Tuesday, 19 October 2021

The Socialist Chat Room Went Live with an Amazing Panel and Many Technical Mishaps!

The Socialist Chat Room went live with its first episode on our YouTube channel which you can consider a test-run with mixed success.

I announced my plans to do this show about three weeks ago, and then, as luck would have it, I was struck down with a severe bout of long-Covid which would not shift and threw my plans into disarray. Eventually, I  bit the bullet and went for it anyway because otherwise, the show would never have happened. Thankfully, I managed to arrange a great line-up, meaning my biggest concern became whether everyone would turn up on the day!

That did not turn out to be a problem and the guests were absolutely fantastic, but remember when I warned you guys about possible technical difficulties? Well, they happened. Everything that could go wrong, did

I guess this is what happens when you have a host with poor health, a barely-functioning six year old desk-top, zero technical expertise and about ten windows open on the screen simultaneously. I had much to take in and in hindsight, I should have minimised my talking time to focus on ensuring things ran smoothly. I guess I underestimated the complexity of the task at hand.

First of all, the stream would not start on YouTube for no reason. Cue a panicked conversation to resolve the issue. 

Of course, the stream decided to fix itself mid-way through this conversation, making me look like an unprepared mess. Then, for the next ten minutes, my streaming software decided to zoom in super-close so you couldn't see anyone talking. I think this is the point where most of our viewers gave up(!), but I belatedly fixed this issue, and it left me with my final technical problem: My supersensitive mic and Zoom's refusal to put me on mute when I clicked the mute button. This meant my flustered, stammering voice could be heard booming over everyone else's, and even worse, the mic picked up my every breath. 

So yeah, disaster...

But... panelist No Justice saved the day. She was also streaming the show and the only technical difficulty she encountered was a host who was terrible at time-keeping, spent far too long on the first topic and then raced through the next two topics to make up time!

I'm making this all seem like a total disaster and yet it wasn't...

I could not have picked five better panelists and they sailed through the whole experience with ease, massively getting me off the hook. I may have deleted the live stream from YouTube and Twitch, but I did get some great clips of these guys, so let's go through them now and let them have their moment.

First of all, we have Lisa Diaz. You may have seen Lisa from her viral Twitter videos calling the government out on Covid-19 safety in schools. She is the co-founder of SafeEdForAll and as you can imagine, she had much to say.

Our next panellist was Twitch and Youtube streamer No Justice who describes herself as a "Marxoid" on Twitter.

Here is Popey Variant 616 who is also a streamer and could probably do with some Twitter followers because they're quite new to the platform so please help them out! 

We were privileged to be joined by Labour councillor Freddie Bailey.

And last, but most certainly not least, we were joined by Samuel K, another guest known for his viral Twitter videos.

So our guest line-up really was impressive. 

For my first episode, I wanted authentic working class voices, but I also wanted people who are experienced on camera to help ease me into things. Going forwards, my aim is to platform any ordinary socialist who wants to participate. You can see my first stream as a practise session to get everything figured out. Here is what I've decided to do in future episodes.

1. Larger panels. This might seem counter-intuitive as larger panels mean more people to manage, but they actually mean less talking time for each individual, taking the pressure off them. They also mean more people get a chance to be involved and feel included.

2. Take a back seat. As the host, I've learned I should do less talking and focus on correctly managing the show to ensure no more technical mishaps. Next time, I will spare you my ramblings and keep my input fairly minimal.

3. Use the mute button on my mic, rather than the mute button on Zoom, to ensure my breathing is not picked up! (Zoom muted everyone else correctly, just not me!) Also, keep my super-sensitive mic further away from me so I'm not as loud, relative to everyone else.

4. Only one topic per show. Last time, we had three topics and we raced through the last topic because it was getting late. Three topics is too many for one show.

I think that pretty much summarises it. I'm not sure the show will stream live weekly. I think the best approach will be to schedule a show when there is something that needs to be discussed and then send the invites out about 24-48 hours in advance. I won't be planning shows too far ahead because I had a nightmare with long-Covid in this instance. I want to ensure I'm only planning something when I'm feeling up to it.

If you would like to be included on my list of potential panelists, please contact me on Twitter and I'll add your name to the list. Next time, I might have 12 or even 16 panelists, so there is a good chance I'll find room for you. I promise, next time things will go smoothly!

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