Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

What I’ve Learned From Using the Blab Live streaming Service

Over the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with a new live streaming service by the name of Blab – a tool that I think has the potential to be as useful (if not more useful) than Periscope.

In this episode I share my experiences of Blab so far and talk about how it differs from other Live Streaming tools.

Update: in the next 24 hours I’m doing a Blab here. Subscribe to check it out live.

Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment).

In this podcast episode I share:

  • How Live Streaming Can Help you to Build Your Blogging Brand
  • How Blab is useful for helping you to come up with ideas to blog about
  • How Blab helps you to create content that you can repurpose into blog posts, YouTube content and Podcasts
  • How Blab Differs to Periscope

Mentioned In this Episode

Check out my Blab page here (where you can follow me and be notified of future Blabs that I run).

As promised in this episode here is an embedded version of the recent Blab broadcast that I did:

You can also see this episode as a replay over on Blab here (where you can see the rest of the interface).

Here’s the LinkedIn post that I used as a basis for this Blab.

I also mentioned ManyCam in this episode (a tool to enable you to do some fun and useful things with your webcam).

PS: Shoutout to Joel Comm who has been a great support on Blab. Check him out here – he’s doing great stuff.

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and this is episode 44. Today on the podcast, I want to talk about a new tool for bloggers and for other content creators called Blab. You may have heard about it; there’s been a lot of buzz. It’s a live-streaming tool. It’s like the love child of Google Hangouts and Periscope. You can find today’s show notes at

I’m recording this podcast a couple of weeks before you actually hear it because I’m trying to get a little bit ahead. We’re going to the Inbound Conference in Boston on Monday, just a few days away from now, and so I’m recording a few ahead of time, and I am really excited today because I’ve pretty much spent quite a bit of my time today on this new tool called Blab. It has been around for a few weeks now, but as usual, it takes me a little while to get on it.

I usually pay attention to it too when I start saying multiple other people who I respect and who I listened to using a new tool. It’s usually not the first person who’s on that I hear it from that piques my interest, but it’s multiple people. Within about 1½ days, I saw four people that I really respect jumping onto Blab and trying out this tool.

I think the first person was actually Cliff from the podcast man who jumped onto it one night and he said, “I’m going for a walk, do you want to come with me,” on his Facebook page and I clicked this link. Suddenly, I was watching him have this conversation while he was on his walk. Now it’s kind of like Periscope for those of you who know that except that had this difference.

Not only was Cliff on the screen, but so are three other people and now having a conversation together. Three of them were sitting at their desktop computers, and they were live streaming from there and Cliff was out and about on his mobile phone, and there was these chats stream going on alongside it at the same time, almost like a backchannel if you want of people watching and asking questions, but also talking to each other, and immediately struck me that this was something that solved the problem that I’d had with Periscope.

For me, Periscope is a great tool. I really enjoy using it. It’s me standing in front of a camera and talking. I’ve used it a number of times to present different ideas and to have conversations with people. For me, it felt a little bit like it was too much centered upon me, which sounds strange because this podcast is all about me. I’m the only one having a conversation here at all, but there was something missing from Periscope for me and that was the conversation.

While people could comment and leave, tap my face and leave little love hearts, and there was interaction, I felt like it could have been more if other people were able to have a conversation as well. When I saw Blab, I suddenly felt like, “Yes, this is probably a more useful tool for me.” There’s been a lot of tools released over the last six or so months that have been useful for live streaming, we saw Meerkat come out, we’ve seen Periscope. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen Facebook release its Facebook Live feature through its mentions app, which is available to influencers.

Now we’ve got Blab as well. Of course, if you go further back from that there are tools like Google Hangouts, and even tools like Ustream and live stream which came out years and years ago and I actually used to use live stream quite a bit and even back then, when I used to use live stream, I really enjoyed the live interaction that you could have with people through live video.

There’s something about getting in front of a camera, talking, presenting, and having a conversation that personalizes your brand in a way that’s very difficult to do in other mediums, podcasting is great for that as well because people are actually hearing you in their ears, they hear your accent, they hear your expressions, they hear you be funny, and there’s something also really special about videos. So talking head videos can be really useful that you record. People they see you, they see your body language.

Live streaming has that element as well, but the fact that it’s live and interactive, and has the potential to be conversational is really special too. When I used to do Ustream chats, I used to jump on their Friday afternoons, and I think I called them Have a Beer with Darren type chats and I would sit there drinking beer, and people would ask me questions, usually blogging-related questions, and what I found is the people who would respond to me in those chats.

