Your story: Broadcast it to a worldwide audience
Oct. 24, 2016
by Mark Ollig

It’s happening right at this very moment.

In more than 60 countries, people are broadcasting and participating in thousands of livestreaming videos.

“Live lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook,” described Facebook in a press release regarding its Facebook Live video service.

Facebook’s Live video streaming is seamless; it’s built inside Facebook, thus no third-party application such as Periscope, is needed.

Most Facebook Live video streams are broadcast from a smartphone.

Social media and mainstream news organizations have taken advantage of this new method of networking with their growing online audiences.

When on my Facebook page, I receive notices of live broadcasts I signed up with in my news feed.

Using the Facebook Live Map, I can quickly see the exact geographic locations on an interactive map of the world, where live broadcasts are originating.

The “plus and minus” icons located on the lower-left of the map, allows you to zoom in or out within a specific location – making it easier to differentiate individual dots within a cluster.

By moving your mouse curser over a small blue dot which represents a single Facebook Live broadcast on the world map, you can see, hear, and communicate (a language translator is in the comment box) with the person originating the live video, and others watching it.

“The Facebook Live Map gives you a window into what’s happening in the world right now,” said Director Fidji Simo, of Facebook’s Product Management.

In addition to people networking with other Facebook users, Facebook Live is being heavily used as a reporting tool by mainstream news outlets, regional newspapers, citizen journalists, nonprofit organizations, cities, states, businesses, and governments.

A growing number of the news media are using Facebook Live when reporting from the scene of a breaking news story.

“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world,” said Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg from his Facebook profile page.

I agree with Zuckerberg, and am reminded of George Orwell’s book, published in 1949, about life in 1984.

Today, in addition to “big brother” keeping its eye on us, we, the citizens, are also empowered with a portable “telescreen,” which is, of course, our smartphone.

We have the ability to immediately broadcast what we see or witness to the world.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve monitored the status of the Facebook Live’s World Map.

There has been a definite increase in live broadcasts, as the number of blue dots continues to grow within most countries.

One of the blue dots was in western Russia, in the city of Moscow.

I moved my mouse curser over this blue dot.

On my computer, a video screen box immediately came up; I saw and heard four people sitting at a table speaking Russian. The video’s description was in Russian.

After doing a quick copy and paste into the Google translator, I learned this was a Soviet Sport’s Facebook channel, and the live video feed was a press conference with Russian Boxing Federation presidential candidate Edward Khusainov, who was taking questions.

There are a variety of Facebook Live video broadcasts taking place; from reporting live on the scene during a natural disaster, to people driving into work talking about the traffic.

I viewed various Facebook Live broadcasters discussing politics, the latest news, and their plans for attending a weekend sporting event or wedding.

Others are using Facebook Live for video phone conferencing with friends; much like using Skype or Facetime.

Some Facebook users were even broadcasting live video of themselves doing their makeup from home, while chatting with Facebook users.

One person was broadcasting live video while getting their hair done in a salon.

This person talked with the hairstylist, and also responded to viewer’s comments and questions.

I’ll admit to sometimes feeling like the nosy neighbor looking over the fence while scanning through these live video broadcasts.

If one encounters an offending video, it can be reported to Facebook using a “report” icon.

One Facebook Live video displayed in real-time, is the Abbey Road Crossing sidewalk, which runs through West Minister in London.

This is the crossing where the famous Beatles photograph of John, Ringo, Paul, and George was taken.

The upper-left screen counter showed 4,700 viewers were watching this live video stream.

One person (whom I assume was a tourist), while walking, suddenly stopped in the middle of the crossing and struck a “Beatles walking across the Abbey Road Crossing pose” while a friend took their picture.

I texted my greetings from Minnesota, as did many others from countries around the world who were watching.

Facebook currently has a 90-minute time limit per live video session; I imagine it’s so their network doesn’t become congested with constantly running video streams.

To see the current worldwide status of Facebook Live broadcasts, log into your Facebook account from: www.facebook.com/livemap.

I discovered Live Map is not useable over a mobile smartphone (yet), so you need to run it from your laptop or desktop.

Look for an increase in the reporting of breaking news and other events being broadcast live over social media by traditional news outlets, independent journalists, and others.

Will we ever see a Bits & Bytes live video broadcast?

Possibly. For now, follow yours truly on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

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