Shel did a terrific job as MC and chief DJ, manipulating the Skypecast control panel, muting/unmuting people’s microphones on demand so that we had as much participation as we could. In tandem, a real-time Gabbly text chat on the FIR website was in action with participants adding comments and opinions to the topics being discussed via voice. We’ve captured all that chat here.
We had up to 24 live participants. Great to see so many familiar names joining in. Kevin Finch, Dan York, Josh Hallett, Sebastian Keil, Bryan Person, David Philips, Judy Jones, Luke Armour, Allan Jenkins, Sallie Goetsch… new names to me such as Nathan Reeve, Steven Loepfe, Josie Salkey… a real communicators’ hall of fame. I’ve not mentioned everyone. But thanks to you all who participated and became part of the experiment.
Some initial impressions about the Skypecast service and the event itself:
- Connecting to the Skypecast was dead easy – just click on the ‘join this Skypecast’ button. If you’re not logged in to your Skype account, you’re prompted to do so; once you do, your Skype dials a special number and connects. You get a small pop-up window showing you and everyone else connected. Pretty easy to figure out.
- Having said that, the Skypecast interface could definitely do with much more clarity on what to do when you log in to a Skypecast. It’s pretty bare bones, hence Shel’s lengthy explanation at the beginning of the show on what to do and how to do it during the session.
- Skypecast is a beta yet I didn’t notice any major sound issues which you might expect from a beta service. As a listener, I could hear everyone participating, and with no lag.
- A couple of times when someone else had joined in the voice discussion, their voice suffered major break-up. We guessed that maybe their own net connection bandwidth was suffering from so much going on simultaneously, with voice and the chat. We didn’t perceive it to be a Skypecast issue as such.
- Keeping an eye on all the chat going on as well as my own notes and screenfuls of content we were discussing was quite a challenge. Kept me on my toes though! Shel had a greater challenge as he was also managing all the recording, etc, at his end.
- Listening to the recorded show, it’s clear that the sound quality of my voice is nowhere near as good as it is when Shel and I record the show together via a normal Skype call. It’s still good, but you can hear the difference if you compare that quality with another show we record normally.
In all, I think it was a terrific experiment. I just loved being able to talk live with everyone who joined in the conversation at various times. Just like a radio show phone-in. Plus the real-time text chat that was going on, with people commenting about what was being discussed at that very moment. We were able to comment ourselves on those chats. Really great.
I hope we hear comments and feedback from some of those who participated to say what they thought of it all.
Would we do this again? I would say so, definitely. Maybe not on a regular and frequent basis but who knows. Skypecast is beta, as I said earlier, and if it develops in a way that combines great sound quality with ease of use for everyone involved, the hosts as well as the guests, then it could become quite compelling.