Entertainment & Technology

Personal Streaming

More intimate than the printed word for communicating with others.

by Bill Wood

Maybe ten years ago I had several conversations with creators of a never-before-seen motor-sport discipline. They were looking for ways to expand their brand within a community of potential customers. I suggested streaming video but they hesitated. They were concerned about giving away their product while they underwent birthing pains.

Fast forward to five years later when they tried streaming on their own terms and found it to be hugely successful. Lots had changed within their customer community, especially customer viewing habits.  But the event promoters eventually learned that giving away the product helped grow ticket sales. They learned that new customers were more interested in coming to an event after they learned how exciting the events were.

Now, 99.9 percent of us will never promote a rough-and-tumble motor-sport event for thousands. But we may wonder how we could grow attendance at a community meeting or even a family reunion. And that’s where low cost streaming is there to help us.

Things like Facebook Live and Periscope make personal streaming possible, thus introducing personal excitement to “mass” audiences.  This won’t be a personal streaming how-to. Look into the process, though.  It could solve many problems you might have reaching your individual audiences to get them off the couch and involved in things that could affect their lives.

Let’s look at something thshutterstock_557864617at’s pure simplicity when it comes to personal communication.  It’s called Facetime. It’s very common today to stay in touch with people through Facebook, email or text messaging. But I’m sure there have been break downs when the black-and white pixels on a computer or device screen miss the nuance of personal communication. Pixels on a screen just can’t transmit a smile or sarcasm or a gentle tease no matter how many emojis we throw into the message.

We often overlook how a smile here or a nod there can add to a chat among two or more people. Facetime can bridge those communication gaps. Facetime is direct and ultimately personal, where Facebook Live or Periscope can be open to more than you want in the conversation. I imagine it would be like yelling an intimacy to someone in a crowded room.

Skype is another software or app that allows for higher end personal communication. It’s simple, inexpensive and doesn’t require lots of setup to make it work. Even better, you can use Skype to contact someone who’s not on the Skype network. Several years ago I did a podcast that communicated with people from the Australian outback to Dubai to central Russia. Calling someone who has a Skype account is free but there could be a small charge to call someone’s landline or cell who’s not on Skype. And small could literally mean pennies.

Google has a similar service called Hangouts. It’s a little more technical than Facetime, which is basically a phone call through a specific app. But Google Hangouts can include more people, so it can be used to plan a club meeting or family reunion.

One drawback to Hangouts is the need for everyone to have a Google account to sign-in to the process. But having a Google account is becoming a necessary thing in today’s connected world.  Most connected people have or need one. However, once that’s resolved, the door is open to chatting with a number of people at once, seeing them in the nuance of personal communication, and solving problems digitally face-to-face.

The best part of everything we’ve talked about thus far is the cost. Outside of streaming costs involving mobile devices, everything we’ve discussed thus far is almost free! I was once involved in a low budget global television show that did interviews with guests through Google Hangouts. It can be that valuable. Skype is another service that offers personal video communication at minimal or no costs. I’m sure you’ve seen television networks like ESPN, CNN, FOX or MSNBC communicating with people through Skype video interviews.

Give any of the above a try. It’s cool to stay in touch with former high school friends and neighborhood buddies who are now living thousands of miles away. Maybe one day you’ll find yourself planning or promoting events for thousands through the simplicity of personal communication that wasn’t even possible when you dreamed of the idea.

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