Viewing Group Tips

Hosting a viewing group or watch party for a webchat is a great way to bring people together to network and foster dialogue on a topic.

We always encourage posts to hold a side-event — a planned discussion before/after the virtual program, maybe with a local speaker on the ground or some other activity. This not only provides you with a “Plan B” in case the internet or electricity is disrupted, but also reinforces discussion of the topic and networking.

Before the Webchat

Tech Requirement

Test your connection and set-up early – well before the day of the program.

  • Simulate everything exactly as it will be for the day of the livestream — use the same room, internet port (always use a wired Ethernet connection if possible) and equipment.
  • Test your internet connection by going to a video on Youtube or Ustream.com (for example http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv). If you can hear and see the livestream there OK, you should not have a problem participating in the webchat. You should have at least 1.5 Mbps of upload/download speed, but for a smoother video feed we recommend 5 Mbps upload/download. Go to speedtest.net to test your speed.
  • Make sure your browser and Adobe Flash are up to date before the day of the program. Do not use Internet Explorer or an OpenNet connection.

Try to test the same day of the week and time of day as the program will take place on, as well. If there are other people who will be using the same internet network during the livestream, outside of your viewing group, try to restrict their internet usage if you notice their usage negatively affects your connection.

You don’t need special equipment: A computer, large monitor or projector, and speakers are the basic equipment required.

Marketing

Most large-scale webchats have a social media toolkit. If you don’t have one, email [email protected] to ask for one.

Day of the Webchat

Start setting up early and make sure your watch party invitees are in place well before the webchat starts. If you are having tech issues the day of the program, please let IIP know in the chat space and someone from the IIP interactive team will message you with help.

Please note, the video will have captions.

Send a pic of your watch party, before the program starts/during the first part of the program. We will try our best to show it during the livestream. You can use it to post on your social media accounts later, as well. The marketing materials will tell you how to send your viewing group picture if this is an option. If you do not know, write a message in the chat space and we will private message you the email address.

For webchats on ShareAmerica/other webpages:

The chat space and the video player will only appear the day before the webchat.

The chat space and the video player will only appear the day before the webchat.

  1. Log into the chat space on the program page as a watch party: Sign in as a “guest” — erase the generic “Guest1234” that appears when you click “guest” and name yourself something that identifies your location (like “IRCKampala” or “ASKarachi”). You can pop out the chat space and make it bigger on the page, as well. Click on an icon on the lower right of the chat box that looks like a box with an arrow.
  2. Introduce yourself in the chat spacer and let us know how many people are in your watch party. You can designate a separate computer for the chat space, so individuals can come up and type in a question on behalf of the group, while the livestream is playing from a separate computer. Alternatively, people in the watch party can use their mobile devices to ask questions (via the chat space on the program page or via the program Twitter hashtag).
  3. Use the audio-only player on the page below the video player if there is a major problem with your connection on the day of the program that cannot be resolved.

For webchats on Facebook pages:

Ask questions via the program’s Facebook post’s comments section. Let us know what Facebook account your group will be asking questions from.  If people in your group will ask questions using their own accounts on their mobile devices, have them write, “From American Center Karachi” (for example) before they ask a question.

After the Webchat

Recordings will appear on the webchat page within a few days of the live program. You can also email [email protected] for a link to the recording.

For Facebook Lives, the recording will appear almost immediately on the Facebook page.

Find Out About Upcoming Webchats

Check out IIP’s Interactive Program Calendar to see what programs are scheduled. Promotional materials are available for download.

Follow IIP’s interactive team on Twitter @USAinteracts. Look for announcements in your IIP regional office newsletter. All REPs will be notified of upcoming virtual programs.

Examples of Viewing Groups