I couldn't get Katy Perry's song, "I Kissed A Girl", out of my head during my first two Blabs recently because as I was soaking it all in, learning the ropes and trying something new, I realized that I liked it.
Cherry ChapStick aside, the experience really did fit well with Perry's lyrics:
It felt so wrong, it felt so right...
I don't even know your name, it doesn't matter, you're my experimental game...
Just human nature...
My head gets so confused...
For those who don't yet know, Blab.im (available as an iOS app or on Chrome desktop only) is the newest of the live-streaming apps, with the twist that up to four people can stream at the same time, in little boxes that are reminiscent of The Brady Bunch. Viewers can watch, comment, Tweet, and even jump in to the video feed if one of the speakers gives up their seat.
I loved the willingness of people to just jump in and try it, experiment, ask questions, and learn as they go. There are no Blab "experts" yet because it's too new, so everyone is roughly on the same playing field. And brands haven't had a chance to commercialize it yet, either.
I joined my first Blab because I recognized some folks I enjoy following on Twitter... Carlos Gil, Eric Tung, and Chris Strub. The very moment I joined, I heard "Is that Dan Gingiss? Join us!" and the next thing I knew, I was sitting in the fourth "chair" chatting along with these guys. The topic, ironically, was about use cases for Blab, for which I clearly had no claim to expertise. But Carlos asked me about how Blab could affect the way companies deliver customer service, and suddenly I was in my element.
Our old buddy Bryan Kramer then dropped by, and the topic quickly moved to his new book, Shareology. Although he didn't plan on it, Bryan ended up receiving quite a plug for his excellent book.
Then Bryan left and a British woman requested to join and she was all about spreading positivity and peace and harmony throughout the world. #Mindblown.
Later in the evening, I hosted my own Blab to talk baseball with some friends during the Cubs-Giants game. While it had much smaller attendance than the afternoon session (possibly because it was later at night but also because people commented that it was hard to find in the app), we had fans of the Cubs, Giants, Mets, Red Sox and Blue Jays join. We talked baseball (and other things) for nearly 3 hours, and it was a ton of fun.
In the middle of it, something incredible happened: I ran into some trouble using the app, and Chris typed "@help" into the comment section. Within just a few seconds, Brittany Metz, the self-described "Community Princess" of Blab, joined our Blab and requested a seat. Moments later she was guiding us through the issues we were having and answering other questions we had about Blabbing. Everyone was amazed; this was truly "real-time," "on-demand" customer service.
The implications for brands (Carlos' original question to me) are many; companies may have the opportunity to combine crowd-sourced help with actual customer service agents in a single place. Companies may also be able to demonstrate their "thought leadership" by highlighting employees who are industry experts in topics of interest to their customers.
A couple of days later, Dan Moriarty and I had the pleasure of interviewing Brittany for the Focus on Customer Service podcast, the video of which can be found here. Stay tuned for a write-up and the audio recording on Social Media Today later this week.
Whether Blab turns out to be the Next Big Thing or just a passing fad, it's a fascinating platform where the opportunity still exists to get in early and be an early adopter. Check it out, and maybe you too will try a Blab and like it.