A few days ago Periscope introduced the Super hearts concept, feature and in many cases ground for controversy. For those unfamiliar with it, Super Hearts translate into virtual coins which are bought with real money and eventually, (subject to meeting the requirements on application for the Super Broadcaster Program) may be redeemed by the creator.
As we transition from the offline world onto the online world, just as we mimic the overall experience of internet to bring us all together as one, to cut out the middle man, to make the education available to all, we are also trying to mimic the monetary aspects of these creative endeavours. In the past, those creating and in most cases entertaining were able to monetize their efforts through patrons, fanbase, as parts of cultural projects,….. today as the internet shapes the way we live, these same elements have migrated to the internet sphere.
The question is can, and more importantly how are those elements to be transferred in the most righteous way and prevent abuse and offensive content on the platform.
There are numerous platforms that facilitate various forms of tipping creators and it appears that now might be the best time for creative, marketing savvy individuals/creators to become financially self-sufficient in their quest to portray/implement what Kevin Kelly calls a 1000 true fans.
It appears that live streaming has already established itself in China in the form strongly linked with virtual gifting to broadcasters, and now Periscope has followed in those steps and is trying to implement it for more Western-oriented viewers, who, one might assume, in general terms, tend to frown upon monetization compared to their Eastern counterparts.
The format of the Super Hearts in Periscope’s case comprises of the choice of three types of Super Hearts. They are bought with real money through virtual “coins” that later transfer into Super Hearts which is further transferred into Starts on the broadcaster’s profile.
Grounds for various controversies:
- The broadcaster is not allowed to withdraw the amount of money until s/he is given 185,000 stars — $175 which further forms a basis to qualify for the Periscope’s Super Broadcaster program. Everyone has to go through this application process and this is tied into the VIP program whereas priority in processing the requests is given to Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively. This is something that is not automated (or at least that is what I assume) and hence is prone to favouritism. In other words, those who are not approved lose all the coins (actual money stays locked within the system). This may be to prevent abuse of the system and offensive content being created and rewarded.
- The system will be taking about 30% of the total amount that the broadcaster accumulates and hence the broadcaster should be able to withdraw around 70% (again depending on Periscope approving that broadcaster). This has been raised by many broadcasters and compared to Patreon’s 3% or paypal, Busker, Twitch… and so on; however what was repeatedly omitted to be mentioned, most of those other platforms actually require everyone to be responsible for promoting their own content, whereas Periscope is still able to bring proportionally higher numbers of new people to the live streams.
My Eagle’s perspective*:
1. Twitter has been through some rough times financially in the past year or so, and even though released 2017 results has shown increased users, the nature of the platform is such that it can’t compete with the standardized advertising monetization models (used by Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat,….etc), and has to reinvent itself. This move is clearly a look towards the East, however, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. We still have to see how it will be implemented.
2. The bright side is that the company has certainly reinforced itself at least for the moment (stock prices went up as Super Hearts was being introduced as well) and because it is not the world’s most dominant platform in terms of sheer numbers, it will naturally, or should naturally be more responsive and accommodating to smaller scale communities.
3. Shortly after Periscope announced Super Hearts, allegedly 2 employees from YouTube — the authenticity of the stream may not have been confirmed at the time of writing this — started trying to attract active Periscope streamers, by inviting everyone who has streamed on Periscope to send them a message, so that they could whitelist people with less than 100 YouTube subscribers, so that they could go live from YouTube. The account on Periscope/Twitter from which they streamed had very few followers and as they started explaining and presenting a carrot to their viewers, their viewership went up to around 1,000 people.
My question is if someone with almost no following/community went live on YouTube, how many viewers would that person have? I suspect 1 or 5 or 100 if they are really lucky. What is this telling us about the algorithm?
4. Most of the dominant companies on the market, for example Facebook is relying on advertising, Youtube on ad revenue, Instagram on charging for promoted content among other monetizing systems. All three are stimulating hyper creation of content. Users are accumulating followers so that the numbers could be translated into the eyes that buy from the brands that pay the creators. In many cases those numbers could be gamed, bought, fake (just type into google “buy instagram followers”). To me, this model is highly convoluted, does not serve inventiveness but instead promotes sensationalism and click baits and doesn’t lead anywhere.
5. Periscope, on the other hand, is indirectly asking the viewers to support the platform and while the model is clearly lacking transparency, when compared with point 4, in my opinion, still could become doable if implemented correctly and monitored closely with a mature eye and an open mind.
(*as in Eagle = Totem animal)
Personally, I choose to believe in an idealistic future for humankind, in which open source is the standard, UBI is the safety net but also it represents the upgrade for civilization as to the distribution of wealth, and tech-based accumulated resources in a more respectful way towards the long tail. We are living in the world which relied on generations upon generations of innovators and makers that created it, and now as we face massive unemployment crises, we are wondering what to do. Are computers taking away all the jobs, or are we asynchronously distributing that power to those with the largest computing power and with a reach to the greatest numbers of people?
If you like or dislike this article, please feel free to comment, recommend, fragment or dissect the text as you see fit and you can connect with me directly via www.twitter.com/ideasrex
Thank you for reading or enjoying the photos — each equals 1000 words 🙂
Article originally published on Medium: https://medium.com/@ideasrex/super-hearts-of-periscope-and-where-they-are-in-relation-to-others-as-we-golive-from-offline-to-981f50ecfdf6