Livestreaming is all the rage with kids these days.

Periscope, Meerkat, Blab--and, of course, no new technology would be complete without Facebook jumping into the fray.

While celebrities and the Internet Famous got access to the Facebook Mentions app a couple weeks ago, Facebook started rolling out Mentions today to verified profiles. I have one, so I went to the App Store, saw I could download it and wham! I was all ready to live-stream on Facebook.

So, now what?

I wasn't really prepared and I more or less got on there and said I didn't really have anything to say, made an Inception joke or two--"Faceception!" I cried out, as I turned the camera on my screen, which displayed Facebook.

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This could be a good tool, particularly for news organizations with strong followings on Facebook. A way to share initial breaking news where your audience is, and then potentially bringing them to your website later when you have a fuller report.

A lot needs fixing, first (update: some of these issues come and go - at the moment I write this, the video is playable and comments are threaded, but that seems to keep changing):

  • While I was recording, I could see people were watching, but I had no idea who they were, except a couple of people who commented. It had a number--which kept rising (I see how addictive that is!) - but I had no clue who those people were.
  • I can't seem to find a way to actually replay the video. It has a "play" button on it, but for now it doesn't seem to play. Most commenters on my profile have said the same, though the views keep going up. I don't know if those views are views of the post, or if they're views of the actual video. If the latter, how? And who?
  • The comments aren't threaded. Except one. This wouldn't be that big a deal except that we've all grown used to threaded comments on Facebook. So trying to follow conversations and to reply to folks is a mess. And one comment was threaded - though the responses there showed up both as responses to the comment and as separate, individual comments. Making it throughly confusing.
  • Comments kept disappearing and reappearing. I think. I hope they all reappeared. But I don't really know.
  • If you get a notification on your phone when you are livestreaming, it pauses your livestream, and your audience has no idea why.

I'll be honest: I haven't gotten into the whole Periscope-Meerkat-Blab revolution, because I really don't want to be holding my phone up all the time for everything. It's bad enough I live-tweet half my life.

But with so many people already on Facebook, having a native live-streaming option makes huge sense. There are times I actually want to say something, or share a quick look at what I'm doing, and I tend to use Instagram, with its 15 seconds. There are so many extra steps there, though, and it's not live.

For someone like me, who thrives on immediate feedback (good or bad), it's a great way to quickly express myself to others and hear what they think, in comments. Until the bugs and kinks are worked out, however, it's not going to be a serious threat to other platforms.

When those kinks are worked out, those other platforms had better watch out, because Facebook can turn off the access pretty easily.

Published on: Sep 10, 2015