Hello everyone and thank you very much for the high level of interaction of our webinar, in the next days we will publish the video so we can see again the live.
Tons of lessons learned in this first experiment
Techs: we decided that we were using Youtube Live for the session: easy to setup, open to everyone, no installation required. In order to do that you have to request a verification with them via phone at least two days in advance, I did that with my personal account, so apparently we were ready to go.
Youtube Live is using Hangout for the "trasmission" so basically it appears for the users as a Youtube page, but in the background the conversation is hosted on Hangout (Hangout on Air a version developed by Google just for this).
Long story short, two hours before the webinar we started testing Hangout on Air with @owen and it wasn't working, at all!!
After 30 minutes of trying we decided to test Crowdcast, one of the alternative out there, I've setup the account, -the free trial- (apparently no limitations), and we tested: it was working!
So I invited the guests to test the platform, share screen and whatever. We did the test and it was working, then we went live and BOOM/CRASH!
The system started glitching, with delay on the images and it was impossibile to share the screen for the presenter.
So @hugi made a big effort and make it trough half of his presentation, sharing the link on Drive of his doc, but then we had more then 20 people connected (wow!) and Crowdcast was costantly crashing :))
Luckily Jessica (of the attendant) offered her Zoom pro account and we did the rest of the conversation in there (after a pause).
We will test all the solution that were suggested in the conversation, but reality is that only when you have 20+ people connected from all around the globe (with different connection band) that you will really test the technology.
So next step could be testing all the suggestions that emerged in the conversation and see if there is one that has all the features that we like (open source, +20 attendants, recording of the webinar, no plugin/installation required, etc..), maybe with the monthly call? (ping @zmorda and @anique.yael)
Time zone: that’s was a big one and affected a lot the quality of the webinar, the stress of the guests and the participation of the attendants.
We decided to host the webinar late in the afternoon for a timing that was good for the two co-working space/partners that were helping us in the organization.
So the final time was 5 pm Tunisia and Morocco time zone, which, internationally is known as CET.
Bruxelles (CEST) is +1 compared to CET, so that will results at 6 pm.
The website took the time zone wrong and the countdown was ending at 5pm Bruxelles time, so we had half of the attendants ready to participate 1 hour BEFORE the other half of the attendants (partners from MENA region).
As @hugi said before going live, never ever trust the international time zone code, but always explicit the city that you are taking as a reference.
We are going to to that!!
Those were the things that weren’t so good, but then we saw a lot of interaction happening and the conversation was, in my opinion, very interesting.
Hosting: From a personal point of view, being the host, I found the experience very similar to a live presentation from a stage in term of energy that you have to deliver, with the downside of not having live-feedback from your audience (eye-contact, nodding..) and that was super weird.
I’m not sure that I’ve managed to summarize the answers to the questions at the end of every round (the three guests were answering round-table style to the questions emerging), because it was very hard to read all the written conversation AND listen to what was being said.
In television and radio they teach you to remember every now and then the topic that you are talking about so new-comers or people that get lost and distracted could enter again in the conversation, not sure the effect of doing this also in a webinar.
Questions and structure: in order to share content also before the official start of the webinar, Hugi offered to share one presentation that he did one week ago, that was very useful and a good introduction. Maybe is something that we can repeate, is a good way to let people enter in the webinar without loosing the discussion.
Then we had prepared a loose structure of questions preceded by a personal presentation from the guests.
But the interactions from the audience was really good and powerful that we basically answered what was on the comment sections and not looking at our structure.
Then later I had a look at that and I saw that the questions from the participants were expanding the sequence of questions that we had written, but, because generated by actual experience, the questions were more interesting and the answers were useful instead of theorical.
Duration: finally the webinar lasted 90 minutes for the MENA participants and 150 minutes (2h 1/2) for the first attendants.
90 minutes is the length for this kind of event, also because at the end, speaking of myself, the energy was pretty low.
But yeah, that one was my first experience with that and a very positive one: interesting mix of being together with others, the energy of the interactions, the excitement of going "live", cool!
In the next days we will share the webinar's video, so stay tuned