I am a live streaming video fan in general and a Meerkat partisan in particular.

You probably haven’t heard of the mobile application Meerkat, though its two more popular cousins, Blab.im and Periscope.tv are getting a lot of attention from tech bloggers and online magazines. The Meerkat app “blew up” at SXSW this year because of some shenanigans with the Twitter API, which you can read about here[link]. Part of this is because live streaming video is popular right now as a way to immediately connect with public events and personalities. The other part of this is because live streaming video is the next step in the continuing disassembling of television as a content delivery mechanism.

I like the Meerkat app for many, many reasons. The top two are:

  1. The app integrates seamlessly with Twitter and you can publicize your Meerkat streams to your Twitter followers to grow your audience on two platforms.
  2. The app also allows you to invite others onto your stream to either “host” a show with your viewers or to be interviewed by the host of the “show.”

Now, if you are a peacebuilder in any of the conflict management spaces—from facilitation to coaching to mediation to negotiation—you can probably already see the benefits of live streaming video to grow your business practice, develop a niche following and to grow your brand.

Here are a few thoughts I have around this new intersection between peacebuilders, marketing and technology:

Live streaming a mediation or coaching session to your Twitter/Facebook followers and fans might not be the best way to ensure client confidentiality and build trust, but you might have some clients who would be willing to have their lives placed on view for you to showcase what you do in real time. This would work particularly well if those clients are connected to you as a peacebuilder online.

Live streaming samples of you working (i.e. “This is what a session looks like,” “This is me explaining my philosophy and approach to peace,” etc., etc.) would be a way to immediately get feedback from potential clients and customers around tone, approach and other areas, rather than the one sided bubble of blog writing. There’s already a person on Meerkat who streams his Tai Chi sessions and talks to followers as he’s performing.

Live streaming to build a brand presence requires maintaining the same habits that you have to in order to blog daily: Show up on schedule, on time and engage effectively. This is easier (and harder) with live video than with the more controlled spaces of Youtube, Vine, SnapChat video or any other service that allows you to edit your presentation before uploading the content. With live streaming, it happens as it happens. However, this can be a way to schedule time with another peacebuilder and build an “Oprah” type show via Meerkat that goes on the air everyday and builds a sense of consistency and relationship with viewers.

These are just three ideas I have after messing around with the Meerkat app and researching live streaming video for the last few months. I am sure that some enterprising and entrepreneurial peacebuilder will use this platform (or Blab or Periscope) to begin to explore the possibilities of live streaming for peace.

If not, maybe I’ll host my own show on Meerkat….

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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