By Adam Fraser
In the ever dynamic world of social media, another week of notable change.
Live streaming platform Blab announced (via Medium) it is shutting its doors. In a somewhat abruptly executed closure, Blab management confirmed that the level of engagement simply wasn’t there to sustain the business.
The platform, which allowed up to 4 users to live video chat – hence a hybrid of Periscope (single user) and Google Hangouts on Air (multi user) – had grown to an impressive 4m users, but management confirmed the engagement was simply not there, with only 10% of users regularly returning to the site. As founder Shaan Puri said “most live streams aren’t interesting enough to justify stopping what they are doing to watch your broadcast”.
A challenge Periscope and Facebook Live will also ultimately face.
Also announced this week was a further dismantling of the Google+ social network with Google Hangouts on Air closing – the functionality to be added to YouTube.
The changes are another reminder of the key underlying principle I have previously written about – these platforms are owned by third parties and can change when and as they see fit. Rented land. A brand does not own or control any audience built in a third party platform.
From MySpace to Ello, Blab to Google+, the reminders are plentiful. Build your business around factors you can control. Utilise social networks to listen to and engage with your audience but don’t confuse this with building your own IP. You may wake up to find they dont exist any more.
Community remains a critically important aspect for brands in the future. Over time I would expect to see more of these digital communities housed on owned media properties rather than curated via a third party social network.