A few weeks ago, my good friend Dennis Littley sent me a message asking if I had heard of Blab yet, and if not, to go check it out. He wrote, “I haven’t been this excited about a platform since Google Plus.”
(I know what you’re thinking, nobody was ever excited about Google Plus — except Dennis! — but then again, he had over 780,000 followers on there, so of course he liked it!)
Blab is a live streaming platform, just one in a crowded field of live stream apps that have come out recently, including Meerkat, Periscope, and one of my favorites, Nomadcast, which allows you to stream right to your Facebook fan page. And I must admit, I glanced at a Blab briefly, but otherwise I was just too busy getting ready for FLBlogCon to pay much attention.
But after Dennis had me as a guest on one of his Blabs this week, I was intrigued; it was Blab’s chat box that made it stand out from the field. And, even more importantly, chatters could request to join our conversation in a video chat, so we even had a guy from Italy join Dennis and me (and my dog Juan)!
With FloridaSwimNetwork.com, we have been live streaming since 2011, and so I know the awesome power of a chat as an integral part of a live stream — in fact it is a MUST whenever we go live. (It has been a key part of building our community of loyal fans.) Live streaming is not TV, and Blab has capitalized on this fact in a very positive way.
So, I felt I really needed to dive headfirst into Blab to see what I could discover, so I decided to spend an entire day on Blab. I was stuffing swag bags for FLBlogCon, responding emails, tweeting a bit, and instead of having my usual TV noise in the background, I had Blab on, and here’s what I discovered:
It is an Uncrowded Field
There are some great Blabs (shows with an actual point – entrepreneurship, social media discussions, blogging tips, etc.) and there are some pretty pointless shows (Blabs like “Watch Doug Eat Himself Fat”).
Fortunately, the cream does rise to the top – those shows with the most active viewers appear at the top. (Very smart structuring!)
I spent time choosing Blabs that seemed relevant to me based on my interests. Naturally, some Blabs were better than others and held my interest longer. It was strangely similar to channel surfing on TV, but the Blabs were much more relevant!
There are Some Really Smart People
Much like listening to pundits on talk radio, Blabbers are very willing to share their knowledge with viewers. I got great snippets of good knowledge throughout the day. Early adapters are usually pretty tech savvy, so I was impressed with the abundance of good content. Chris Brogan and Jay Baer are a few of the names I listened to today.
There are Some Blowhards, Too
Blab has been out of alpha testing for only 136 days but already people are billing themselves as “Blab experts” and I even heard one guy say, “I’ve been on Blab forever.”
So, just like any social media, you have to try to ignore the “gurus” and instead look for the authentic voices who are trying their best to share what they have found to work well so far.
Intimacy is the Name of the Game
The platform is perfectly and thoughtfully designed for intimacy and engagement. It doesn’t seem to be made for thousands of viewers to be on at one time — well, there could be, but I wonder what the chat room would look like!
In fact, even the most popular Blabs (the one hosted by Jay Baer) had only 50 or so viewers watching at one time. But the 50 viewers allowed for a very interactive chat, where Jay even mentioned me by name and read my question aloud to answer it. (So cool!)
Blabbing is Easy
Unlike Google HangOuts or even Skype, which both take a tiny bit of know-how to figure out and therefore can be a bit intimidating, joining a Blab is as easy as pressing the button “Join+.”
This is perhaps the most appealing factor of Blab — the ease of user interface. I ended the day listening to Blab’s community manager Brittany Metz talk about how much thought Blab has put into its design and how they have focused on creating engagement between users.
You can Get Your 15 Minutes 0f Fame… Over and Over Again
What I found a tad peculiar as I made my way from Blab to Blab throughout my day, is so did some other viewers, and some of those seemed to be clamoring for a guest spot on the different Blabs. I heard one user on four different Blabs, and he wasn’t the only one!
It’s Monday! Don’t these people have work to do?
Blab Cares about Its Platform
I must admit, though, after listening all day I was ultimately tempted into joining a Blab hosted by @TheJeffAdams, who is a successful podcaster here in Florida and who is also exploring Blab. He saw me lurking in the chat room and asked me to join the discussion on live streaming. As we were talking, different people were jumping in and out of the conversation, and suddenly we were joined by Shaan Puri, the VP of Blab.
Shaan took time to explain Blab a bit more to me and to even listen to some suggestions I had about being able to use external cameras. (This is something we’d definitely use with Florida Swim Network!)
Major props to Blab, though. It was very cool to see Blab personnel joining the chats, explaining their product and taking suggestions from its users. (When is the last time you saw a social media channel do that!?)
Try It for Yourself
In fact, Justice Mitchell and I will be hosting our first Blab this Wednesday to discuss this weekend’s FLBlogCon — you can “subscribe” to it and get a reminder when we go live:
I’m even considering starting an extension to Blog Talk TV via Blab. In the meantime, though, I will be back watching Blab tomorrow, my new social media addiction!