When the popular streaming service Twitch announced late last year that they were creating an “IRL” (or “In Real Life”) category for their website, I was a bit skeptical. Up until that point, Twitch had been used predominantly by individuals who wished to stream themselves playing video games. This usually was accompanied by users sending messages into the channel’s chat feed, interacting with fellow watchers and the streamers themselves. Although the social aspect existed in this regard, I still questioned the decision of Twitch to stray so far from its roots: why would anyway want to watch someone eating dinner, or working out at the gym, or simply walking around town? Surely, I thought to myself, people have better things to occupy themselves with.
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Today Facebook started a limited test run of a new live video stream function that they are just calling “Live” for now. For select iPhone users, an extra icon is available in their Update Status box that will allow them to submit a brief description and select an audience before broadcasting live.
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