Explore: Using Blab to make webcasting more social
Here on the Utterly Content blog, we’ll be chatting about some tools that you can use to create interesting content. First up, why not make webinars and discussions more social with Blab?
Webinars and webcasting have been around for a while. They’re a great option if you’re looking to get stuck into training sessions, interviews, round-table chats and lessons with an audience that’s not in the room.
However, over the last year or so we’ve seen the arrival of a number of tools that make it easier to broadcast yourself, and easily lure in an audience from your social media networks.
We first heard about Blab in September. It’s still in its early days, but it’s definitely worth trying out if you like the idea of sparking up conversations with your social circles.
Blab enables users to fire up the webcam and start talking about a topic to a public audience. But it’s much more interactive than that. If you’re interested in something that gives you sole control of the mic, or a place to host private training sessions, I’d look elsewhere.
Where it comes into its own is in hosting discussions, as the host can invite guests to jump into the chat, including people who’ve just wandered in off the street from Twitter and fancy chiming in. There’s an also an option for an audience to chat among themselves, and pose questions to the host or the group itself.
Let’s break it down, with the help of the people from Tech North, the budding organisation devoted to promoting and assisting digital businesses in the North of England. Hey folks…
That screen up there looks busy, right? Don’t sweat it. You’ll get used to it.
You’ll notice that there are four video windows running on the screen. Folks on that screen can pitch in with their thoughts on camera in much the same way as you’re used to seeing with web conferencing software or Google Hangouts.
Even if you’re not signed in to Blab, you can lurk in the background and listen in. When you sign in, you can get stuck into the chat which is taking place on the right hand side of the screen, or ask to join the round-table by pressing the “call in” button. The host can then decide whether to accept you into the round-table, at which point your face will pop up in one of those four boxes. If you’re saving the spot for someone in particular, you can lock the seat.
The audience can pose questions to the panel (and indeed anyone else) by adding /Q to their text in the chat box. That makes it pop up in the left hand side, where people can pick up on it easier.
You can see who your audience is at any given time by glancing at the numbers and social profiles shown on the top of the screen. And they can give you some love by clicking the “little hands” icon that you can see in the bottom right of the webcam window. You don’t get prizes or money for that love, of course, so don’t get too sad if you don’t get as many points as your co-host.
You can use the “tell a little bird” or “tell your friends” options in the top left corner to tell your Twitter or Facebook friends that you’re broadcasting, and to invite them to get involved. You can also search for Blabs that are happening now by searching on the homepage itself.
Blab is more focused on the social and public end of the market (it’s not necessarily the place for you to host your quarterly financials conference call, for example), but it’s great for people that are up for a discussion and are happy to loosen their grip on the steering wheel.
Find out more about Blab and get stuck in via the link, or download for iPhone or iPad here. If you want to find the Tech North discussion we were talking about (and subscribe to be notified of future ones), walk this way.