#Untrending: The world of camera-first communication

Facebook recently jumped into the live story telling realm, first with Facebook Live, then with Messenger Day, and just this past week with Facebook Stories.

This move by Facebook signals a sea change in how we approach online communication and the way businesses will need to adapt to marketing products and services.

So, what’s the big deal? It means we’ve entered the world of camera-first communication.

Snapchat got the ball rolling by popularizing ephemeral visual exchanges on mobile. Snaps happen in real time, and the content disappears after 24 hours, creating a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out (FOMO) that drives views and engagement.

A Snapchat Story is a set of multiple photos and videos that appear consecutively in a slideshow format, creating a narrative loop.

Instagram followed suit with Instagram Stories, and now Facebook, the mainstream social media giant, is prioritizing visual, in-the-moment content.

What is it that is so remarkable about these new features?

First of all, these apps have massively simplified and streamlined mobile video. Even if you are only the slightest bit tech-savvy, you can create fun, interesting, and engaging in-the-moment short videos with a tap on your phone. If you happen to have more than a passing knowledge of video editing, the world is your digital oyster.

Secondly, live video creates an unprecedented level of access to the people and brands we love.

Brian Fanzo, known as @iSocialFanz, one of North America’s foremost social strategy consultants says, “Live video is transforming the future of digital communications. It’s now about how you can be more authentic and cut through the noise. There is nothing more real, more raw than live video.”

The rawness Fanzo describes creates a sense of intimacy and connection. These tools are giving us a backstage pass to each other’s worlds. Humans are curious creatures, and we are captivated by the antics and insights of other humans. Live streaming video means we can interact in real time and offers a kind of experience that is simply not available via more traditional static text and image posts.

The smartphone camera is replacing the keyboard.

Plus (as if that wasn’t enough), the engagement on the story platforms takes place in the chat or messaging function. There is no public liking or commenting. This means the interaction is direct and private, driving one-to-one personal connection and relationship-building.

Can you see the potential to transform relationships with fans, followers, customers and clients?

Lorri Ratzlaff, a local social media strategist, had this to say about the user experience: “Learning about one another and growing together, and in turn being able to help in a more direct and effortless way comes so much more easily when you look someone in they eye – the ‘camera first’ mentality – and share your life with them.”

One final point: these brave new interactions are taking place primarily in one place. That place is in our pockets.

Says Fanzo: “We consume, create, document and communicate via our mobile devices.”

Camera-first means content has gone mobile, and so have our customers.

These changes offer new opportunities and new challenges.

Vicki McLeod, an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning


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