Growing Pains…Measure Twice, Cut Once

I thought I was fixing a problem and not creating a bigger one. I thought I was repairing a flaw. I caused a larger issue and a major fail….scratch that, an EPIC FAIL. Let me explain, I have my Friday night trivia game that goes live on Facebook each week. I enjoy it and so do many others. The small issue with this is, there are quite a few people that are not able to engage for reasons such as, delays in the feed, not on Facebook, the chat isn’t working for them, etc. I have a small group of regulars that show up and usually can get on, but on occasion they find problems as well.

I see some new players that would like to join but they are unable to chat or their comments come in after the feed is over. I have had complaints, I don’t want to discuss too much because I mentioned this in a previous blog.

I set up my YouTube channel and prepped it last week so I can expand my audience. I practiced a few live chat sessions. I made one major newbie mistake. I chatted and didn’t think to ask a friend to chat with me. I took my own phone and chatted, thinking that it would be fine. I didn’t read and research enough into it. I had access with laptop users for live chat. Mobile users can’t chat unless I embed the code into the URL. Guess what? I’m not good at that stuff yet.

I should be better at adding the codes and URLs and all the technical mumbo jumbo but to be honest, I would have to work on this. What I did do is integrate a couple of different websites (free of course) that will expand my audience on YouTube and chat. I never took advantage of the tutorial. So for one round I had no screen and another I still had no chat but this time no laptop or phone worked. I was getting frustrated at the hours of ‘repair’.

So, the time finally came last night. It was 8 pm and I went on YouTube for my stream. I decided let’s just use my phone because it seemed to work for phone and laptop (I asked my mom to try for me earlier in the day).

Guess what? My mom was the only visitor. That’s fine, I waited a little while. No other players showed. That’s fine too. Some days you must go on with the show. I am on question two of the game. It cuts me out. My phone goes blank except something saying the stream ended.

I go on my laptop real quick. I am still live but i can’t access it through my laptop. My phone’s camera is not on but there is a picture of my ceiling on the video. It took another ten minutes for me to cut the broadcast. If I was able to take my frustrations and box it up at that point, it would have been tossed out the window. My luck I would have accidentally hit some poor innocent person walking their dog and have bigger problems.

Anyways, I delete the live whatever mess you want to call it, and decide to try another approach. I record a video of the intended game so I can upload it to YouTube, Facebook, and email it to my reader’s list. Well, I muted my microphone earlier in the day and accidentally forgot to put it back on. Eleven minutes of muted video. Holy cannoli I want to…ugh!

Alright, I’m going on Facebook Live and will explain this all to my devoted viewers. They need an explanation why two weeks in a row I have not had the game. It may not be perfect but at least they get to see it on replays and enjoy the banter between those that are on with me.

As I am explaining (an hour after the usual time), I see my audience growing. I have people chatting and joining. I ask them if they would like to play. We decide to have a game and it seems to go well. Question one, two more join. Second question, another joins. We continue getting viewers. I see a bunch in the chat but my viewers eye shows a different story. Of course it isn’t perfect, but it works better than the mess I made trying to change it up to YouTube. After the game, there are plenty of comments, I have private messages, and it seems that there were visits to my trivia night store which shows me that my viewers were interested. My books went up a bit this morning as well, which means my giveaways are being taken seriously.

Oh, let me explain. My game gives prizes and discounts to the ones that participate. Some choose to take advantage of the giveaways and some choose to play for the joy. I am more than happy to let anyone join. So, I am having trouble with the game which means it is affecting my business.

This morning I woke up determined to fix this issue. I see that there are people enjoying my game. I love playing and preparing it as well (when things go right). I went on Google and looked up other ways to stream. I found a ‘how to stream for idiots’ type of website I can use YouTube, Facebook, or other sites I am connected. I’ve tried it out with myself so far, I need to use a few others on a day that isn’t Friday to see if it’ll work.

Not only does it work, for now, but I can add layers. Unlike straight up FB Live, I can switch from screen to screen which means I can have the webcam on me one moment and when I ask a question, I can switch the layer to text for the viewers.

I am loving the addition. Let’s hope this works. The website is called lightstream https://www.golightstream.com/ in case anyone else is interested in trying out larger audiences and engagement with their viewers. It is free and so far useful. As you can tell from the above story, I am not much of a techie at all. I do my best but it isn’t good enough when it comes to upgrades. Lightstream’s tutorial is quick and simple (and optional). The other sites I tried were geared towards those who are familiarized with streaming and computer stuff. More millennial than gen x’ers. Sorry but I never had an interest in computers or video games until college. My brothers were the computer experts.

One highlight I got out of this experience is if I choose to write a how to book (or how NOT to), which I think I might in the future, this will be a great chapter. We have beta readers for our books to review our stories, look at our covers, make sure we answer questions raised, development of characters, basically check the holes. We have editors to critique our words. Why didn’t I get a group of beta players for my YouTube stream to check the kinks?

Carpenters measure before cutting. I measured without a ruler. I would call that a guesstimate. Well, time to adult and fix some of these issues because I’m sick and tired of wasting my time repairing my mess ups. I could use that time writing or upgrading my work. I can’t upgrade broken.

Newbies, double check your work then get others to double check what you have already checked. Not just your books but your marketing, social media, and emails that go out to your readers need a second look. Anything you do, have a team to check it all. I am learning the hard way. You have the benefit of seeing my mistakes.

Just to let you know, I went to YouTube because I’ve seen plenty of success there. I am the one that flubbed the process. I use YouTube for recorded videos and I am happy with it. I don’t want to deter you from using them if you know the process. I am not here to slam anyone, just myself when I make dumb mistakes.

Stay fabulous newbies…have a great weekend and good luck with whatever engaging processes you choose.

You have to be able to accept failure to get better. - LeBron James

Robyn Branick

aka

Robbie Ellie

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