Instagram Introduces “Live Rooms”

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Previously, you could go live with only one other person in a stream, but Instagram is now letting you “double-up” on your live broadcast. “We hope that doubling up on Live will open up more creative opportunities — start a talk show, host a jam session or co-create with other artists, host more engaging Q&As or tutorials with your following, or just hang out with more of your friends.”

“Live Rooms also gives creators even more ways to build a business and earn money. We recently announced that Live viewers could purchase badges for their favorite creators to show their love. With Live Rooms, viewers can buy badges for the hosts and use other interactive features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers. We’re also exploring more interactive tools such as offering moderator controls and audio features that will be available in the coming months.”

Going live with more people means the rooms could attract larger audiences. The followers of everyone participating will see the live room and, depending on their notifications, be pinged about it. (Anyone blocked by the active participants won’t be able to join the live, though.)

The easy comparison to make here is to Clubhouse, the buzzy social audio app that lets people go live in rooms. More than 10 people can speak at once, and rooms can reach up to 8,000 people before they’re full. Facebook is reportedly building a direct competitor, but Instagram Live could capture some people who might be interested in Clubhouse but can’t access it currently — it’s invite-only and only available through iOS devices.

But unlike Clubhouse, Instagram Live requires people to be on-camera, which comes with the added pressure of looking good and being in a photogenic environment. The Clubhouse is thriving because it only requires a phone and lowers the audio expectation. (People regularly chat when they’re in the car, out on a walk, or just in a loud place.) Still, Live Rooms will likely do well on the platform as people fall back on their already-established followers and bank on the high energy more people in a room can create.

Written by: Samantha Watts-Hopkins

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