I am a fan of live streaming video in general and the mobile application Meerkat in particular.

Many peacebuilders probably aren’t aware of the live streaming video mobile application Meerkat. Its two more popular cousins, Blab.im and Periscope.tv have garnered attention from tech bloggers and online magazines. The Meerkat app “blew up” at SXSW this year because of issues integrating with the Twitter API [link]. Part of the popularity of live streaming video is its feeling of primacy in connecting with public events and personalities. The primacy is also the reason that Periscope use is banned at many sporting events, concerts and theaters in major cities. The other reason for its popularity is that video apps are the next step in the long, slow unwinding of television as a content delivery mechanism.

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

  • It integrates seamlessly with Twitter and a user can publicize, and distribute a Meerkat stream to Twitter followers to grow an audience via two platforms.
  • The app also allows a user either to invite others onto a stream to “host” a show with that stream’s viewers, or to be interviewed by the host of the “show.” 

As a peacebuilder in any of the conflict management spaces—from facilitation to coaching to mediation to negotiation—you can imagine the benefits of deploying live streaming video to grow a business practice, develop a niche following and to grow a peacebuilding brand. 

Here are a few thoughts around the intersection between peacebuilders, marketing and live streaming, video technology:

Live streaming a mediation or coaching session to Twitter/Facebook followers and fans might not be the best way to ensure client confidentiality, but the savvy peacebuilder might have some clients, willing to have a session streamed. This works if the showcased clients have a social connection to you as a peacebuilder online. As a showcase for your skills, process and talents as a peacebuilder, this would be a “real-time” event. 

Live streaming examples of your work as a peacebuilder (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 get feedback from potential clients and customers around tone, approach and other areas.  As an example of this, there is an instructor on Meerkat who streams his Tai Chi sessions and talks to followers as he’s demonstrating his technique and passion.

Live streaming to build a brand presence requires maintaining similar habits developed through blogging daily. This is easier (and harder) with live video than with more controlled video spaces of Youtube, Vine, SnapChat video, or other services. These services allow editing of the video before uploading to the platform. 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 three initial ideas I have after experimenting with the Meerkat app and researching live streaming video. 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….

Questions or feedback about this?  Write to me at jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com or connect with me via Twitter @Sorrells79 or check out my Facebook Business page and leave a comment there, or message me on LinkedIn.

By Jesan Sorrell

Jesan Sorrells is the founder, owner and principal conflict engagement consultant at Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT), a boutique, private, conflict communication and corporate training consultancy, based out of Endicott, NY. HSCT focuses on delivering Christian based, alternative dispute resolution solutions in the areas of conflict communication, conflict skills development and conflict consulting for a variety of clients, including corporations, higher education organizations and nonprofits. HSCT accomplishes this by leveraging cutting edge, pioneering and entrepreneurial resolutions to conflict, communications, social media, and organizational development for its clients through trainings, seminars, workshops and 1-on-1 consulting. http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com