Live streams are fast becoming a popular tool for investigators for lots of reasons and like anything can be good and bad. I quite often love watching live streams from paranormal teams all over the world. It makes me feel like I am a part of the action and it can be great if you have nothing paranormal happening that weekend. It allows you to ‘see’ locations you may not normally be able to see and also see how other people investigate and can be a great way to get new ideas for techniques or experiments to try. I have seen some really great live streams and I have also seen some very questionable ones. So in an effort to help you out if you want to expand into the world of live streaming, here are my tips of the do’s and don’ts of live steaming during a paranormal investigation.
DO be yourself and have fun. Just because you are putting yourself out to the world doesn’t mean you have to be completely serious. You can still be a paranormal investigator and have a bit of fun. It allows people to see who you really are and they will relate to you as a person. If your streams are fun to watch, you will find people will get more involved and tune in more often.
DO explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. Not everyone tuning in is an experienced investigator. They may not know what certain pieces of equipment does or what the experiment you are doing is supposed to achieve. Regularly update new people joining the stream so they know what is going on.
DO take people on tours of a location and show them all the beautiful rooms. A lot of people will never get the chance to see the place in person, so this may be the closest they get. I know I love looking around buildings through streams, it feels like I am there.
DO ask venue managers for permission to live stream. Some places have very struct rules regarding photography and video and some don’t allow it. While they have allowed you in to do an investigation, they may not appreciate a live stream of the inside of the property being shown or may not want the public to know an investigation is taking place.
DO have discussions with your followers. You don't only have to stream from a location. Some of the best discussions and live streams can take place from a person's office. People love the opportunity to talk about the paranormal and may even like to do a Q&A. Maybe you can make it a regular thing so people know when to tune in. Have a different topic for each stream and let people know in advance so they know what to expect.
DO encourage people to join in and interact with the comments. I have seen some really popular live streams with a locked of camera asking people to ‘keep an eye on things’ while they are somewhere else (just don’t leave them for too long). Ask them to comment if they see or hear anything, get them involved! If you are asking questions to get a response, ask your followers to type the questions they want asked! They may come up with some great ones. You will find people will come back for more because it makes them feel like they are there doing the investigation all from the comfort of their own home!
DO keep people updated on things happening during the night. You don’t necessarily have to film the investigation itself. You can provide small updates during the night and give people a reason to keep an eye on your page to tune in.
DO open yourself up to criticism and feedback. Remember you are putting yourself out there. Not everyone may agree with your style or technique. They may have some great feedback for you which can help you learn. If you are using a piece of equipment the wrong way or getting false readings, you can expect someone will pull you up on it. Again it is to help you so embrace it and be gracious. Some people may just be trolls and if that happens, just laugh it off.
DONT use sensitive equipment that is compromised by a mobile phone signal (such as a K2 or a REM pod.) I have actually shown this on previous live streams I've done at how easily the equipment can be effected. I have seen many live streams where someone is standing next to a K2 or a REM pod and commenting on how much activity is going on seemingly unaware it is their mobile phone setting it off. One video I watched recently showed a REM pod going off every time a person radioed in on a walkie talkie. Unfortunately they passed this off as amazing validation from spirit. Know your equipment and what sets it off and how far away you need to be.
DONT attack someone for providing constructive criticism. If they are asking a question or debunking something that has happened, they are not attacking you. Come back to them with why you don’t think they are right and accept their feedback it as a possibility (they could be right). Don’t call them a hater and delete their comments.
DONT worry about trolls. There will always be a negative nancy. Don't feed into it. Some people are just looking for a fight.
DONT live stream from a private residence when you are working a private case to help someone in need. You are working a private case to help an individual in need. This isn’t the time to promote yourself. There are plenty of other more appropriate moments. If they ask you to live stream the investigation, I would be questioning why they have asked you to come out.
DONT fake things. We have enough fake videos doing the rounds on youtube and in sensationalised news articles. We don’t need them popping up live streams as well.
DONT live stream during a public investigation that people have paid to attend. If you are running the investigation, the focus should be on the guests who have paid money to investigate with you. I personally would be upset if I paid to attend an investigation and the host was live streaming as we were investigating. If you are attending a public investigation and you are allowed to split off and do your own thing, I would just check with the person running the investigation if they don’t mind if you did a live stream on your own (say if you were locked in a cell on your own). Don’t forget that your phone will also interfere with other’s equipment and while you may think you are by yourself in a cell and it’s ok, who knows what effect it is having on the person in the cell next to yours.
MOST IMPORTANTLY DONT be scared to put yourself out there and give it go. Live streams can be scary if you are not used to doing them. Don’t worry about how you look or if you don’t like the sound of your voice. If this is something you love to do and want to share with the world, then do it. Don’t be scared. Write down some notes and bullet points to help keep the conversation flowing.
Live streaming is great if done the right way. There is no set rule book, this is just what I do and don’t enjoy about watching live streams. Think outside the box and maybe do something different. You can do a cool experiment, or maybe test a new piece of equipment. Someone may give you a suggestion you haven't even thought of. Make it something you would tune into if you saw it pop up. If you see a stream pop up on your Facebook feed, get involved and watch. You will soon find yourself addicted and you will come up with your own list of Do’s and Don'ts! Facebook are very slowly changing the reach of many pages. They want people to engage with a page. Live videos are the number one thing that can help keep the engagement up on your page and show people who you really are!
Tell me, what are your do's and dont's for a live stream?
(I am certainly no expert when it comes to live streams. This is a list based on what I've learnt from doing them in the past and what I enjoy watching from live streams).
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