If you’ve ever live streamed through Twitter, you know it’s a nightmare. Even though Twitter has owned live video app Periscope for two years, the platforms are still very disjointed. There’s a lot to complain about, so bear with me.
Why Live Video On Twitter Stinks
Live streaming requires both the Twitter and Periscope mobile apps. Twitter’s live video button redirects you to Periscope, a process that’s in dire need of streamlining. Personally, I can’t afford to have both Twitter and Periscope on my phone (my selfies just take up too much memory). I end up re-downloading Periscope every time something worth live streaming happens in my life. That isn’t very often, but it’s still annoying.
Captioning broadcasts is also difficult. The Twitter drop down boxes that help you add hashtags and mentions don’t exist on Periscope. That means that you have to do some prep work before broadcasting. That includes memorizing your friends’ Twitter handles, checking Twitter’s trending hashtags, etc. Meanwhile on Facebook, the tagging features you know and love are perfectly integrated into Facebook Live. So it’s pretty clear that Twitter is lagging behind.
Even worse, your live video tweet on Twitter is a cropped version of your original Periscope video. So while your Periscope live stream captures an amazing rock concert, the resulting tweet might just show the back of people’s heads in the crowd. What’s the point of documenting your life on social media if it doesn’t look cooler than it actually is?
Change Is On the Horizon
— Twitter (@twitter) December 14, 2016
Thankfully, Twitter has finally taken a step towards properly integrating Periscope into its mobile app. Today it announced that users will be able to broadcast straight from the Twitter app—no additional Periscope app needed.
With the update, a “LIVE” button on the “Compose a Tweet” page will take you to a pre-broadcasting screen. Once you’ve added a caption and framed your shot, simply tap the “Go Live” button to start your live stream. The Twitter broadcast viewing experience will also improve. Just tap a live stream Tweet to become an audience member, and you’ll be able to interact with the video with Periscope-style comments and hearts.
These improvements make sense if Twitter truly wants to rebrand itself as the “people’s news network” for live events and commentary. No word on whether Twitter is working on addressing other issues with its Periscope integration. But if the platform is to stand a chance against its growing live video competitors, it desperately needs to catch up.