So there’s a new trend in social media. You may have heard of it, a lot of people are talking about it. Or it might be something that hasn’t crossed your radar yet. Either way, if you haven’t tried it out yet, you’re probably asking, What’s a Blab?
If you’ve heard people talking about it, like I’ve been hearing, it’s all been talk about how awesome this platform is. But, is it just a shiny new toy? Is it something you need to care about?
Well, I finally did my first blab this week. Actually, I did two. And I’m going to tell you, it was a really good experience! I totally get what everyone is talking about now.
So, here’s my take on blabbing, and why I think you should care.
What’s a Blab?
To be honest, I haven’t found an “official” definition of a Blab. So, here’s my thoughts of a definition.
Blab is a live-streaming platform that allows up to 4 participants to have a public conversation on video.
But to be more descriptive, it’s kind of like a Google Hangout where you have up to four people on camera in a “Hollywood squares” or “Brady Bunch” tiled layout. It looks like this (we only had two participants at the time):
On the left side of the screen is a Twitter feed (I’ll explain this more in a second) and on the right is a live chat roll for the blab.
As I said, there are four “seats” for up to four participants. The host has control of the blab and can make others a “co-host” or allow guests to join in on video. So, you can have four set participants for the conversation. Or you can have two or three participants, leaving the open seat(s) to others listening in to jump in live to the call (at the host’s permission).
This ability to let listeners into the live call is one of the things that sets this platform apart from any other (ie. Google Hangouts). You don’t need to invite them. You can ask if anyone wants to join or someone can ask or click on the “Join” button on the open seat to request to join. The host approves their request and now they’re on live with the other participants to join in the conversation.
Some things to know technically about a Blab:
You connect to Blab via your Twitter profile
You must have two participants for a blab to go live
All blabs are PUBLIC and LIVE
Anyone on Blab can jump in and view your blab while it’s live on air
You can record a blab as the host and receive both an audio and video file after recording for you to post or repurpose elsewhere
If you don’t record the blab, there is no recording or history of it
Blabs can record a session up to 6 hours long
You can host a blab at any time or schedule it in advance
There are also these little hands in the bottom right corner of each person’s screen. These are “feels”. Basically, if someone likes what the person is saying, they can click on the hands to give them props. It’s kinda like giving hearts on Periscope. These “feels” accumulate throughout the call, but don’t carry over for a permanent total. Getting feels while you’re talking is a great way to get audience feedback about what is resonating with them and what is of most interest. This can really help you drive your conversation in the right direction for your audience.
As I said, on the left side is a Twitter stream. You can promote the blab (whether you’re the host, in a video seat, or just listening in) by clicking on the “Tell a little bird” button. This sends out a tweet to all of your Twitter followers. You can use the preformatted tweet regarding this blab (how easy is that?!) or customize the tweet. But the nice thing is that using this feature includes the link to the blab session, making it easy for anyone to join! And you can monitor this stream throughout the session to see who’s tweeting about it.
In terms of sharing with others, you also have the ability to advertise that you’re on a blab when you log on to any session. A pop-up button will ask if you want to tell your Blab followers. You can choose yes or no.
On the right side is the chat roll. Here’s where you can chat with others listening in, add notes or comments, ask questions, and otherwise engage in the conversation. TIP: If you want to ask a question, type /q before your question and a box with the word “Question” will appear prior to your comment in order to allow it to stand out in the chat roll, making it easier for the host to see it.
So, this is by no means everything you need to know about Blab. Nor did I talk much about how to get started or use the platform. But, there are plenty of other articles out there that have this covered in spades. Some of the ones I like best are these ones: Social Media Examiner, Razor Social, and the FAQs from Blab themselves.
Why Should You Care About Blab?
Depending on your thoughts about what I wrote about above, you might still be wondering why you need to care about Blab.
Is it just a shiny new object? Is this really going to impact your business or your social media needs?
Honestly, I don’t think this is just a new toy that will pass in interest in the near future. I really think this platform will last.
First of all, everyone who uses it loves it. So that’s a darn good sign it’s gonna work! But beyond that, their team is dedicated to the user experience and are super helpful. They are crazy responsive and in my first blab, I ran into technical issues where I could hear the host but no one could hear me. By typing in @help in the chat roll, within ONE minute, a tech support person (like, a real live human being named Jason) joined the empty seat in our blab and talked us through to fix the problem. I’m sorry, but you are NOT going to find that kind of support on any other platform. Now, as they grow, I don’t know how practical that type of support will be to maintain, but I sure hope they do!
Another way this is going to impact you is that a lot of podcasters are going to switch over to this platform. Sure, you might be able to catch the replays if they’re uploaded to itunes or other sources you currently use to gather your podcasts, but this will be the primary method of choice for many recordings. Skype and Google Hangouts will become less common as this platform is easier to use and provides a better user experience for many.
Of course, there is the issue that all sessions are live and public. So, for right now, or until they change that (if they do), you can’t use this platform for private recordings (like pre-recording a podcast or webinar style episode) or for private team meetings/calls.
But, if you want to use this tool in your business (besides as a typical podcast), here are a number of ways that you can engage with your customers:
Provide regular (weekly or monthly) live Q&A sessions
Launch new products or services
Host your webinars (as long as they are interview style – ie. no slides)
Host expert round tables around targeted topics in your industry
Interview influencers in your industry
Interview customers for insights into their lives/businesses
Gather market research and feedback
Address customer service issues through transparency of live chats
The key to any of these tactics and blabs is to remember that it’s about live interaction with your audience. Whether you’re talking to experts or customers or new audience members, you want to be building a community, staying authentic, and engaging with the audience through open seats and the chat roll. It’s not a place to blast yourself or your products/services. It’s a place to talk, interact, and learn from each other.
Have you tried Blab? What do you think about it? How are you using it in your business? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!