January 11, 2012

How to get started with live streaming technology

Image by krishnacreations for Big Stock

Advice on the approaches to live streaming for your nonprofit and the most popular tools to use

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, businesses, brands, cause organizations, event planners, technology managers, individuals.

Guest post by Christina Johns
Director of New Media, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Live streaming is an area of new media getting a lot of attention lately. Live streaming can have a positive impact on your community when done right and integrated with existing social media communities or websites, but there are some important questions to ask before diving in.

Is it the right kind of event for live streaming?

There are several different ways to use streaming technology. You can decide to stream an event live as it happens, or have a scheduled airing of a prerecorded event. If you are just getting into live streaming, I would suggest starting small with a prerecorded airing of an event, speech or conference session. Once you have the basics down you will feel more comfortable moving on to the more “live” live-streaming events. You can also get started with streaming prerecorded copyright free video as well.

Do I need someone with expertise in video production?

Nope! Live streaming is designed for all. How complicated and fancy you want to get is all up to you. You can also easily host your live streaming event on a blog, website or any HTML editor with very little effort or know-how.

What streaming platform should I use?

There are several providers that you can use to stream your content. The two major players in this area are Livestream.com and Ustream.tv. Both of these platforms have paid and free options. Both platforms also offer mobile integrations and social API options. I prefer using Livestream for its in-event chat functionality, and I also find it more intuitive than some of the other streaming platforms out there. Continue reading

July 21, 2011

How to create a more social website

social media icons


Integrate social components into your site’s design and function

By Debra Askanase, Socialbrite
and Seth Giammanco, Minds On Design Lab

If you’re considering revamping your website to include social elements like the Facebook Like button, streaming from YouTube, or adding information from a social site through its API, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. There are many ways to “get social,” and so many reasons for doing so. Primarily, it’s about creating a fundamentally engaging experience for the website visitor that brings them closer to your organization.

The process of considering how to get social starts with considering goals.

Why integrate social into your website?

Ask yourself: what do you want to accomplish for your organization using social media? Having a goal seeks to address why you might want to make your website social. By thinking first about the goals, you clear a path for the decisions around which tools you’ll use to get there.

There are five main reasons for integrating social media with your website:

  1. To build followers within the nonprofit’s social media spaces
  2. Create on-site engagement
  3. Develop a sense of community on the website
  4. Raise funds
  5. Create a call to action

In our review of many social websites, we noticed that some websites have at least two primary goals for placing social media on their website. Think about separating your goals into “priority” and “lesser priority.” Don’t be afraid to begin with one or two primary goals, while testing frequently at the outset to see whether or not your goals are being achieved. Gradually, you can add more social media integrations as your initial goals are achieved.

Categories of integration

Categories of integration address what you might do to meet your goals, and how you would do it. While reviewing websites, we specifically looked at the different types of social media that organizations were integrating into their websites. We categorized the (almost limitless) social media integration possibilities into six categories:

  1. Show
  2. Share
  3. Interact
  4. Co-create
  5. Authenticate
  6. Open source

Each category is exhibited by different tools, technology, and/or approaches. Here are some examples of categories and how they might be implemented within a website:

  1. Show – Recent Tweets, Likes, Comments
  2. Share – Like & Tweet Button, E-Card, Fwd to Friend
  3. Interact – FB Live Stream, Hashtag (Tweet Chat), Comments
  4. Co-Create – Shared Content: Mapping, Mosaic, Wiki, Links, Games
  5. Authenticate – FB Login, Twitter OAuth
  6. Open Source – API

Some of the items above are simple widgets and plug-and-play doodads that allow one to take a little snippet of code and incorporate it onto a Web page. With services like Disqus, even complicated features like comments can be added to a page in literally minutes.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are uses of technology to create unique “co-create” opportunities, if not open opportunities, where content can be made available through APIs and syndication for others to use. Check out the Brooklyn Museum’s API documentation for some pretty advanced tech sharing. Continue reading

April 19, 2010

Justgood.tv: Covering social good events

Justgood.tv: Covering social good events from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Nonprofits can take advantage of live-streaming events — on the cheap

JD LasicaAt Net Tuesday, I sat down with Arabella Santiago, founder and CEO of JustgoodTV, a network of curated stories about mission-driven organizations, social entrepreneurs and responsible businesses that have impact. The service provides nonprofits, NGOs, businesses and organizations with web production services, capturing and producing programming that is then distributed to a network of audiences from communities of purpose.

As the Web becomes more video-centric, nonprofits need to jump on board. Nonprofits of all sizes should be thinking about how to bring the events they put on to a wider community of supporters.

Live streaming is just not as daunting as it was back in its early days. Nearly half of the events and conferences I attend these days have live-streaming video coverage, and when I head out on the road with the Traveling Geeks, several participants, like Robert Scoble and Howard Rheingold, live-stream our interviews to their followers through their video-enabled cell phones.

LogitechAs Arabella points out, the entire set-up can be had for as little as $300. You may want to start with something as simple as a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 Web camera, available online starting at $70.

Your mileage may vary, depending on the skills of your team, the kind of video and audio equipment you use and the kind of event you’re producing. If you’d like to hire an independent production team, JustgoodTV can provide a three-person crew for more than that — the rate varies depending on a number of factors, so contact Arabella on her site.

Though I expect we’ll see some consolidation in the marketplace in the next 18 months, all of the live-streaming services — Livestream, Ustream, Justin.tv, Kyte and Qik — provide free streaming and video archiving as well as higher-quality ad-free premium services. That means it’s likely that many more people who did not attend your event will be able to see it in the days and weeks afterward.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo Continue reading