Blab. Probably the next best thing since Periscope. A live stream tool where “blabbers” can start a discussion of any topic with an audience that is keen to hear what they have to say or even other share their own perspective. It could be a one-to-many or many-to-many engagement platform.
I’m not here to teach you how to blab as there are a few great articles you can refer to on Blab 101. Below are some of them:
How to Use Blab IM (Tutorial)
Should you then jump on the latest craze in live streaming apps?
I did a bit of research on how the hashtag #blab is doing over Twitter and according to RiteTag, the potential views with it alone could be around 680 thousand (at the time of publishing). Another thing to note is 88% of them have links to them which is due to users “telling the little bird” about the current blab session which links back to the stream.
Not surprised that the hashtag is closely linked to #Periscope as it is continuously being compared to the app. Users are still unsure whether one is better than the other. It has its own unique benefits but more on that later. Hashtags #engagement and #social media makes sense as it is synonymous to the obvious.
As expected, most users are in the USA (around 72%, provided by Keyhole) as influencers in social media and digital marketing are hopping on to use it as another platform to spread their content. This has forced me to join in the mornings (till about 2pm NZ time) as this is the time when a bulk of the users are on. I’ve noticed users in the UK, Australia and New Zealand lurking in the sessions but extremely frustrating to even start one to target local audiences – not yet at least. I’m a bit surprised that the Philippines hasn’t started using it especially the bloggers. My guess is it’s because of the instability and poor internet connection there.
Topics Being Discussed
During the day, there topics that I’ve seen are on social media, online marketers starting to promote their digital products, sales, podcasting, blogging, design, community building, events and sports. There are a few using it to chat amongst friends, networking, and even weddings. Digital and radio shows are starting to expand to the platform hoping to increase their audience.
At night (US time), professionals hop off and “nonsense” topics take over. From dating to getting drunk and even adults showing off some skin, it’s not a pretty sight.
Any new tech is not immune to critics. It’s ironic to see them talking about how the app is annoying and boring within the platform.
Discussion and Engagement
If there is one thing I love about Blab IM is that it is truly a great discussion tool, if used correctly.
Because the tool allows the host to open up the seats for those who would like to voice their opinion on live video, it makes the discussion rich and multi-faceted. The chat tool is an extension beyond the ‘four squares’ of Blab where viewers can send questions and rave or rant about what they’ve heard.
The props feature can boost the host’s (and guests) confidence as it is used when people agree to what they have to say. It is also a way to show support. A mix of reactions happen when one receives a prop and can lead the discussion to another level.
One thing to note is most streams tend to take an hour on average and some even for three or four hours. “It’s addictive!“, most blabbers would say and I agree. Imagine having coffee with colleagues talking about a hot topic and it goes for hours because it goes in different ways. Topics are changed midstream and new viewers come in. Yes, that’s a tip if you want to host a long session.
As I don’t have the stamina to do that, an hour of discussion on one topic is enough. As a host, making sure that you stick to the topic at hand is key to keeping it short. Think about those who hit the replay. I don’t think they are going to sit there till the end.
Here is the first one I hosted about blogging. What’s even better is you can still continue to discuss on the chat box after watching the replay.
I prefer embedding the first player than uploading it to YouTube like the one below. It now becomes passive. The second one is where I was a guest to discuss about content on social media.
Periscope or Blab?
Use the former if you’d like to do a “one-to-many” session with your audience. It’s great for capturing live events and show what is happening. For the latter, it is best to use it to get feedback from other sources and get into a discussion.
Yes go for it!
With all things considered, Blab IM is a platform that has a lot of potential, both for professionals and companies. If you’ve got something to share or need feedback on, this is the place to be. As it is still early days, I expect changes, not only in the app itself but its usage and policies. I would like to see more variety in topics too as there are endless topics that can be discussed in the world other than marketing, tech, or online marketing.