Last week a friend in Armenia invited me on “Blab” to talk about book cover design. I’d never heard of it before. Turns out it’s like Periscope meet Google Hangouts (kind of).
It’s not just a one person broadcast, up to four different people can share the screen. And the cool thing is, other people can jump in. And the other cool thing is… OK, there are lots of them. Let me start listing.
1. Built in Twitter stuff
On the left hand side you can share what’s happening live on Twitter with one click. This encourages sharing, and scarcity – other people are more likely to join if it’s happening right now. And people who are “in on” something cool are more likely to share and invite others so they won’t miss out.
Also, on the right hand side, you can chat with others. You can also star/”like” their comments, or reply back directly to them. This creates intimacy and engagement: AND you can click their name and either follow them on Blab or follow them on Twitter.
This means, even if you’re not presenting, you can still be on the chat making connections and bonding with people. (Like Twitter, but it’s much more intimate, because it’s a small group focused on a topic. And by having other people speak, it kind of feels like you’re in the back passing notes while the teacher is talking). You can see who in the room has the most Twitter follows, follow them, then say hi when they come into the same chat room.
Which means – building in fun things that make it seems like a game. In Blab, you can give someone “props” symbolized by raising both hands in the air, and the conversation keeps score, so it’s kind of like the speaker who says the most cool things will “win”. I can see it being used for a four way comedy standoff, winner take all. It also increases engagement
I think Blab is fun, and easy to use. It also looks good. I just started doing webinars, and each time I have to figure out how to do everything, and where everything is in the software, which means I can’t interact well.
Blab is simple and easy to use, which is why I think it’s going to be really popular, REALLY fast. So when I do webinars/interviews, I plan on just using Blab…the other webinar platforms all seemed clunky to me, and if it’s a viewer’s first time, it may be too hard to use.
4. Save videos
You can “record” the conversation and post it on your website as a video. I’m going to start doing short 15 minute interviews with remarkable people on interesting topics, so I can post series of expert interviews around certain topics. That gives me great content, and gives me a reason to reach out to people. Podcasting is really powerful because it gives you an excuse to reach out and interview people, so you build a strong network. I’m not interesting in podcasting though… or arranging Skype interviews to record for later. It always seemed like too much work.
It’s better to have videos happening now, like a webinar, but comfortable, social and fun, without being clunky… but that you can save and replay. So Blab is perfect for setting up dozens of quick, informal chats without it being a big serious thing you have to schedule. I think that if you make videos with Google Hangout they post automatically on YouTube and probably rank better… and with Blab you’d have to save it, embed it somewhere else
You can turn record to off though. My guess is we’ll see lots of private chatrooms where kinky stuff goes on, and the guy says “yeah baby, it’s off, I’m not recording” before she does a sexy striptease. And 5 years from now someone will hack the database and find out that all those things were secretly recorded, and they’ll be leaked, and it will be a huge scandal.
You can search for topics that are happening and join in. I guess Google Hangouts did that but it was too clunky and unnatural, it might be functional but it isn’t fun. (They take the “fun” out of functional… get it? Wink?)
I think that’s going to make it really fun… it almost feels like SnapChat… or like AOL chat when you were a teenager flirting with strange faceless girls on the dial-up internet (if you’re my age, anyway).
Which means, if you’re hosting a topic on something of interest, it will attract all the right people, who can jump in right away and engage.
I imagine it’s be like Facetime, so friends or highschool classmates or family can get together and drink a glass of wine together (there must be a way to set conversations as “private.”
Blab is already a little creepy because there are people talking politics and religion and stuff: in other words, all sorts of people with all kinds of ideas that sound stupid and crazy to you. But it’s kind of cool you can hang out in the background. If you ever want to know what people really think of something, or how a certain type of people think and speak, you can probably go find a group of them and listen in. Good for all kinds of research.
Dangers of Blab
It does feel a little too casual. I think the point of Periscope was authenticity, letting your fans and follows really bond and get to know you. Maybe it’s cool because you can be walking around or biking and talking.
In Blab, it’s more just random people sitting and talking about shit. So if you’re having a conversation about a topic, with other people, try to have a plan and make someone keep track of time. Keep it moving.
Because a lot of people are just jumping in and out (like Chatroulette). People are going to jump in for 20 seconds and see if it’s cool or not. So don’t be too relaxed. Don’t sitting around laughing at each other or getting off track (depends who is watching though or who you’re trying to attract). Dress nice, clean up your messy room a little, and don’t sound like a bunch of guys smoking pot and talking about how big the universe is, unless you’re Steven Hawking. (Steven if you ever want to talk about how Big the Universe is on Blab I would love to be there.)
I was in a talk with someone a few days ago, and some guy just jumped in and started promoting his business (there are four squares so a couple are usually free and people can just jump in the chat and start talking). So he was like “Hey what do you guys think of my website” and we gave him feedback and he was marketing. He could do that to dozens of chats every hour, putting his stuff in front of thousands of people.
It’s kind of obnoxious, but it’s also probably good marketing, if you’re nice about it and do it well.
I’d like to schedule and host one interview a day. Maybe not starting right now, but soon. If anybody has a platform (1000 followers or more), or has an incredible story and wants to talk about…
1. How to build communities and do impossible things
2. How to be remarkable and do something that matters
3. How to use your time for more meaningful things
Let’s do it. You can comment with your idea below. You can add me on Facebook or Twitter and just tell me when you want to start if we’re both online.
PS) I thought this video was a fun introduction…