WOW, A Year Ago I Went Live On Meerkat at #SXSW!

Meerkat1As a change evangelist I’m fueled by rapid change but there is no way I could have predicted the change that occurred in the last year since I first hit “Go Live” on Meerkat while working as an Influencer in Barcelona Spain at Mobile World Congress 2015.

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I wasn’t a video blogger or power user of traditional live streaming apps like Ustream, Justin.Tv or Livestream.com. I’m a tech geek that has worked in cyber security, cloud computing, social business employee advocacy and even time as a professional poker player. My career was pivoting in 2013 towards social business and digital media and I made a commitment to investing in my personal brand and telling my story online. I also focused on building my community and awareness by hosting 2 weekly video Twitter chats, a technology-focused podcast, while also becoming a speaker and influencer for enterprise technology brand’s.

So you might be asking yourself, “How did a mobile live streaming app change the course of my career and life?” Well the story I tell every week on stage around the world starts out by explaining that I’d done a video on my iPhone as an influencer for the brand that was paying for me to be at Mobile World Congress an hour before discovering Meerkat. I got a message from a friend that simply said

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“Ashton Kutcher and Gary Vaynerchuk are using this new live streaming app you should download it and the colors of the app are black and yellow so as a steeler fan you’ll love it for that reason alone!”

I downloaded the yellow app with the funny animal on it using the horrible wifi available to us in the expo hall in Barcelona. I skipped through the introduction instructions saw the “go live” button and hit it. At that moment the back camera turned on and my first thought was, Well this is no different than the video blog I just recorded, but then a comment popped up and said “hi from Indiana” I said Hi and then they asked “Is that the Samsung booth there in the distance, could you show us the new phone they are displaying?” At that moment my mind was blown! I had just down a 30 min video walking around the expo hall sharing MY views, thoughts and insights but by simply clicking this live streaming app my community could now engage in live conversations with me while I was on video and ultimately shape the content that I was creating. Now this story doesn’t have a happy ending as I walked about 5 feet and the WiFi dropped and that was the end of my first live streaming broadcast.

I did a couple more broadcasts while at the event in Barcelona but ultimately it gave me a taste that allowed me to come up with a strategy and plan for leveraging this new app at SXSW later in March as I was speaking and on 4 panels. I did preview Meerkats after getting out of the Uber every morning and recap Meerkats after my events or parties that were happening over the 7 days I was in Austin for SXSW. I left that event on the top 10 leaderboard, got time with Gary Vaynerchuk after his keynote thanks to him watching my Meerkat streams and an entire new community of fans who had watched hours of my streams over the last couple days.

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Fast forward a year later and I’ve done over 1400 streams leveraging new apps that emerged over the year including Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live, MyEye, FireTalk, MeVee, Nomadcast and I’m sure a couple others that I’ve forgot about.

Over this year I’ve been hired to work with brands of all sizes, industries and backgrounds doing a wide range of projects including:

  1. Applebee’s Website Takeover #TasteTheChange broadcasting live for 12 hours with Vincenzo Landino & Sunny Lendurzzi that included bringing in 20+live stream influencers content they were creating at their local Restaraunt. The #TasteTheChange event generated over 1 Billion Impressions on the hashtag.
  2. Product Demo & Giveaway of a brand new product by SanDisk.
  3. Influencer & brand amplification at multiple IBM conferences.
  4. Launching the first Periscope Stream for the @IBM handle.
  5. Migrating our #Cloudtalk Video Twitter Chat show to the Blab Live Streaming App and signing IBM & SAP as sponsors.
  6. Merging my company with @Ryan_A_Bell the founder of the Periscope Summit creating the company Backlamp that launched with our first project as a team at CES conference launching the global brand LeTv’s first live stream while also teaming up with 3 other brands at that event.
  7. Most recently teamed up with SAP and the Super Bowl to do 20 hours of live content from the Super Bowl City in San Francisco interviewing 55+ thought leaders from SAP’s partners: IBM, Capgemeni, Delloitte and iTelligence. #SB50disrupt

On top of all these projects I’ve also had the opportunity to speak at brand and industry events around the world about the power of live streaming and my strategy which I refer to as #ThinkLikeAFan.

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As you can imagine it’s been a crazy ride this past year and the industry as a whole as been on an equally crazy ride with new apps emerging while other apps came and went. (See 2015 live streaming industry blog post I wrote here) I also had a roller coaster experience with these apps as I was blindly loyal to Meerkat the app that launched this crazy ride for me even going as far as uninstalling the Twitter-owned app Periscope live on a Meerkat stream while deeming Live Google Hangouts dead thanks to new startup Blab.Im.

What I learned: Screw the technology & apps!

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If you would have asked me at SXSW if Meerkat or live streaming or video would change my career or future of my business I would have said not a chance, Hell if you would have asked me in the summertime I wouldn’t have believed it.

As of this blog post I haven’t done a Meerkat stream since November of 2015, I was the closing keynote for the first Periscope Summit and then the host for the 2nd event now called Summit.Live. What does all this change and craziness really mean?

Digital Storytelling & Social Community Building Will Never Be The Same!

The community that emerged during the early days of Meerkat, Yes early days as in 10 months ago, will never be duplicated and will be a time in my life that I will look back on for years to come as the fuel that allowed me to discover my true passion. No that passion isn’t for live streaming or mobile apps or video rather it’s for:

Connecting Great People with Great People to do Great Things!

So yes these apps are doing amazing things and changing at a crazy pace but be wary of those “experts” that believe the drastic transformation has everything to do with these apps or the technology. Cause I’m here to tell you the technology and mobile apps are going to change even more over this next year and new ones will emerge while others will disappear. So don’t listen to those focusing on the technology or making grand predictions about the future of live streaming.

What’s the future of mobile live streaming?

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Hell if I know, but I will say this, the importance of storytelling, relating with your community and leveraging live technology to engage in real-time is only going to increase.

So my advice:

  • Focus on building a community not followers on apps or social networks!
  • Listen & learn about all of the new apps but focus on the features and benefits while trying to discover if your audience, community, influencers or those who influence your influencers are leveraging them.
  • Start trusting and training your employees, customers & partners as they are your best marketers and sales people and are already on your payroll!

I’ve created 50+ pieces of content around live streaming over this year. You can find those resources available all on one page on my website: http://www.ThinkLikeAFan.Video

Also checkout my 500+ live streams saved on Katch here at www.BrianFanzo.Live.

As I hit publish on this post @ReCode broke the news that Meerkat is changing its focus…. #RIPmeerkat we will remember the good ole days!

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First posted at: https://medium.com/mobile-live-streaming/what-i-ve-learned-a-year-after-live-streaming-on-meerkat-the-1st-time-9b5c1361a367#.o3x0b8uoo