I recently assisted a local politician with a live stream event for a community outreach program to introduce the candidates to the community.  The event was organized by a friend of mine who is seeking re-election to the position she currently holds in her local community.  When asked if I would be able to help facilitate an online stream of the event, I did not hesitate to step in – gladly donating my time and resources for the cause.

As I set up my live streaming gear, people began to filter in.  Before we knew it, the room was packed, and seating was becoming a commodity.  For a relatively small town event, people were turning out.  Attendance was amplified by the ability to live stream it to those unable to attend in person.  By the end of the presentation, we noted 30+ viewers participating via the live stream.  That number almost doubled between the time we left the town hall and were settled in for a brief celebratory dinner at a local restaurant afterward.

One of the biggest things I learned through the experience is that it amazes me how many people have taken interest in getting involved as a result of the current political climate.  Listening to some of the candidates during the event, the resounding message was I wasn’t happy with something going on in my local community, and I want to do something to change it.  People want to help make the streets safer.  They want to step up drug intervention programs.  They want to make public officers and representatives more transparent with how they manage things from budgets and finances to general procedures and information available to constituents.

When my friend announced that she would be holding the event, she invited a variety of individuals to attend and participate in the presentation – ranging from school board candidates to county sheriff candidates.  She created a Facebook event.  She posted fliers throughout the community.  Out of 21 candidates, 18 were in attendance and participated in a 3-minute “elevator pitch” addressing who they were, what they do, what they want to bring to the table, and why they are the best candidate.  Although each candidate was given the opportunity to deny recording/broadcasting of their speech, no one actually entertained it.

In my discussions afterwards with some of the candidates and community members in attendance, everyone was happy to have the opportunity to reach more people through the live stream.  Because the event was broadcast via Facebook, it has seen a number of likes, shares, comments, and reactions – both during the live stream and afterwards.  While some community members could not attend in person, they felt they were included because of the live stream option.  Even after-the-fact, people continue to view, comment, and react to the video.

While this was a new format undertaken by my friend within her community, it is definitely something that is becoming more common.  Being able to help facilitate live streaming options is something that sets groups apart.  As things with this particular project are concerned, the group was able to live stream the presentations by the candidates, community members are able to view the entire hour-long presentation after-the-fact, and I will be working to the extent possible to cut out each candidate’s presentation to share individually, making it easier for voters to find out information about each candidate easily and effortlessly.  The best part is that the community will be able to see and hear the presentations as they were made.  It will not be a rehash or a write-up that could be misconstrued by third party interpretation.