The 2016 Social Media Race: Live Streaming

WHAT. AN. ELECTION. SEASON. While the race has whittled down to just two candidates, this presidential election season has blown up the news cycle and social media streams alike thanks to Twitter rants, Access Hollywood tapes, an FBI letter or two, among many, many other events. There’s just one more day until it’s (fingers-crossed!) all over, and what better way to cap off the crazy season with one last look at a few social media tools that have been making a splash and bringing the results live – livestreaming apps Periscope, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live.

Periscope: This live video streaming app had so much buzz and potential, it was acquired by Twitter before publicly launching in March of 2015. Since then, it’s been a force to be reckoned with, shutting down competitors like SXSW 2015 darling Meerkat. Registering through the app via Twitter account or mobile phone number, users can start their own live broadcast and can stream directly to Twitter users. It’s been a go-to for many to broadcast election events, debates, and commentary. The app also worked with CBS News to stream the conventions inside and out with “Twitter Spaces”, where attendees could go in and Periscope and host Q&As via Twitter. Taking a page from the Snapchat playbook, the app has even allowed users to put on Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump masks when broadcasting on selfie-mode. Tomorrow night, Periscope and Twitter will report election results live with BuzzFeed.

Facebook Live: While originally launching for a select few VIPs in August 2015, Facebook Live opened to the general public in 2016. Helping expand news coverage, Facebook Like launched a live streaming API to allow other devices such as professional video cameras and drones to integrate more easily through the platform. Facebook Live also partnered with ABC News to air the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, delivering a whopping 28 million+ views of its live video coverage from the platform. Trump’s campaign even experimented with Facebook Live for pre and post-event commentary of the third debate, presaging what many anticipate to be Trump TV. Facebook Live also announced today that it’s partnered with 50 broadcast, online, and print news outlets across all 50 nifty United States for a “live video blitz” to cover election night.

YouTube Live: While YouTube has an been a campaign tool for several elections now and even the kickoff to Clinton’s candidacy, YouTube Live has broken new records as users eagerly keep up with this election season’s pivotal events. Since live-streaming access to the general public was made available at the end of 2013, live broadcasting has taken off, especially with this year’s conventions and debates. The 2016 presidential debates ranked as the three most-viewed political live streams of all time, driving 8.5M live watch hours and averaged 1.7M live peak concurrent viewers. Tomorrow night, YouTube will broadcast results live, teaming up with six different channels that will all live-stream election coverage including The Young Turks, Telemundo, MTV News, Bloomberg, PBS NewsHour, and NBC News.

Regardless of your party affiliation or livestreaming preferences, I’m sure we’ll all be waiting with bated breath – and ready to put this election to bed.