June 28, 2016 / by Jeff Barrett

For the second half of 2016, I’m interviewing the world’s best content creators, futurists and change agents to see how content got where it is today and see where it’s going tomorrow.  

Platforms change, new people of influence emerge but Joel Comm has been successfully navigating the Internet since 1995. Better yet, he’s more energetic and enthusiastic than ever about the future of content.

He literally wrote the book on Twitter, created a #1 best-selling iPhone app, is a New York Times Bestselling author of 12 books, is leading the live video movement and, according to sources, he also finds time to sleep.

In 2016, live video seems like a no-brainer. It’s easier to connect to audiences if they are constantly seeing your face. But technology had to catch up with human nature.

“We needed to have mobile adoption, the devices in people’s hands and tens of millions of users,” said Joel Comm. “Meerkat was a disruptive phenomenon. But now we’ve got Twitter and Facebook with their own live video delivery systems.”film-8-mm

“When I was a boy my father had a Super 8 movie camera and a projector. As a young boy, I thought, now I can make films. I took the film to be developed and returned with a 3-minute reel. That felt so empowering,” said Comm. “Since then we have had so many ways of making video from camcorders to smaller camcorders to our phone.”

Every innovation in social media goes through a similar growth cycle. There’s an initial buzz and wave of adoption, then the masses try it out and then top content creators emerge.

Live video is changing both the tone of social media and how we interact with it.

2016 might be the most transformative year in social media. We have shifted from letting people know what we just did to showing them what we are doing right now. But the innovation doesn’t stop there.

“Facebook is very clearly prioritizing live video. We cracked the code on how to livestream from our desktops and now it was announced you can stream from Windows 10 desktops,” said Comm.

Facebook’s investments in live video and Oculus could eventually meet. Imagine not only being able to show what you’re doing in the moment but allow people to experience it with you.

“Social is in the moment. It’s a never-ending stream of consciousness. Video allows us to bring people into our world and show them what’s interesting to us,” said Comm.CSE SEM_Ad3_728x90

Today, Danny Berk jumped out of a plane on Snapchat. But my mind would have been absolutely blown if I could have experienced that with him. That’s down the road but you can see the potential of where things are going.

Great content creators rise to the top on any platform. It’s why Comm has been able to grow an audience on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more.

“Video allows quality content producers to rise to the top. Regular users will get bored. It won’t take long to weed out quality content creators versus passive users,” said Comm.

Every innovation in social media goes through a similar growth cycle. There’s an initial buzz and wave of adoption, then the masses try it out and then top content creators emerge.

If you’re a fan of text though, don’t despair. “Live video is here to stay but I don’t think text goes away,” said Comm. “Words are still the best form of fast communication. Even if I use photos or videos there are usually words to accompany them.”

Live video isn’t new this year. It’s just that the technology and investment in it have changed.

“I have been playing around with live video since 2008. I was doing Ustream.tv in my office. Live was the natural progression,” said Comm. “The new found enthusiasm now is that it’s mobile. But now that I’m doing Facebook Live from my desktop I can produce a show.”office-work

That last part is important. Major content creators are producing their own shows now. They have the tools, the audience and the experience to get it done and the playing field has leveled.

Many, including Comm, played around on Blab to test growing a community. “But it’s not a place to grow a show,” said Comm. He thinks Facebook is that place and he has very rarely been wrong over the last ten years.

Finally, for those looking to create great content, there is a formula.

“It has to be something compelling. You have to do one or all of the following three things. First, educate people and give them knowledge. Second, inspire or motivate people. If you have a unique personality you can bring value to the world. Use it,” said Comm. “And finally, be entertaining. Sometimes that’s deliberate and sometimes that’s very experiential. We love to peer into other people’s lives and see how they feel about what they are doing while they are there.”

Comm added with a bit of a laugh, “Assuming those people and their activities are interesting.”

What I learned from 15 minutes with Joel Comm is that being a good content creator takes a specific mindset, a passion for understanding what is coming next and the ability to share your thoughts in a compelling way. It’s something I see in every influencer or content creator I meet. Everyone packages it differently but at the core, this ability comes naturally to some.

When you’re looking to work with influencers, look for that.

Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3

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About Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is 2015’s Best Business Blogger (Shorty Awards), one of the 50 most influential people on social media (Forbes), the #1 Ad Executive on Twitter (Business Insider) and dances like Drake. Find him on Twitter @BarrettAll.