I’d see them a lot more in the week that followed on the blog, leaving comments and it was something that escalated the relationship that took the relationship to the next level and deepened the relationship very quickly that I loved in those chats. I’m seeing the same thing happening both on Periscope, but also on Blab.

I think there are lots of benefits and there are lots of different ways that Blab and Periscope as well perhaps could be used to help you as a blogger. What I found useful, apart from the fact that it personalizes the brand and perhaps breaks down some misconceptions that people might have about you, is they actually get to hear what you’re like and see what you’re like, is that it gives you all kinds of ideas for content.

I did a Blab this morning. I think we had about 1300, 1400 people come on that Blab to watch and that Blab went for about 1½ hours, so it was quite a long one. I presented for the first 45 minutes. I talked, it was pretty much the length of a keynote presentation and I presented 20 tips for bloggers. I’ll link to where you can watch the replay of that Blab in the show notes of this particular podcast, so you can actually go back and look at it. 

For the second half, I’ll open it up for question and answer. For the first half, it was just me on the screen, largely. I did have Lainey, who’s one of my team on there for a while as well. She was moderating some of the questions that were coming in, but it was largely just me talking. All times in the second half, there was at least one other person in a seat, or in the video, and at times, we had four people at once having a conversation.

I got so many ideas from that chat. We captured all of the questions that were being asked, and certainly, we will turn some of those questions into future blog posts and future podcast episodes as well. Getting that interaction and feedback with people is great. The other great thing about Blab is that it creates content that you can repurpose in different ways. About 10 minutes after a Blab finishes you get an email from Blab, and it has a link to the audio file of your Blab, and it has a link to the video of your blood, and also gives you an embed code.

What you could do is jump on the Blab. Talk for 20 or 30 minutes. Even if no one shows up, you’ve got content that you can then use in other places. The audio file, it would be so simple for me to take that audio file and to create a podcast out of it. In fact, I may do that. The particular file that I got today, there were a few little noises in the background, it wasn’t particularly clear and so I probably wouldn’t be overly comfortable in using it. Although I could very easily take an excerpt from today’s Blab and insert it into a podcast or use part of it.

You could also do the same thing with a video and put that video straight up onto YouTube. I could do that right now and have that video up on YouTube within minutes. I’ve already taken the embed code and put it into a ProBlogger post on the blog. I’ll give you a link to that in the show notes, so you can see that in action. You can see here that the Blab that you do could actually be used in multiple places. It’s not just those who show up to the live Blab.

The other thing about the replays—it’s pretty much 10 minutes after you finish your Blab—there’s a functionality for you to replay it if you press record. As you run your Blab, you can either press record or choose to be off the record but if you press record, you get it as a replay, and that drives the embed, but it also something that people can find once they are on your profile on Blab. If you go to, you’ll see there as I record this for replays available for you to watch, so you can watch the one that we did today, as well as some previous ones that I’ve done. Hopefully, by the time this podcast goes live, there’ll be a few more for you to watch there as well.

You’ve got this opportunity for that content to live on, and that’s one of the key differences between Periscope and Blab. Periscope allows you to keep the recording there for 24 hours and unless you use some third party app to record it in some other way, or you then take it and download it to your phone and then upload it to YouTube or some other server, you have to do a bit more work to keep that recording. 

The other thing I love about Blab is that it gives you an opportunity to repurpose posts that you’ve already written. The Blab that I did this morning was actually something that I’d written before and I repurposed it for Blab. I actually had written an article on LinkedIn of all places, which had 20 tips for bloggers and it was a very short sharp list, just 20 quick tips for bloggers. I use that post on LinkedIn as the basis for my blog today. At the time of the Blab, I would direct people back to that particular post on LinkedIn. Also during the Blab, I gave people further reading, so of the 20 points that I made—probably about 7 of them—I added links into the comment section for people to go and check out and I know it drove traffic to those particular posts.

I also mentioned a couple of podcast episodes during that Blab and again, left links for people in the comments for people to go back and go back to those old archive posts. There’s potential there to repurpose old content to create new content and to drive traffic back to your blog.

There are a few different ways that people are using Blab at the moment. The best way to learn about is to watch them work. You need to sign up with a Twitter account to get an account at the moment, but you can watch them in lurking mode as well. You’ll see pretty quickly that there are all kinds of things happening. A lot of the chats that are on Blab at the moment are about Blab, which is a little bit sad, but everyone’s excited about the tool. Increasingly, even over the last few days, we’ve started to see chats on all kinds of topics. I was involved in one today on health.

