No Hearts, Please!

A Periscope Study in Groups Working Together Freely.

Saturday was a big day in the sports and entertainment world, and therefore a big day for Twitter. In case you just returned from an expedition keeping you out of communication with the world, two big stories from the US were the Kentucky Derby, and the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, being billed as “the fight of the century.”

I’m not a particularly big fan of horse racing or violence (organized or otherwise), but I was curious about the big boxing match. Yes, it was way overhyped, like most every big boxing match in the past 40–50 years, but ultimately all of the hype got my attention enough to be curious if the underdog (Pacquiao) could silence the never-ending mouth of Floyd “Money” Mayweather and his massive entourage.

Periscope logo

Sitting at home with a wife studying for finals didn’t exactly warrant ponying up the near $100 for the pay-per-view experience, so I did what thousands (perhaps millions?) did and hopped on Periscope, the live video streaming service attached to Twitter, to see what I could see.

Not to my surprise, just opening the app revealed a myriad of users streaming their view of the fight. While I didn’t really find any that were live from the venue, most of what I found were users streaming a view of their tv.

Obviously, this was a huge jab (boxing pun ;-) and learning for any media company, or brand, paying millions in fees for rights to live events and broadcasts. But, that has been covered ad nauseam by many others, and while I think there is a lot more to be said on that subject… the experience I wanted to point out is a much more subtle one.

What I witnessed as I watched a few rounds, occasionally having to jump from thread to thread as various feeds would drop (or get shut down), was an interesting study in human behavior.

Normally, on social media, the goal of many people and brands are to get as many likes (aka engagement) as possible. However, what I witnessed on Periscope was quite the opposite — which is what made it interesting.

Hearts flutter when you tap on Periscope broadcasts

On Periscope, the two main forms of engagement are commenting in the live chat, or simply tapping to “heart” the content. A lot of Periscope users are already blatantly asking for hearts, even in the titles of their streams, in order to boost their profiles and popularity on the platform.

As you are tuned in, it’s easy to see the hearts beginning to flutter whether it is a single user pressing & holding to generate many hearts, or many users tapping at the same time.

But, to rip a headline from the click bait category, “What happened next will blow your mind!”

Periscopers, and viewers alike, began telling others NOT to send hearts, out of fear that too many hearts would draw attention to a good feed of the fight and get the broadcaster shut down!

Yes, you heard me right, folks… groups of people willingly set aside their social media egos for a moment to reach a common goal! Granted, the “greater good” was technically pirating rights-held material, but I was still blown away that these folks came to this on their own terms.

WTG, social media!

Next stop, ending world hunger? Beating cancer? Who knows what social can conquer…

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