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BuzzFeed’s Guide to Social News and the Power of Live Video

Language and the Machine

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“People have been broadcasting video online for years. But 2016 has been the year that it has taken off on social platforms. Everyone is talking about live video this year,” said Andy Dangerfield, Social Media Editor at BuzzFeed UK. “It’s a new type of journalism… the audience is part of the narrative, they’re able to give their feedback constantly.”

The biggest current players in live video: Facebook, Periscope, Twitch, YouNow and YouTube.

Along with Andy, at Social Media Week London, we heard from Sarah Brown, Strategic Partnership Manager for News at Facebook, Adam Smith, Deputy Community Editor at The Economist, and Diana Rusk, Assistant Editor at BBC News.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events and presentations, sign up for SMW Insider.

What makes a successful live video? “Live videos work well if they’re simple, original, and engaging,” said Andy. They also have an element of the absurd, show extraordinary scenes and have a sense of jeopardy. In terms of what’s to come for live video, Andy highlighted new features like drones and multi-camera angles, along with new platforms like YouNow and Tumblr Live.

Asked why she produces live social video content, Dianna mentioned that at the BBC, “our audiences are at the heart of what we do… live video gives us the opportunity to listen to our audiences. It gives us the chance to meet our audiences where they are.”

According to Sarah, the “best types of live video are the ones where there are genuine engagement and interactions, and a sense from the person who is doing that live that they want to hear from their audience.”

“For the Economist, we’ve found that people want to watch our expert editors and journalists… Each week, we put a different journalist or editor in front of the camera to do a live stream,” said Adam Smith.

In terms of avoiding errors before broadcasting to the world, Andy’s advice is to “always think before you press ‘go live’. Always make sure you’re prepared.”

Here are two of BuzzFeed’s most popular live videos:

 

 

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