Blab is the new kid on the block in the live-streaming game. Riding on the back of the wave created by Meerkat and Periscope, Blab offers a different, and likely more generally appealing, take on live-streaming by offering four-way group conversation. And while it's still some way off becoming a mainstream function, early adopters are building audience and boosting their personal brands via Blab content, and the platform has done well at engaging with their fan base and being ever-present, either to offer help and assistance or to participate with users and interact.
One of the key benefits of Blab over other live-streaming apps is that it takes out the intimidation factor. Sure, some people have no problem talking to their camera solo and engaging with their audience via posted comments, but for others, that spotlight may be a little too bright. It can be hard to stay on track and communicate the message you want when you're, essentially, delivering a monologue, it takes a certain personality to be 'good' at live-streaming, as evidenced by the small amount of broadcasters compared to overall viewers. Blab reduces this anxiety by giving you the ability to participate in group chats with people you know and like. And for many, it's given them their first chance to actually 'meet' social media connections in person, to hear words delivered by their voices, as opposed to their written words.
It's a great platform for this type of collaboration and connection, with great potential and utility for business and promotional use - and now, Blab has released an update, adding additional functionality to help maximize applicability, in response to audience demand.
Upload to YouTube
A couple of weeks back, Basecamp CEO Jason Fried tweeted:
As noted, Team Blab is always listening, and in response, they've added this functionality to the system, making it easy to export Blab video direct to YouTube. This is in addition to the already existing features which enable you to download the audio and video of any Blab, or embed a Blab on your site.
The flexibility of options for Blab content has already made it a popular option for podcasters, giving them an extra avenue of attention for their content. The ability to upload direct to YouTube will no doubt be another lure for creators considering Blab, and will lead to more high-profile users clicking over to see what the platform has on offer.
Note: Downloading audio and video from Blab is very easy - as the host of a Blab you'll be sent a link like this at the conclusion of a broadcast.
Team Blab has also upgraded their comments section, making it easier to follow the conversation - and when you get a hundred or so people into a Blab, those questions and mentions can get difficult to stay on top of. Blab's added a new filtering option to help in this regard.
Worth nothing that the questions filter will only highlight questions that have been asked using the correct Blab format - when you want to ask a question in Blab you need to type '/q' or '/question' at the start of your comment, which will highlight the question within the comment stream.
Replay Stats and Detail
Replays are one of the key strengths of Blab - while Periscope and Meerkat content only (technically) exists for a defined period, Blab content, once created, remains available forevermore, if the host has chosen to record it. This makes it more appealing for brands and podcasters, as they'll be able to embed the Blab video on their site and have it accessible forever.
Looking to maximize this functionality, Blab has introduced new stats for replays, showing how many viewers the original Blab had, how many replays it's had since, and how many times it's been shared.
Metrics, as we know, are core to utilizing apps and platforms to best effect for marketers, and it's great to see Blab working to help in this regard.
In addition, replays have been upgraded so that, when paused, the title of the Blab and host names pop-up on screen, improving brand awareness and helping viewers keep track of who's who in the conversation.
Blab have also added a 'related content' feature to Replays in order to highlight similar content airing live while you're viewing previously aired content.
A Platform in Progress
As noted, Blab is platform full of potential for a great many applications, it adds a whole new element to the live-streaming option. This difference was highlighted recently by Joel Comm, in his post titled "How to Get Started on Blab":
"Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook Mentions are mobile-only and are mostly just you talking to your audience. Plus, if you want to interview someone, he or she needs to be right next to you. And while you can include up to 10 people on a Google hangout, the session feels more like an interview and doesn't provide the same sense of engagement as a Blab."
Blab's offering is unique and they've taken in lots of feedback from their user communities to build a more responsive and useful platform. It remains to be seen whether live-streaming will be adopted more widely - it's possible that when (not 'if') Facebook decides to roll out their live-streaming option for all users, that that's when we'll see the process hit the mainstream and really take off with livestream content filtering through Facebook's massive user graph, maximizing its reach. While some see the possibility of Facebook stomping into the live-streaming scene being a potential negative for the current players, Blab may be best placed to withstand, even capitalize on such attention.
If you haven't tried Blab yet, it's worth a look - there's live content being streamed any time you have a chance to click over, and the four-way conversational approach is much more inviting and community-based than other live-streaming apps.
But do be careful, Blab can be addictive. Much like daytime TV, if you find yourself with a moment free it's quite easy to just click over to Blab and see what's happening - and that's not a bad thing, you might find a conversation you'd never have been exposed to otherwise, you might get insights into a topic you didn't even know you cared about, from the real people involved. But like all social media, it can suck you down a rabbit hole - Blabbing in moderation could be a good strategy.