With the ever changing landscape of social outlets available for self expression, it’s difficult to choose the exact right one to use to show off our gifts. The recent addition — and sometimes subtraction — of platforms such as Blab, Meerkat and Periscope can make a platform decision tricky for creators looking to share their talents. Where, oh where, are we going to invest our time in search of likes, subscriptions and other virtual validation?
Enter YouNow, the latest in a lineup of apps likely to confuse parents and connect teens in their favorite type of landscape: a live video streaming and chat application rife with privacy issues.
Ok, that’s not totally fair to say about YouNow.
YouNow is simply a tool for live broadcast and chat, and their goal appears to be attracting creatives. The app allows users broadcast live, participating in conversations that draw users in based on targeted hashtags. Some of the larger, more successful broadcasters use generic hashtags like #guys or #girls, but there might be more to the app than simply a forum to turn the camera on oneself at a virtual frat party.
So why the complaints? YouNow, while successful, has been widely criticized for it’s open environment. While they encourage creatives to use YouNow to share music and art, the nature of the app has turned it into something a bit darker for some. The criticism is that the lack of restrictions allows naive children the ability to easily broadcast to an identity-free, lurker-friendly crowd while the pressure for maintaining and growing traffic in an ultra competitive forum urges these kids to broadcast increasingly risqué content. Even with the best intentions, we all know how unsavory online conversationalists, trolls and general creeps can be.
Of course, this same risk could apply to just about any social channel. Blab broadcasts about video production invariably dissolved into angry political rants. Facebook is a haven for the terminally unhappy.
But we’re not here to rip YouNow apart. The app has incredible traffic, powerful hashtagging options for gathering an audience and a business model that allows users to generate revenue. Anything that involves traffic and revenue has a place in the modern vlogger’s workflow. The true beauty of a platform like YouNow is that the tool itself allows for truly directed content, as well as the ability to speak — mostly — to a crowd of people interested in the subject you’ve decided to push out.
The simplicity of YouNow makes it attractive for those who want to share tutorials, lessons, art, music and other creative gifts, and it does it all without ads.
So how do you make money, you say? Tips. Yep, just like the barista at Starbucks, broadcasters rely on tips. Also, just like the barista at Starbucks, you’re not allowed to ask for them.
Interestingly, the company opted away from an ad-based model to keep the site creator-centric and really in the hands of the users. This kind of thing likely goes a long way to keeping the viewers happy, and those of us who have something to offer can surely benefit from this as well.
The tips are interesting, in that viewers earn digital “coins” by completing certain tasks, such as logging into YouNow or watching videos. These coins can be used to buy “bars,” which, in turn, are used to tip YouNow creators. To keep the site afloat, YouNow takes a cut of about 30 percent before sharing real money with their creators.
Can you find a place on YouNow? Only you can determine that, but if you want a simple way to livestream and chat, YouNow fits the bill.