to revisit this approach, while it’s also looking to add more intuitive functionality for posts, like double-tap for Like and swipe to reply. That would provide more direct engagement options, potentially without needing explicit icons for each.
X is currently working to build out its live-stream functionality, with owner Elon Musk testing a couple of variations of direct streaming and gaming broadcasts in the app.
Just a quick test of X video game streaming https://t.co/5NCsDczpT4— Gamer (@cyb3rgam3r420) October 2, 2023
X sees live-streaming as another avenue of opportunity to get more content feeding direct into the platform, though it is also worth noting that X/Twitter has had live-streaming, and Spaces, available for some time, and neither has caught on as a major element of focus.
That could change. The addition of game streaming, in particular, could open up new opportunities for the platform, with gaming creators then able to reach their established X audiences with their gaming content.
X is also looking to encourage “citizen journalism” in the app, in order to make it a bigger source of breaking news coverage, which could be where live-streaming comes into its own.
But live-streaming did already have a moment in 2016, and people got bored with it pretty quickly.
The problem with live broadcasting, in both video and audio form, is that it’s hard to be good at real-time, in-the-moment content. It’s a skill, which, unfortunately, most people don’t have, which inevitably means that, eventually, most of the streams that you tune into end up being boring, amateurish productions, which are not as entertaining as professional podcasts, or short-form video content, which has increasingly become a key focus.
Which means that while live-streams may be good for breaking news events, which has always been the case on Twitter/X, for ongoing, episodic, regular broadcasts, it’s not a great medium for all users. And as more junk flows into the live content stream, more users turn away, which, in past iterations, has seen the functionality quickly lose momentum.
But there are also some great broadcasters who can create compelling live content, and maybe, if X can better highlight these, and get more people sharing, that could be a path forward for its live elements.
But I wouldn’t count on it, though gaming, as noted, could end up being an exception.
In any event, it looks like X is going to make it a bigger focus, as part of its broader push to facilitate more types of content and functionality in the app.
There’s no word as yet as to when these new live buttons will hit user testing.