I’ve seen Blabs on music, on Fantasy football. I’ve seen them on all kinds of things and people interviewing celebrities as well and people that you might have seen on television. There are unstructured chats, so people just jump on, start a blab, and then the conversation evolves as people get to know each other, but then there are others who are being a bit more intentional, so I’ve seen a number of people interview people on Blab. They actually get on Blab just to do an interview and then they open it up to other people to join the conversation.

I’ve also seen people doing what I did this morning and it’s pretty much like a keynote presentation or a podcast with Q&A at the end. Personally, that’s probably what I’m going to do more of because that’s the kind of person I am. I love to teach, I love to communicate, I love to walk people through something in a process. Other people are much better at that more conversational-style Blab. There’s a whole heap of things going on there, and there’s increasingly people doing all kinds of creative things.

I’ve seen blabbers get on there, and then use one of the third streams to play a video game. You can watch the two of them, and then you can watch the video game. There are all kinds of stuff going on there. Some people are now using external tools like there’s a tool called ManyCam which enables you to show your screen, which you can’t do natively within Blab at the moment and it also enables you to set up a second camera, so you can have two views of yourself and I’m sure there’ll be more and more creative things being used as well there. 

Now, of course, like all tools, the success of Blab is going to be to the extent that he can attract new users to it. I have to say it is quite small at the moment. On my blab today we had 170 or so people live at the same time. Over the hour and a half, we had about 1300 people show up. That doesn’t sound like a massive amount of people. I’ve certainly had webinars with that many people show up at once; we’ve had up to 1000 people on a webinar. That’s small in terms of listeners of this podcast or readers of my blog, but it’s also pretty significant. I’ve accepted speaking engagements to fly around the world and speak to 300 people.

Today, I had 300 people listening to part of that blab 170 at once. I’ve spoken to rooms smaller than that, and that actually is quite significant, if you begin to think about it in terms of that. The fact that those blabs, those chats are still up and still getting people to visit them and listen to them, means that those numbers will rise as well. This is very early days and it reminds me a little bit of some of the early days of some of the other social networks. The early days of Twitter were quite small but over time it grew. As it became more mainstream opportunities grew for us as bloggers as well.

One of the questions I’m constantly asked about Blab is how is it different from Periscope and Periscope seems to be the live-streaming tool that most of the people that I interact with are on at the moment. There are certainly some similarities, but there are some real differences as well. One of the first differences that I noticed was the recordings. Periscope’s recordings disappear after 24 hours on Blab they can live on forever, you can delete them later, or you can be completely off the record.

Obviously, the biggest difference between Periscope and Blab is the ability to have four people on the screen at once. I’ve seen some really creative uses of Periscope. I know Chris Ducker has done some really interesting interviews on Periscope where he gets someone on Skype on his computer and then he holds his phone up and you see the person on Skype on the computer through his front camera, and then he double taps the screen and then you see him. And in some ways, it’s pretty much Blab on Periscope, but Blab does that for you. The ability to have two, three, or four people at once is something that you really have to hack to be able to do that on Periscope.

I love the fact that on Blab, you can also do Q&A in two ways: (1) you can see the comments coming in for people who don’t want to show themselves on video, but (2) you also get these real-life interactions with people as well. You get to see their face and understand who they are, see where they are in their room, how they’re dressed, and how they hold themselves, and that certainly deepens the engagement that you can have there in a Q&A session, but also the opportunity to hear someone else’s opinion. I had people on some of my Blabs yesterday, who knew a whole heap about different topics and they added a lot of value into the conversations that we were having.

Another key difference of Blab that you can’t do on Periscope is actually drive it from your computer. Periscope is not all mobile-based and while you can watch a Periscope on a computer, you can’t be as interactive with it as you can on Blab. I love that on Blab, I can stand at my computer at my stand up desk, which I’ve just gotten very happy about. I can drive that whole thing from my computer, or I can drive it from my phone.

At the moment it’s just on iOS. It’s not on Android, although that’s coming soon. You can actually switch between and I saw someone do this earlier. They started their Blab on their computer, and then they had to go out. They said, “I’m just going to switch over to my phone,” and then suddenly they were on their phone. I’ve never seen that kind of thing on a Periscope, so that’s pretty cool as well. You get the video and the audio afterward, which opens up opportunities.

You can embed it, you can sync Blab with other tools like the tool I was talking about before, like a mini cam. I’ve seen other people adding captions into their Blab, so you can actually see who they are underneath and doing all funny things with their blabs like making their cameras go upside downs and all that stuff. The comments on Blab are perhaps more usable than on Periscope. One of the things I’ve noticed about Periscope is that the comments can whizzed by so quickly that you lose them and it’s difficult to go back and find old comments at least I found it difficult whereas on Blab the last 200 comments that are left you can scroll up and down as many times as you like.

