June 1, 2021
It seems like everyone is into livestreaming these days! Some use it as a way to interact with friends and family (or fans), others livestream their gaming, brands go live to sell and demo products, and the philanthropic community uses livestreams to host fundraising events. If you’re curious about livestreaming (where to do it and how to get started), here is a little help!
First, what do I mean when I say, “going live”? Well, it’s a live video feed of yourself, your screen, your gaming system, etc., delivered to others online via social media or similar websites. It’s kind of like a live news broadcast, but online instead of via a TV.
Getting set up to go live is surprisingly easy; all you need is a decent webcam (most modern laptops and smartphones have these built in), a microphone (also generally built into devices), a reliable internet connection, and an account on the platform you wish to use. More elaborate setups can include expensive equipment, including camera stands/holders, ring lights or other lighting, and software for editing. Some professionals even have recording booths!
There are several different platforms to choose from when you want to livestream, and which one you choose may depend entirely on the content you want to stream. Some of the more popular sites to “go live” on are:
- Facebook – Going live on Facebook happens for all kinds of reasons. Business pages on Facebook often use Live to promote products or host “Ask Me Anything” style interactive videos. Individuals going live may just want to document something happening around them, to chat with their friends, etc.
- YouTube – Like Facebook, going live on YouTube works somewhat differently depending on who is doing the video. Businesses hoping to go live on this platform may be restricted from doing so until they have a certain number of subscribers. Some popular live video styles for individuals might include makeup tutorials, video game streaming, general interaction, and performances.
- Twitch – This platform is most widely known for gamers livestreaming their playing. Though it can be used for all types of livestreaming, almost all videos are related to video games (or table-top games).
- Discord – Livestreaming on Discord is a fairly recent addition to the platform. Used widely by the gaming community, Discord users can go live in their public and private channels, and topics vary from just general interaction to game-streaming and fundraisers.
- TikTok – Known for short videos (similar to Vine of social media past), TikTok has a live video feature that allows creators to interact live with their followers. The live videos give followers a chance to support (comments and $$) their favorite creators in real time.
- Instagram – Users can go live very easily on Instagram, and the videos are often used to just interact with followers, though some choose to use the live feed for a fundraiser (there is even a button to do that when starting the live feed).
- LinkedIn – Going live on LinkedIn is also a fairly new addition. Like the rest of the platform, content for the videos is meant to be aimed at helping people learn, advance careers, or improve in some way professionally. Businesses use the live feeds to talk about advancements they’ve achieved, studies they’ve done, etc.
I hope this helps you get started on your livestreaming journey! I encourage you to explore all the different platforms to find one that works for you. If you’d like even more information (and a demo), keep an eye out for our “Let’s Go Live” video series on the Library’s YouTube channel. If you’d like to learn more about various social media platforms, check out some of the Library’s other videos, online resources, and even eBooks from OverDrive!
Consumer Technology Specialist