I went to see a concert Monday night, and was surrounded by video crews going live the whole time. Except the crews were one-person bands. And the live shots were people in the audience using their phones.
The concert in question was Squeeze (I’m from the eighties), known for such hits as “Tempted,” “Pulling Mussels From the Shell” and “Cool for Cats.” They played here in Boston. I lucked into floor seats. Here I am, looking very goofy:
Before the concert, a friendly announcer told people to put their phones into airplane mode after the third song, so they could enjoy the show and not “watch it on a tiny screen” instead. People ignored that entreaty. Instead, they streamed live to their friends using Facebook Live, Periscope and the like:
There were a lot of live shots like this. We are in the era of personalized media, and this is the kind of competition TV is taking on. The above video was probably only seen by a few of the poster’s friends. But I had at least six people around me livestreaming, and I’ll bet dozens more did it at one point or another during the show. This was an intimate theater.
And you can hear the hand-wringing: “Oh, people shouldn’t do this! They should put down the phones and enjoy! How annoying!” Folks: This is how it is. This is one-on-one live news. Social media asks the question “What are you doing?” We used to answer in a sentence. Now we answer with video. The user who attended the concert dedicated her live shot to answer what she was doing. It wasn’t hard news, but it was the top story to her friends.
Whenever a new form of digital media comes along, the first reaction has been to shun it. And, I’ll admit, seeing people livestream at a concert isn’t my thing. But it is native to a whole generation. We are all live, all the time.