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Live streaming: New Tools – New Opportunities – New Questions

Live Streaming GraphicAre you looking to connect your audiences with visual content in real-time? You may want to consider “live streaming,” or broadcasting live video. While live streaming has been around for a while, it is becoming easier for anyone with a smart mobile device to share a “live” video with friends, family, and followers. For the HIV community, live streaming could create new opportunities to deliver content and engage your audiences from conferences, community events, policy briefings, etc.

New Live streaming Tools:

Currently, two new live streaming apps, Meerkat Exit Disclaimer and Periscope Exit Disclaimer (which is owned by Twitter), are gaining popularity on social media channels with celebrities, politicians, and the public. These new mobile apps allow you to capture video and share it in real time with your social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. You can post your live stream directly on Twitter using either Periscope or Meerkat, but if you want to post directly to Facebook, you will need to use Meerkat. You can currently download these apps for free.

When you download either one, people can start “following” you, and they’ll be notified when you’re broadcasting a live video on the app. You can also link the apps with Facebook and Twitter, so that you promote your live stream in advance and alert your followers when the live stream is about to begin. You can also manually post the livestreaming video link to your social media accounts, or through other communication channels (e.g., email, text messages). Viewers can engage with the live streaming event with a “like,” “comment,” and “share,” just like they can on Facebook and Twitter.  To some this may sound easy, but if you need more information, read on!

Resources to Get You Started:
Meerkat and Periscope

Meerkat and Periscope

Live streaming might be an important asset for your program, so explore and see if it fits into your social media strategy. Below, you can find resources to download the apps, to learn about how to engage your audiences through live streaming, and to observe who is currently live streaming on social media.

Questions to Ask:

The tools may be new but the questions you need to ask before you adopt a new tool are time-honored standards. We like the POST Method Exit Disclaimer as a useful framework:

P = People Who is your target audience? What tools are they using?

O = Objectives Are you starting an application to share, collaborate, or talk with your customers/stakeholders?

S = Strategy What do you want to accomplish?

T = Technology Once you’ve defined your people/audiences, your objectives, and strategy, then have you chosen the most appropriate technology?

And there are new questions too, like: What policies do you need to have in place to use the tool? Are there privacy concerns? Etc.

Having policies for social media tools is important for anyone who adopts them—but those policies are essential for Federal agencies. Before we can adopt any free social media tool, all Federal agencies are required to have a Terms of Service Exit Disclaimer (TOS) agreement drafted specifically for the U.S. Government; this is to protect the privacy and security of all users. Once we have that TOS, Federal agencies are welcome to use these tools.

HHS does not currently have a TOS for Meerkat or Periscope, but we encourage you to keep a close eye on how these and other live streaming tools are being used. The AIDS.gov team will be watching too!

Stay tuned! We have to lot to learn about these emerging tools and their features. We will be sharing more about the issues related to live streaming, as well as sharing tips from colleagues.