If someone leaves a comment, you can hit reply to that comment and it automatically puts their name in it, and they get highlighted for that particular person that someone’s replied to them. You can also like or favorite comments as well and give people a little bit more feedback in that particular way. There are also shortcuts to ask questions, so if you do a /q and then ask your question, it will come up in the comments feed as a question which is really helpful for you as a host to be able to identify questions that are coming in.

It feels to me different from Periscope, and I think this applies for both. Periscope, as I said before, it’s more about the person who’s on. This feels like it’s engineered right from the ground-up to be a conversational live streaming. It’s not just about the person. In fact, I was just on a Blab with Joel Comm a few minutes ago. There were four of us on the screen and Joel said, “You guys just chat for a while,” and he walked off-screen and the three of us just continued to chat. And so it wasn’t dependent upon him at all. It was actually dependent upon the conversation.

I really love that and I think there are all opportunities there to leverage that. It’s very early days with Blab and there’s a lot more for it to develop. We’re going to see more features added, and even by the time this podcast comes out, I suspect there’ll be new things added to it. I’ve seen a number of Blab chats with people from Blab itself talking about some of the features that they’re thinking about adding. I suspect you’ll see quite a bit of development. It is in beta, so I’ve seen a few glitches at times on Blab, but largely it’s pretty easy to use. It’s all very intuitive.

The other thing I will say is it’s very integrated with Twitter at the moment. If you want to share your Blab, there’s a button in it saying tell a little bird and you just click that and it will automatically pop up with a tweet for you to tweet to your Twitter account. Sharing your blabs is very easy, but it’s not integrated with other social networks at this point. That may be something that they develop further and you have to manually go and update it to your Facebook page if you would like to do that.

The other thing I’ll say about Blab is that you get the ability to either start a blab impromptu. Right now, I could be having a blab up and running in 30 seconds, you just put in a title, you choose some tags, and then you basically start the blab, or you can schedule one. The one I did this morning, I actually did that four days ago. That enables you to build some buzz about it. It enabled me to share it on Twitter a few times and share it on my Facebook page. I actually emailed our email list to say that it was happening about 12 hours before it happened.

When I actually went live, we had 130 or so people there waiting for it to happen. Almost like a webinar in many ways. To schedule, it is quite useful as well. If you go to, you’ll see the live blabs at the top, and then if you scroll down the page, you’ll see “Schedule One.” I would encourage you to go out and check it out. If you want to follow me on Blab, I’m at If you just follow me, if you’ve got notifications set for to be alerted, you’ll notice when I go online, you’ll get an email or you’ll get a notification on your phone to say that I’m online and I would love to connect with you.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be doing a few blabs, although, as I said before, I’m going to Inbound on Monday, so I probably won’t do a whole heap while I’m away. After that, I’ll be certainly doing some fairly regular blabbing to see how it goes and to learn more about it. I’m no expert with it yet. There’s a lot of people already on Blab calling themselves Blab experts and I guess that’s bound to happen. I don’t think anyone really knows exactly how this is going to unfold, but it’s certainly a really useful tool. As bloggers, I think it’s one to watch and it has a lot of potential, but it really will depend upon getting the critical mass of people there. If you’ve already got an audience, you can drive your own audience to it as I did overnight. That can be a really great way for you to deepen your engagement with your audience.

I would love to hear what you think about Blab. I would really encourage you to go away and experiment with it for yourself, but then come over to our show notes at where you can give us a comment. I’ll also link to my own blabs that I’ve done so you can see it embedded but you can also check out the replays there. I would encourage you if you’re on Blab, go to our show notes and leave a link to your profile on Blab because I really want to check out how other bloggers are using it.

I’ll certainly be checking out some of your blabs but I would encourage you to check out each others’ as well. Go to Tell us what you think about Blab, how you might use it, but also share a link to your profile and connect with one another there. I look forward to chatting with you in episode 45 of the ProBlogger podcast in the next couple of days. 

If you’ve got a moment and you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast, I really would appreciate any reviews that you can give us over on iTunes or Stitcher or just even dropping me an email via the contact form on our show notes. I really do appreciate any feedback that we get. We’ll chat with you in the next episode of the ProBlogger podcast.

Have You Used Blab?

I’d love to hear what you think of today’s episode – particularly for those of you who have tried Blab for yourself. Feel free to link to your Blab profiles below and to any interesting Blabs that you’ve recorded as I’d love to hear more about how bloggers are using it to help grow their blogs.


Enjoy this podcast? Subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS for free to get free blogging tutorials and podcasts in your inbox each week.