You know what Murphy’s Law is, right? Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Well, that’s what happened to me last night when I attempted my first Facebook Live.
I have often said in the past that I have a face for radio, which is one of the reasons I prefer audio to video. With over 170 podcasts and nearly 30 parody songs under my belt, I’m comfortable with voice recordings. While I’m never going to be the next Chris Evans or Terry Wogan, I’m okay and I know what I’m doing.
Video, on the other hand, gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies. Given the choice between appearing in a YouTube video and throwing my blood-smeared body into a tank full of sharks who haven’t eaten for a week, I would take the latter every time. Okay, maybe not quite every time but you get my drift.
Nevertheless, I volunteered to do a one-hour live Q&A on social media in a Facebook group I’m a member of. I like being able to share my expertise with an audience – I’ve spoken at both blogging conferences and social media industry events and it’s something I quite enjoy. It’s a chance to give something back.
So there I was last night, sat in front of my computer at the appointed hour with some scribbled notes to one side and a cup of tea to the other – I’m so rock and roll, me – ready to give Facebook Live a try.
Lights. Camera. Action.
It al started well enough. Questions started coming in. I managed not to spill my tea over my keyboard. I couldn’t hear Heather laughing at me in the next room. (She might have been laughing but if she was I couldn’t hear her, which is good enough.)
And then, about 15 minutes in – and with a rapt audience of literally *some* people tuned in – my broadcast froze.
That was okay. A quick swig of tea, with only a fleeting moment of regret that it wasn’t a glass of wine. Close window. Open new window. Set up a new broadcast. Bob, as they say, is your mother’s brother. Pick up where I left off and job’s a good ‘un.
Except then, ten minutes later, the recording falls over again.
Okay, getting annoying now. But I can do this, no problem. Repeat the same process as quickly as possible and get under way again.
A little too quickly, as it happens.
Unbeknownst to me – and with a stream of new comments flowing in – in my haste to get restarted, I’ve only gone and started broadcasting to the wrong Facebook group. There is a comment pointing that out to me but it’s sixth or seventh in line and by the time I finally read it five minutes have passed.
There are moments in life when you just want the ground to open up and swallow you whole. I’m told the eyebrow raise I performed as realisation dawned on me was priceless. If it ever sees the light of day on social media, someone will be hearing from my lawyer.
30-second interlude while I bash my forehead against the desk. Rejoin the correct group. Apologise profusely. Try to work out where the hell I was before performing the social media equivalent of switching from BBC1 to ITV1 mid-broadcast …
… And then the recording goes down for a third time, at which point we agree to call it a day and reschedule for a time when my wifi connection is more reliable than Southern Trains’ service.
See what I mean about Murphy’s Law?
So that was my first Facebook Live experience. If anyone can suggest ways it could have been more of a cock-up, please send your answers on a postcard.
So, yes, maybe I should stick to what I know and go back to recording podcasts.
Except life wouldn’t be much fun if we didn’t try new things, would it? Yes, sometimes we fail miserably and we are mortified at the results. But if we don’t try, we don’t learn. And if we don’t learn, well, what’s the point in anything?
So would I take a second crack at Facebook Live if we can get the session rescheduled? Yes, in a heartbeat. Although next time I’ll make sure I have a device ready to go via 4G as a backup. I’m brave – but I’m not stupid.