Amateur’s hour

And the world laughed with her

A MAN broadcasts via Facebook Live the moment a sniper gunned down five policemen in Dallas. With her dying boyfriend next to her, a woman in a car recounts with stunning composure how just seconds before he was shot by a police officer after a traffic stop in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Citizens live-stream the aftermath of an attempted coup in Turkey. A woman cannot contain her excitement about a mask of Chewbacca, a Star Wars character, she has just bought, earning her 160m views on Facebook (pictured).

Scarcely a week now passes without the world being treated to the real-time footage of another, sometimes harrowing event, which goes viral. But whether or not live-streaming will be a big money-earner is less obvious than its rising appeal. It was a decade ago that websites such as Justin.TV and Ustream made it possible for anyone with a PC, an internet connection and a webcam to become a broadcaster. Live-streaming’s current, far more user-friendly mobile incarnation emerged early last year, by when wireless data connections were fast enough. And when Twitter (via its Periscope app) and Facebook…Continue reading

This post was originally published in the Economist.

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Amateur’s hour

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