Game streaming communities such as Twitch, are amazingly popular. Gamers watch other gamers play to learn how to become better at a particular game or because they like a particular player. Equally they receive top tips and can engage in conversations with their chosen role model player and other fellow followers. The social aspect is part of the glue that keeps people coming back. You will find people discussing more than just game play but regular life and topics you would discuss with friends.
In a few recent conversations with corporate platform providers, one has an aspiration to become the Twitch for learning.
I see some fundamental missing ingredients at the moment. The first and most obvious one is the stars of the show, namely people in business streaming their every day work or key work pieces. Even if some people would be open to it, corporate secrets could leak and hence someone in communication will block the feed. I personally think it would be highly entertaining and educational to watch great managers conduct team meetings, equally watching project managers in action over the course of a project and especially in the final phases. I definitely have a few people I have seen speak that I would love to see in their every day work. The concept can work, providing companies are open about everything, which would also level the playing field. Maybe this is the biggest fear for not doing it.
Having worked in television broadcasting, I know that as soon as camera’s come into the frame, behaviours change from either become role model style to the other extreme. So unless you had an undercover style streaming mechanism, which people have obviously agreed to, it may not give the same integrity feel like you have from game streaming. The games are so engrossing that the streamer will not always remember they are on camera. They will still aim to play their best game, but they don’t control the circumstance or the opponents. Maybe that would be the same over time if employees were being filmed. Series like Undercover boss give a feel for reality, I even think the soap story element could be taken out of those, but that is my personal opinion. I find the first half of the shows usually better than the cringeworthy second half, where money seems to be flowing to one or two individuals because the boss had some epiphany. As said that is just my own opinion.
Going back to a functionality level, most corporate learning systems, don’t allow for chat or social interaction. Imagine a bunch of people watching the project manager and at the same time commenting on how they experience their actions and what else they should be watching out for. It may even cause a better project outcome. Most managers and project managers fear not delivering, even when they aim to put their best foot forward. On Twitch, fans are allowed to set up their own community around a particular game, without needing permissions or interference of other people.
I have been advising people about playlists and letting user generate content for over 5 years now. Finally we are starting to see some traction on this, but the user generated content is still always an issue. The corporate sector is bizarre in that sense, they hire great people, but then they don’t trust them to share business like content in a work setting. Not everyone will be a great trainer, that I agree with. But in the age of live streaming on social media, a lot more people have a voice they want to share. The community will look after the rest. You will find that bad content will get rated down or will not gain any followers or subscribers. Great content and people will gain good ratings and viewers.
Yes, you can have some more random side effects happen, like in the case of Maersk who asked their oil rig staff to make short videos about life on an oil rig. The chef on one of the platforms became a regular video maker and showed his cooking in a confined area with limited ingredients, people around the company started following him. They also admitted that they had the same fear as other companies that inappropriate stuff would get shared and in reality because people want to keep their jobs, they didn’t have that issue. They also had a plan decided upon in case it did happen. You also have to consider what happens with content when a person moves away from the organisation but people learned a lot from them. So it does require some consideration, but why not allow for spontaneous learning from within?