10 Seconds or Less: How I use Snapchat professionally

“Get to the point.”

Full disclosure: I love live-streaming video. I’m a regular user of Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab, and I have made thousands of connections through live-streaming platforms.

I’m currently living in Louisville, Ky., partnering with Humana on a groundbreaking project designed to help introduce live-streaming to community organizations participating in the company’s Bold Goal initiative.

Without stretching the pun too far, it’s a remarkably bold approach — getting started with live-streaming can be intimidating, and it’s truly inspiring to see an organization like Humana believe in the power of the medium.

But live-streaming isn’t a be-all, end-all. There are many well-documented concerns with live-streaming that currently deter it from truly becoming mainstream.

In Missoula, Mont., I live-streamed on Meerkat while being interviewed for a taped news segment.

To me, the top concern is the value proposition to a viewer throughout the broadcast. The biggest challenge to a broadcaster is consistently “How can I provide value from beginning to end?” Unlike more traditional media, the broadcaster is directly and constantly informed of the size (and composition) of the audience. If you’re not delivering value to a viewer — they’ll leave. Having myself been on more than 800 live broadcasts, and having watched thousands more, I’ve definitely learned that oftentimes, less is more.

Imagine you’re watching a live video of someone walking through the streets of a big city. A 15-block walk — I’ve done it six times to Humana headquarters here in Derby City — takes about 30 minutes.

In the course of that 30 minutes, perhaps you’re shown a bridge. A pizza shop. A new bar. An antiques gallery. And a significant local monument.

In between those moments, a lot of walking. Might there be conversation of interest during that walk? Probably — but is it worth 30 minutes of your time to see those aforementioned five highlights? (Maybe, maybe not.)

But is it worth 30 seconds of your time to see those five highlights?

That, to me, is why Snapchat is in such an advantageous position right now: an immense concentration of value in a short amount of time.

I could point you to a thousand other blog posts about the importance of time. Snapchat wins by giving the creator the best opportunity to concentrate value in a short amount of time.

In the weeks to come, you’ll see me using live-streaming to highlight organizations committed to improving the health and wellness of the Louisville community. The dialogue we’ll stream will be eye-opening, thought-provoking and impactful.

But we won’t stop there. Snapchat is an important part of my storytelling repetoire. Using Snapchat to conduct interviews limits both the interviewer and the subject to 10-second-or-less sound bites — the exact flavor that are the lifeblood of ‘evolved’ video mediums like TV.

I’d reference you back to the well-known ‘What is the ROI of a your mother?’ conversation by Gary Vaynerchuk. (Language predictably NSFW.)

For me, the ROI of Snapchat as a journalism tool is immense. I use Snapchat to conduct interviews that forego the chatter and skip right to the heart of the matter. (The ‘value bombs,’ if you will.)

Snapchat done right allows the viewer to absorb more value in less time. In fact, professional mastery of Snapchat, in my mind, is contingent on perfecting the art of using less time to say more: Saba Sedighi, Ben Phillips, Shaun Ayala, Joel Comm and Ryan Pena immediately come to mind.

I hope you’ll follow me on my journey as I continue to learn from those artists and more, while helping amplify the messages of organizations making Louisville healthier every day. I’ll be streaming regularly from my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TeamStrub, as well as on Periscope at http://chris.live. You can find me on Snapchat here.

Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states. You can get his book, ‘50 States, 100 Days: The Book,’ here.