Should you use video and twitter together? Well it just so happens that a very cool new tool was just announced called TwitCam.com.
What follows is my review of the service based on an actual live video stream I conducted today (and the recording).
First let me say I think this service totally rocks! I don’t think I could have expected an easier user interface or experience. So let me share with you how it works.
Step one: Visit TwitCam.com and sign in using your Twitter ID (if you don’t use Twitter you can set up an account with TwitCam).
Step two: Select your video and audio source from intelligent drop-down menu.
Step three: Press the “broadcast and Tweet” button.
It’s really that easy.
Here are my own experiences using TwitCam and some of the pitfalls you should be aware of.
Setup and Getting Started
I decided to give some of my fans and followers a few hours advance notice that I would be broadcasting live using the service. I also e-mailed about 400 people, telling them I would be taking live questions and also asking for their patience as I’ve never done this before.
The cool thing about TwitCam is that when you set up a page for broadcast, it provides you a unique URL that you can give people prior to your event. If they show up and you’re not broadcasting live, they’ll see an “OFFLINE” message indicating there is no current active feed. However, when you do go live they will see and hear you. Also, you can leave the page and come back to your unique URL at a later time.
This is what folks see when you are not broadcasting live
The other interesting thing about TwitCam is that it aggregates all tweets with your broadcast URL into a little window on the right that also servers as a live question and answer panel. This allows you to easily see who is retreating your broadcast.
You can also see the number of people that are waiting to view your broadcast. However it does not show who they are simply how many. It would be nice to be able to know exactly who is listening to the broadcast so that you can engage them directly, even if they’re not asking questions.
Live Video Broadcasting
A few things you should know about live broadcasting. First, a number of people contacted me and said they were unable to ask live questions, even though they were logged in using their Twitter ID.
So it might be wise, to have an alternative method for people to ask questions. For example, you might want to say, “If you’re having problems submitting a question, please direct message me via twitter or, reply to me in Twitter and include the URL for this live broadcast.” I did notice, and each tweet that included the URL for the video broadcast, automatically showed up in question-and-answer panel on the right hand side of the screen.
This is the live chat window that you AND everyone else sees
A few other tips you should consider include: Be prepared for radio silence (thus, have something to talk about in your back pocket until questions come in), make sure your audio is not peaking out (my audio levels were far too high), beware that everything you do, including burping, sneezing and other unpleasant things are all broadcast live, and try your best to eliminate extra bright backlighting.
Regarding taking live questions. You should know that any question posted by a participant is also tweeted to his or her Twitter account, along with a link back to the video. From a marketing perspective, this is very powerful because it drives that person’s followers to the video feed. However, some users may be annoyed because the questions are posted in a public fashion. One thing I might recommend, is to encourage people to delete their questions in their twitter feed if they feel they don’t want their followers to see them. However I think it is a brilliant marketing move.
Overall, everyone seemed very pleased with the experience, including me. We had about 30 people on our live video stream during the entire broadcast.
Post Broadcast Video Viewing
I was actually surprised, that within a minute or two, my recording was available for playback. This made it very convenient for people who missed the live broadcast to hear everything I had to say. Below is a copy of the actual broadcast. What’s cool is TwitCam actually provides you the embed code so you can easily post the video on your blog or website. This makes it very easy for you to create a video and make it available nearly immediately.
Some things I like to see in the future include:
- Scheduling automated tweets: I think you’d be really cool if the service allowed you to schedule a live broadcast for a specific time and send out tweets at regular intervals, encouraging people to attend and reminding them in an automated fashion.
- Tracking and statistics: I would like to see some statistics regarding the number of people who actually view the recording, who they were, and the number of unique individuals who came to a live stream. Also, how about long they stayed and how many asked questions. These types of basic statistics—which are commonly present in the webinar world—would be very useful for marketers doing live video streaming.
To my knowledge, this is the first review that I’ve seen on TwitCam. I would encourage you to record your experiences here, and perhaps we can all learn from each other during this very exciting journey into the world of live video streaming.
Go here to see a copy of my video recording. I would’ve embedded the video on this page, however TwitCam automatically begins playing video, and does not provide the option to NOT autoplay. Had that option been provided I certainly would have been embedding the video here on the page. As you can tell my audio quality was not the best, however I think the results were pretty amazing.
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