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How to Integrate Real-Time Social Media with Streaming Video

Viewers interacting with a second screen while consuming content is not something that we, as producers, have much control over, but by integrating real-time social media with streaming video we can try to maintain viewer engagement and encourage them to use their second screens to interact with the content producers and other viewers, instead of with their wider social media network.

Facebook Apps for Livestream and Ustream

Facebook apps for Livestream and Ustream appear on a Page as a Tab. Relegating the apps to a tap give them less visibility than they would have if they appeared directly on the Pages timeline, the default location when you navigate to a Facebook Page. The problem is compounded by the fact that, by default, the Ustream Live or Livestream app tabs—where the live video embed via the Facebook app appears—are hidden under the More drop-down menu.

The Facebook app for Livestream and Ustream Live defaults to hiding the webcast tab under the More drop-down menu.

The solution is twofold: First, the Page manager should select Manage Tabs and move the Ustream Live or Livestream tab up to one of the three visible tabs so that it isn’t hidden under a drop-down menu. Second, the direct URL of the live app tab should be shared on the main timeline, where Page Fans are used to looking, so they can easily navigate their way to the live video tab where the live webcast is appearing.

Moving the Ustream Live or Livestream Facebook App higher makes the Tab visible

The Ustream Live Facebook App Tab is more visible now.

Using Twitter Hashtags in Webcasts

Twitter doesn’t automatically interconnect the entire viewing audience, but the use of a hashtag makes it easier for viewers to connect with other viewers who are tweeting about their viewing experience if they use the same hashtag, although they first have to search for the hashtag on Twitter or a social media management system like Hootsuite.

Compositing Social Media Elements with the Webcast Video

All of these options are designed to make it easy for webcasters to engage with their viewers on either a second screen or having multiple windows open, including a non-full-screen live stream. The problem with this approach is that it takes away from the ability to full-screen the video, which as a video producer, is the way I like my viewers to consume my live HD webcasts.

The second approach to integrating real-time social media with streaming video is to composite actual tweets and Facebook comments over the live video, similar to how a lower-third title is used. This doesn’t replace the need for a second screen (or multiple windows) for users to continue to interact, but the benefit is that you can select tweets and Facebook comments that you want to share with the entire viewing audience, regardless of if they have any social media windows open.

While adding text and graphics from a tweet or Facebook comment can be done manually with any video switching or webcasting software the supports live title creation, it’s much more efficient to automate the process. Fortunately, you don’t need to write the automation code if you want to send and queue tweets and comments to your title software, but you do need to select the right software and social media feed plugin.