Why I stream on Facebook
There are many platforms available for live streaming and each of them has pros and cons.
For this article I’ll be focussing on my top 3 platforms:
Twitch has been the king of live streaming video games for many years now, and over the past few years it has expanded into many more categories including board games.
YouTube has been the king of pre-recorded videos for even longer, and over the past few years they’ve been pushing their live streaming services to a level where they can compete directly with Twitch.
Facebook is a social platform focussed around discussion, communities, and sharing content. It offers live streaming as a tertiary feature, but has invested heavily in it over the past few years trying to get to the levels of both Twitch and YouTube.
So, why do I stream on Facebook?
YouTube isn’t yet as powerful as Twitch for live content, but it is powerful for recorded content. I find uploading live streams (after they have finished) to YouTube is a great way to let my community watch the video in their own time and puts it in front of a second audience. Being able to upload it afterwards means it wouldn’t make sense to also stream on the platform at this time.
Twitch is a fantastic place to build up an audience for live streaming, if you want to stream on a regular basis then I recommend Twitch. You’ll gain followers, build up a community, and each time you stream you may have more people than the time before.
For regular content generating streams this is perfect, and exactly why I have used Twitch in the past.
When it comes to one off special streams such as announcements or virtual launch parties, Facebook is the obvious choice for me.
I don’t need to have pre-built a live stream audience as I can advertise the stream to my Facebook followers, and it’s very easy for them to share the video with other communities.
Just like a giveaway, big announcements are something people will happily share and Facebook makes it very easy for them to do so. With so many giant Facebook communities filled with 10,000’s of hobbyist gamers, the potential for a live stream to be shared to them while auto playing so they don’t even need to do anything to see it, is incredibly powerful.
I can also embed an auto playing video into my various Facebook groups for any relevant games, and onto my main company and personal pages. Giving my community members a much higher chance of organically finding the stream than I would have if it was on Twitch.
I have streamed many more times on Twitch than I have on Facebook, yet my largest stream on Facebook was nearly 6 times the size of my largest stream on Twitch.
For now, I’ll continue using Facebook for special streams and Twitch for more regular streams as time allows.
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!
21st October 2022 at 1:32 am
Frank, I have a lot of respect for you as a businessman, as your Isle of Cats Kickstarter was better run — by far — than any of the other 82 projects I’ve backed.
I know that Facebook is better for business. But how do you reconcile that with the harm they’ve done to society? More specifically, I’m referring to the way their platform spreads disinformation/misinformation, as well as their algorithmic prioritization of outrage over more pro-social behaviors, not to mention their complete inability to even meaningfully acknowledge their role is the rising polarization.
I know it puts businesses like yours in a precarious situation, but I’m just wondering how you think about that tradeoff.
Thank you for what you do!
21st October 2022 at 2:05 pm
Hi Jeremy, thanks you for the kind words and also the challenging question, I think it is important to explore these things.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to change the context slightly and approach this from a different angle to avoid getting wrapped up in the specifics of 1 company.
As a business, I work with many different companies from all around the world and each of those businesses depend on other businesses as well. While I wish the world was different, it is all too easy to follow the various channels and end up at a bad point. Sometimes I can make decisions to avoid those bad points, like choosing a good factory to make my games, or working with companies that have diverse teams, and sometimes I’m too small to be able to choose another path.
A simple example of this is I’m personally not very keen on the companies that supply fuel to the ships used to move products around the world.
That isn’t an excuse and certainly doesn’t make it OK, and where my options start and end with every company I work with are different, meaning everything must be considered in isolation. If in some circumstances I have no choice but to work with a less desirable company, because I need the product they offer, or because my business would struggle to survive without their service, then I have to be sensible with my decision making.
Of course, there are some actions that would stop me working with a company regardless of the impact it has, for example I stopped working with Russian companies earlier this year due to the war with Ukraine.
My guiding principles on this are to always consider every option and not just go with the flow because it is easy, and to make sure I have a greater positive than negative impact on the world. This is often through giving back, charities, and helping others in some form.
Jeremy Touzel Hansuvadha
29th October 2022 at 9:21 pm
Frank, thank you for your thoughtful response. I hope I did not imply that it’s your responsibility to take on such a massive company. It’s definitely not. I guess I just wish that more and more people would stop using Facebook in order to force some measure of public accountability. I realize, however, that this puts creators like you in a position where you have to act against the self-interest of your business in order to do something that–on its own, without the collective action of millions of others–ultimately won’t even be noticed by Facebook. This sucks.
Because of the damage they do to our society (prioritizing outrage, spreading misinformation and disinformation, contributing to social isolation, screen addiction, the documented harm of their products to teenage girls, and the complete lack of accountability for any of this), I consider Facebook one of the worst social actors of the modern world. And I wish there was something more we could do about it. I deleted my account years ago (as well as Instagram), but my actions don’t matter without the collective actions of so many others. It’s not your responsibility. It’s just a situation that sucks.
I don’t blame you for your decisions. I just wish that we had more options so that we don’t have to make tough choices like the one you’re forced to make.