On my trip to San Diego and Kamiah, Id. last week, I tried out Ustream, a “live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an Internet connection and a camera to engage their audience in a meaningful, immediate way.” Immediate, yes. Assuming it works And if by meaningful, Ustream means via video that gets hung up, truncated, or chopped up into installments–if makes it to the Internet at all–then it lives up to its billing.
I was hoping to use Ustream to share my travel experience immediately (the technical term is in real time) by broadcasting video live from my iPhone 3GS via the Ustream Live Broadcaster ap (free) to my Ustream channel at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/zach-everson. I configured my Ustream account to send out a Tweet with a link to my show as soon as I started broadcasting. And when I finished broadcasting, the video would save to my Ustream account, a link to it would go out on Twitter, and a copy of the video would be posted to my YouTube channel and Facebook profile. Nifty, huh?
The results? Mostly poor. The executive summary: don’t use Ustream unless it’s essential for you to post live video. And it’s probably never essential for you. The suggestion: keeping using your iPhone camera to record video and posting it to YouTube, where viewers can watch it (gasp) a minute or so after you took it.
Here are some other issues with Ustream.
- I kept trying to add Travel as a tag for my show (in Ustream > Your Shows > Info) , but Ustream won’t save that term. I was able to save and delete other tags though. Bizarre.
- There’s no way to customize the message that goes out to Twitter announcing a live broadcast is beginning. The default, “I’m broadcasting, from my iPhone, live on Ustream. Come watch!,” looks like spam and is likely to attract no viewers. A more specific message would draw more traffic.
- Want to watch a Ustream video on your iPhone? You’ll need yet another ap, Ustream Viewer (free). But that ap only shows Ustream’s most popular shows, of which yours probably isn’t one.
- I can’t edit my show’s status update. Sure, that problem might be my fault. But then again, I don’t seem to have problems updating my status on any other social networking site.
Solution: until Ustream gets better, post live only when you really need to. YouTube provides better quality and reliability. And it has a bigger audience.
Photo: Courtesy Ustream