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Ditching the Script: Learning How to Live Stream at NGINX

If you regularly browse the Internet today (and I’m guessing you do), chances are you have live streamed something. More than likely, you have streamed a lot of somethings.

It feels like everything is “going live” today. Once more of a gaming phenomenon on platforms like Twitch, live streaming is fast becoming a normal part of daily life – whether you’re watching your favorite team play, enjoying a live concert, joining a morning workout, or even attending school.

If you subscribe to the NGINX YouTube channel, you’ve probably noticed that we have started live streaming content along with our on‑demand tutorials and product content. In this post, I want to share a little bit more about why we’re trying this new format and share more about our experience with learning to live stream.

Why Live Streaming?

Part of my job at NGINX is to find new ways to connect with our existing community and raise awareness with new people who are discovering us for the first time. That’s why when my team started brainstorming ideas to raise awareness, I knew that live streaming had to be at the top of my list of things to try.

Research shows that:

Back when I worked at GameSpot, I had the opportunity to see living proof of the potential power of live streaming. The company created a weekly live stream that featured news and hot topics from the video game industry. This initial show was very popular and paved the way for multiple regular live streams that all became equally successful. GameSpot’s live streams helped bring in new audiences from around the world, transforming the company into one of the biggest names in the video game news industry.

So, what is it exactly about live streaming that makes it so engaging?

Live streaming offers the closest experience to an in‑person connection. The fact that the video stream is happening in real time brings a more human feel to the interaction, allowing both viewers and the person creating the content to genuinely engage with each other. Instead of watching a pre‑packaged and polished video, you can ask and answer questions live, laugh together, and listen to people speak naturally about the topics they are passionate about.

And last year’s lockdown due to COVID‑19 only served to increase the popularity of live streaming – according to Google, viewing time of live content on YouTube was up 250% in 2020. In support of schools and other organizations that suddenly needed to start streaming video (or ramp up the streaming they were already doing), in April 2020 NGINX engineers Nina Forsyth and James Jones published a video and blog showing how to stream video with NGINX Open Source.

Putting all that together, it seemed like the best time yet for NGINX to start live streaming to connect with our ever‑growing community on YouTube, so we launched our first live streaming program at the end of last year.

NGINX Goes Live

As many of you already know, we’ve never been ones to follow the crowd and that means we like to try new things. Thinking outside the box is what started NGINX, and being curious remains one of our core company values.

With that in mind, my team has been given a lot of room to research and experiment with live streaming. The main goal of our experiment is to generate more awareness. To do this, we decided to focus on two areas: educating people about everything they can do with NGINX technologies, and keeping them up-to-date on important trends in our industry.

Currently, we run our live streams on our YouTube channel and use a live streaming studio called StreamYard that helps us create a more personalized live streaming experience.

StreamYard lets you create professional, dynamic live streams that can be streamed to multiple platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn. It allows us to bring in guests, highlight video speakers, and interact with our community using comments and questions on screen.

If you’d like to check out some of our past live streams, I recommend watching:

Our live streaming journey is very much a work in progress, and we are learning as we go. As with everything we do, we’re taking an experimental approach to live streaming and not necessarily following what everyone else is doing. That means that we’re still in the process of figuring out what topics we’d like to cover and how to present them to deliver the best live streaming experience possible.

Help Us Build the Live Streaming Experience You Want

Live streaming is an incredible opportunity for us to offer more personalized education about NGINX and share real experiences straight from the field. So far, our community has given us a lot of positive feedback about the topics and asked insightful questions that have generated interesting discussions. On our side, our speakers have enjoyed using a new platform that gives them the freedom to interact with people and experiment with new topics and formats in a way that webinars can’t match.

If you have ideas or topics that you would like to see live streamed, we’d love to hear from you on Twitter and in the comments section below! We learn new things from you every day, and live streaming is an extremely valuable medium that will enable us to continue to embrace the conversation in the most natural and human way possible.

Be sure to join us online August 23–25 for our virtual user conference, NGINX Sprint 2.0! In addition to pre‑recorded sessions, the agenda includes live‑streamed analysis and interviews with our colleagues from Tech Field Day. We’ll be broadcasting the entire three‑day conference, so grab your seat today and join us to hear the latest NGINX news, dive deep into NGINX technologies, and get ready to go live with us and the rest of our incredible NGINX community.

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