Yesterday was an important day in social media. The Shorty Awards, which honor the best of social media by recognizing the influencers, brands, and organizations who excel on different platforms, just added the categories of "Periscope of the Year" and "YouNower of the Year" to its list. Found under the "Tech & Innovation" section, these new categories signal an incredibly rapid validation of the newest social platforms and hint at what's to come for those involved in live video.
So, what does this mean for the new wave of live video content creators and for brands interested in exploring live streaming as a way to market to audiences?
The answer is, "a great deal!"
"We were really impressed with the communities that are developing on Periscope and livestreaming in general, so we launched new categories in both our Influencer and Brands & Organizations Awards this year," said The Shorty Awards Co-Founder, Gregory Galant.
Galant belives Periscope's not just a new technology but a whole new way to interact with audiences. "We've seen influencers and brands intimately engage their viewers over Periscope. Those who succeed on Periscope consistently have a unique talent to think on their feet and create a dialog."
These new categories show how rapidly live streaming or live video platforms are gaining traction and acceptance. In the case of Periscope, which launched at the end of March 2015 and is owned by Twitter, this can be seen as a huge recognition which legitimizes their efforts. The timing for these additions couldn't be better timed. Just last week Twitter announced that Periscope streams would now be visible on users' Twitter feeds, furthering their integration.
"Live stream has gone mainstream in less than a year," added Ronald C. Pruett Jr., an advisor to Al Roker Entertainment and Co-Founder of Roker Labs. "The news is a major wake-up call for brands. They need to move quickly and test a number of creative options on various live platforms before their competitors beat them to it."
Pruett also thinks this brings legitimacy to the live streaming platforms and to a whole new set of content creators who are innovators and pioneers.
"I'm able to create a whole new livelihood in the entertainment industry, all of this for free and from my phone," said the actress, host, TV personality and Periscope category nominee, Africa Miranda. "The exposure I'm getting rivals what I had on Bravo."
Miranda believes that the brands that wait it out will be left behind, because in her opinion "live streaming is real, it's not going anywhere and it's what's next."
The Shorty Award additions also bring with them a new level of competition among streamers and will possibly make content creators focus on producing better quality content in a medium that is live, raw and sometimes unpredictable.
"This is an exciting industry recognition of our platform," highlighted Adi Sideman, CEO of YouNow. "What you are seeing is the validation of a platform that is a combination of an entertainment network and a social network."
The addition of the YouNow category, according to Sideman, also points to a great opportunity for brands, and it opens up new opportunities for content creators to continue monetizing the app while giving viewers the content they crave. YouNow, whose users are mostly millennials, has over 100 million user sessions every month and users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the platform.
Despite initial skepticism from some in social media, live streaming or live video is not going anywhere. It will be changing the way we consume our news and our entertainment. Soon, it might even impact we purchase goods too. Live streaming is quickly becoming the missing link between television and social media.