Facebook is 13 years old, YouTube is 12, and Twitter is 11. As these popular social media sites reach their teenage years, it’s easy to see how their influence has completely changed the way we deliver and view content. Media is practically unrecognizable from 10, five, or even two years ago, and it’s changing more everyday with new apps, new  updates, new platforms, and new ways of customizing content. Gone are the days where everyone read the newspaper or tuned in to the 5 o’clock news.

With each new social media platform comes a new way to deliver content in real time. Periscope was all the rage, then it turned to Snapchat, then to Facebook Live. Instagram Live Stories are gaining popularity, as are live YouTube streams. At any given moment, consumers can watch what’s happening in any corner of the world, and their hunger for that access is only growing.

Take the recent hurricanes for example. Civilian Snapchat footage of the storms was being reposted by NBC News and other top news sites. The merging of video, social media, and live broadcasts (made possible by smartphones) has transformed and complicated the ways we consume — and create — media.

One of the newest additions to consumer’s video options is Facebook Watch. “Watch” is its own page within Facebook that offers hundreds of video series, ranging from the popular Humans of New York blog to behind-the-scenes content from the NFL to other original sketch and reality shows. Soon, this area of the platform will be available to all users for uploading their own videos.

This new offering isn’t just about adding to the already saturated content market. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes that “We believe it’s possible to rethink a lot of experiences through the lens of building community — including watching video. Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive . . . You’ll be able to chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community.”

According to Tubular Insights, 87 percent of millennials are never without their smartphone and 92 percent of them browse on other devices while watching TV programs. Audiences used to be content with joining TV stars on live tweeting threads during a show. Now, Facebook and other social media platforms are offering whole new ways of interacting with TV and media live, as it’s happening.

There’s no turning back from this new, interactive media. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Think about all the ways technology has expanded our horizons and allowed us to learn about the world in ways we never would before. Breaking news is breaking faster. Television shows are accessible to phones and tablets in even the most remote corners of the world. People can find ways to connect over a common interest without ever being in the same country. Just as it’s rapidly impacted media in the last 10 years, technology will continue to change the way content is delivered and consumed, for better or for worse.

Just give me bandwidth!



Robert Lamm is the president and CEO of LammTech. He blogs about technology for CBT.



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