Over in the U.S of A, the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump took place on Monday (Tuesday, our time). While the long-awaited clash of political titans went down pretty much as expected, what I was impressed by was the way people were consuming the debate; via Facebook and Twitter live.
While each candidate went through their talking points, the Twitter commentary stream on the right hand side kept my attention, showcasing how the masses felt about each presidential hopeful’s perspective. Afterwards, I honestly couldn’t think about where else it could have been broadcast; such is the natural experience of live broadcasts on social media for someone in my demographic.
Up until this point, live video on social media has been one of those developments that starts off quite slow until the general population figures out how it fits into their everyday. Realistically, Snapchat bridged the live experience with 24-hour stories and in the moment Snaps, opting for short snippets of content as opposed to full-on broadcasting. While Facebook and Twitter have long been ground-zero for breaking news, up until the last year they’ve always boasted more of a second-screen option. It’s clear from both the recent Australian election and the current US election, alongside a string of high-profile interviews conducted across social, that this is changing.
While the execution of live video is pretty much the same across both platforms, the user experience is quite different. The best description I’ve heard so far has been when CNET quoted Omar Akhtar, an analyst at research firm Altimeter, who said, “Facebook is more akin to being in a living room where you have your friends and you have your relatives. Twitter is like the town square. Everyone is loudly proclaiming their opinions, it’s out to the public.”
Everyone consumes media differently, and I don’t think there was honestly a clear winner in the who-streamed-it-best contest – not yet, anyway. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting trend to watch for brands with something legit to say, and has the potential to supercede many PR and social mainstays like press conferences and events, important company announcements, ambassador meet-and-greets as well as product demonstrations and how-to’s.
Did you watch the first presidential debate on social? What did you think of the experience?