Facebook Live

Tips for using Facebook Live

1) Make sure that the device you’re using is compatible with Facebook Live.

For now, Facebook Live is only compatible with mobile devices – tablets and phones, basically. It doesn’t work with desktops or laptops, not even my Macbook Pro which has a good camera. And your mobile device has to be pretty recent. My Android phone (which I’m replacing this week) is about four years old and isn’t recent enough to be able to use Facebook Live, even though it’s running the latest version of Android.

I would recommend using a tablet if you’ve got one – I’ve been using an iPad. It allows you to more easily see the comments from viewers, which pop up beneath your video feed as you’re doing the live broadcast.

2) When you begin your broadcast, it will likely take a few minutes for people to come on to the stream and begin commenting.

People who are “friends” with whichever profile you’re using will get an alert that you’ve “gone live” and they can watch. But not everyone will immediately go to video and join the conversation. You’ll see how many people are watching live in a small counter at the top of the screen as you broadcast. Because it takes a little while for people to join in and watch, it pays to have a little bit of an intro ready when you begin. Otherwise you’re just staring at the camera and waiting for people to talk with you. Some people won’t catch the intro, sure, but when they share the video around later everyone will see it and it will make things proceed a little more smoothly.

3) I found that it really helped to do it with another person.

Having Susan with me allowed me to banter with her a bit and to get a back-and-forth going that was more interesting to watch and filled any lulls between questions. You can do it alone, but as you’ll sometimes have to pause to look at the stream of questions and respond to them it’s nice to have a partner.

4) I think it’s good to have a topic to start out and let the conversation branch out from there.

If you begin talking about something, it will steer the conversation but you may get some disparate questions having nothing to do with what you intended to talk about. You can choose which questions to answer, but sometimes the conversation’s just going to wander a bit. People can see the questions, so if you ignore enough of them I think they’ll feel slighted. I think 20-30 minutes is plenty long. Maybe 10 minutes or so would be even better, as a sort of lightning round depending upon how many questions you get.

5) Be prepared for people to ask some inappropriate questions. Not like, “What’s your number?” or anything – but because of the familiarity people sometimes feel on Facebook, they may ask you to personally weigh in with your opinion on news events. Cool if you’re a columnist, a little trickier if you’re a news reporter. But we all deal with that from time to time in our jobs anyway.

Source: Joe Killian, News & Record Government Reporter

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