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Reflections on Video Streaming

Picture 6-7Yesterday I ran my second impromptu video streaming chat session with readers of this blog.

Both times that I’ve done it I’ve come away from the experience feeling that is a very worthwhile thing to do – something that has added to both my own blogging but also hopefully to those readers who participated (yesterday we had up to 33 participants at a time with people coming and going over the two hours – probably around 100 to 150 people).

The Benefits of Video Streaming Chats:

Some of the reasons why it is a medium to experiment with include:

  • Adds a Personal Element - one of the things I’ve noticed about doing regular video posts here at ProBlogger is that it’s added a more personal touch to the blog. Video streaming chats takes things a step further as you’re actually interacting with readers love. They see your face, hear your voice, ask you questions, see you make mistakes, hear you thinking out loud….. Much more personal. I had a few readers email afterward thanking me for answering their questions – I guess personal attention makes an impression.
  • Immediacy of Interactions – having an almost instantaneous interaction with readers was a real treat. Most of what we did yesterday was question and answers and instead of reading a reader question and having a day to ponder it, then to see their response what we had was much more of a conversation. While I’m sure my answers were not as comprehensive as a considered post – we covered a lot of ground very quickly. Another advantage was that there was much more opportunity for clarification – if I didn’t understand a question I could ask for more information – and if I readers needed more information they asked. Getting immediate feedback from readers was great too – its nice to know if you’ve hit the mark or not.
  • Sharpen Up Your Mind – there’s nothing like having 30 people firing questions at you to get your mind ticking over. I’m a fairly slow paced person usually – but to get this level of interaction got my mind racing and switched into a new gear. While I came away from it a little tired – it was also quite stimulating.
  • New Post Ideas – one of those participating in the chat asked me towards the end whether I’d come away from it with any new post ideas. At the time I didn’t have too many – but upon reflection there were a lot of great questions asked during the time which would make great post topics. Next time I’ll be recording the chat and will make note of those questions that could do with dedicated posts.
  • Drive Traffic - I’m not sure how much traffic it actually drove – but on numerous occasions during the chat I referred readers to things that I’d written previously. At the very least it was a good way to highlight posts in the archives.

What I’d Do Differently Next Time

There are a number of things I’d do differently next time:

  • Give Advance Warning to Readers – both times I’ve done it I’ve held these chats fairly spontaneously. This of course means numbers of those participating is smaller and some miss out.
  • Set a Regular Time - perhaps having a regular time each week/month would help some readers also to plan to be at the chats.
  • Record Sessions – Ustream allows sessions to be recorded. This would enable readers not able to participate to watch later on (although they’d not get to see the text/chat area).
  • Pick a Topic – yesterday we covered everything from how to promote a blog, to SEO, to branding, to what my exercise routine is like. While this was fun it might be good in future to nominate a topic ahead of time that we stick to.
  • Get some Moderation Help – at times today the questions came too fast for me to keep up. Perhaps having a second person to collect questions and feed them to me might have helped a little in this.

This is all very new to me – so if you have any other tips I’d really appreciate it.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Neil says:

    Great video chat Darren! It was fun hearing what you had to say about blogging.

    I did record the session using Camtasia Studio 3. This was my first time using the software and I have no idea how to convert the .camrec file type. If anyone knows how let me know and ill e-mail the recording for you!

  2. Robert Tatum says:

    One suggestion would be do capture a chat transcript so that users can refer back to it.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I agree with Robert… transcripts sound like a great idea. That way even the spontaneous chats can be more readily available to users later.

    Video seems like a great tool for bringing in traffic, one I haven’t quite convinced myself to take the plunge into. Something about the feeling odd just talking to a camera, combined with getting the quiet time without kids interrupting.

  4. I was apart of this video chat session and I thought it was amazing. I came out with so many good ideas and answer to my question it even prompted me to write a post today about Encouraging Comments on your Blog.

    I thought it was really personal and I also thought that Darren answered all of the questions really well. I wouldn’t have been able to do it :P

  5. I like Roberts suggestion ;)

    I would also like to add that I really enjoy watching the weekly video posts, keep posting them, they’re very good and sometimes it’s just better to listen and watch than to just read!

  6. I love Video’s and really am trying to get into doing a weekly video for my website. I think its vital to building a following, it helps your readers understand who you are and what you can do!

    Loving the Reddit Top!

  7. Nick says:

    Shame I missed both of them, great video post the other day btw and hope you settle into your new house over the next week.
    Are you planning to put up some more guest posts while you move or something else, or will you be posting as usual?

  8. I didn’t know that you made these chat sessions with streaming… It is something really cool and it is not common for average bloggers. Definitively, I want to be in the following session if I can. Do I need some specific software in my PC?

  9. Keith Dsouza says:

    Well it was a great session and I definitely think that once you make the session known earlier to the users you would get a lot more questions.

    Moderating the session is a great idea too. If you are going to cover specific topics then someone could help you out with segregating the questions and making a list of those non related to the topic being discussed so that you can cover them in brief later.

    If you need any hands I would definitely volunteer.

  10. Live Crunch says:

    I am experimenting different streaming hosting websites like
    justin.tv
    ustream.tv
    stickam.com

    Good luck ProBlogger.

  11. Live Crunch says:

    PS: I am experimenting because I want to create my own live streaming blog in Ruby Language mixed with php :)

  12. Some advanced notice would be greatly appreciated, although then you might have over a hundred people! I didn’t know about this service until you mentioned it last time. I’m inspired to try it myself. Looks like a blast!

  13. DefogMyBlog says:

    Yes the advance warning, regular time and consideration to time zones would be good.

  14. Rinaldo says:

    I really like the transcript idea. That way you don’t have to worry about missing stuff for the readers watching the record.

    If you use a topic might be good to have a selection of posts (or links like when we were discussing Ecto) to complement answers of questions that you know that will be asked.

    Keep the sessions coming, was amazing how you gave good answers to all the questions even when they started to rapidly multiply.

  15. CharliWag says:

    Hey Darren!
    Thanks so much for that Impromptu Video Chat!
    I managed to record 10mins of high quality 1 way conversation.
    Mostly on the topic of blogging health and weight loss and international Bloggers!
    I believe you okayed this being on the web if not fell free to contact me and I will take it down asap :).
    (I believe you have my e-mail as part of the comment form).
    Here is the download link :)

    http://www.divshare.com/download/3004883-a7f

    Cheers,
    Charli

  16. Jake says:

    Darren it was great. I think it is a great touch and makes people feel like the know you. This of course is a great step in community blogging.

  17. Ivy says:

    I missed both chat sessions but would definitely try to make it for the next! Advance warning would be great. Apart from a question and answer question, it will also help me to know the other readers on this blog and interact ideas with them during the question and answer sessions.

  18. chipseo says:

    I just bought a video camera today for the purpose of doing some video podcasts on a new site of mine. I would be interested in knowing some of the details you use in setting up the stream.

    I wanted a hard drive camcorder for the quality over a web cam but couldn’t get one that did a line in recording from the pc to the camera, that will have to be on the list for the next camera purchase.

    I hope you will consider doing a post on how you did the video, especially since I didn’t know about it ahead of time and get a chance to see it. Scott

  19. Eric says:

    I think you would have better luck with using Stickam as your platform for Live chats. On Stickam Users can subscribe to your Live feed and receive emails or text messages when you go live. There is also a calender on stickam where users can see what dates you will be live. Theres also the ability to promote certain users in your stickam chat to moderator level. Though stickam is does have a larger abundance of spammers/immature users.