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The best free social streaming platforms

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The best free social streaming platforms. While you shouldn’t get too caught up in comparing different live streaming platforms, a brief analysis of the competition can help you make the right choice. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a live streaming platform comparison:

  • Participant Limit: The number of people who can appear in the live broadcast – especially useful if you are conducting a live talk show.
  • Streaming Limit: The number of hours you can stream per month.
  • Branding: Customization options to ensure your live videos have branded elements like your brand logo, overlays, backgrounds, etc.
  • Multistreaming: The feature to stream to different platforms at once so that you can expand your audience reach.
  • Pricing: The amount of money you’d have to spend to enjoy the features you want.

The best free social streaming platforms in 2022

YouTube Live

YouTube Live was a 2008 event streamed live on the Internet from San Francisco and Tokyo. It was launched November 22–23, 2008. It was hosted by a variety of YouTube celebrities, including The Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am, Tom Dickson of Will It Blend, Michael Buckley, The Happy Tree Friends, Fred, Smosh, Esmée Denters, Bo Burnham and singer Katy Perry among others. On April 8, 2011, the channel was closed, effectively removing all videos. It was replaced by the YouTube live section page.

Jordinian Queen Rania was also honoured at the event with the first ever YouTube Visionary Award for her efforts to combat stereotypes and misconceptions associated with Arabs and Muslims. With over 3 million views, Queen Rania created her own channel on YouTube in March 2008 to start an international conversation, which she called “unscripted, unedited and unfiltered”.

As a sponsor for the event, Flip Video gave away a free Flip Video Mino to many of the audience members to record any of the event. A station to upload videos to YouTube from the Mino was also provided, and promoted, in sponsorship of Flip.

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The event was meant to be an annual show, as referenced by Katy Perry at the beginning; however, it remains the only event to date.

Facebook Live

In August 2015, Facebook began to allow users to live stream video. Streams appear on the News Feed, and users can comment on them in real-time. Live broadcasts are automatically saved as a video post to the streamer’s page. The feature was positioned as a competitor to services such as Meerkat and Periscope.

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The feature was initially available only to verified public figures through the Facebook Mentions app (which is also exclusive to these users). Live streaming began to roll out for public use in January 2016, beginning with the Facebook iOS app in the United States.

In April 2016, Facebook unveiled a live-streaming API, aimed to allow developers to use any device, including professional video cameras and drones, to integrate with the live-video streaming platform. Facebook also updated its mobile app to provide a dedicated section for showcasing current and recent live broadcasts. To drive its adoption, Facebook provided incentives to publishers and celebrities to perform live broadcasts, including monetary rewards.

In March 2017, Facebook extended live-streaming support to PCs. In May, Facebook Live was updated on iOS to let two users livestream together, and the following month, Facebook added support for closed captioning to live video. This is limited to the CEA-608 standard, a notable difference from the automatic closed captioning available for Page videos that are recorded and then uploaded, due to difficulties in adapting the same standard at scale on the low-latency real-time nature for live content.

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At the end of 2017, Facebook Live was updated to offer support for livestreaming Facebook Messenger games.

LinkedIn Live Video

LinkedIn Live Video allows approved members and Pages to broadcast live video content to a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn Page, or Event.

If you’d like to become a LinkedIn Live broadcaster, review Live Video access criteria.

If you believe you meet this criteria, you can:

  1. Create an event on LinkedIn to generate an automatic check to see whether you are eligible. If you are, you will be able to choose LinkedIn Live in the event format dropdown.
  2. Auto-apply if you’ll be going live using certain third-party broadcast tools.
  3. Turn on creator mode on your LinkedIn profile for access to creator tools.
    Note: We are gradually rolling out creator tool access to all members in the coming months. During this time, it may not yet be available to you. To find out if you have access, visit the creator mode edit hub . If you have access, you will see the Creator tools section when you visit the edit hub. If you do not yet see this section, please check back in the coming weeks.

All three pathways above will perform the same check to see whether you meet our access criteria. Only members and Pages who’ve received access via one of the pathways can become LinkedIn Live broadcasters.

If you do not meet one or more of our criteria, we will not grant you access. If you would like to be reconsidered, you can check again after 30 days, if you feel that your status has changed.

Note: All Live Videos are public and will be recorded. After a stream is complete, it will remain on the feed of your LinkedIn profile or Page as a video that was “Previously recorded live.”

If you receive access, you can follow these steps to start streaming:

  1. Choose a Streaming Tool: Depending on your level of expertise with streaming, you can choose to go live using a third-party broadcast tool or a custom stream (RTMP). With either option, you can consider scheduling your live stream in advance to promote it on or off LinkedIn.
  2. Leverage Broadcaster Features: Once you have set up your live stream, explore broadcaster features to optimize your live videos and achieve your goals.
  3. Stream Quality, Professional Content: To produce professional content, be sure to follow these guidelines and best practices. For best streaming results, use these encoder settings.
  4. Troubleshoot Issues: If you’re running into errors during the set up or streaming process, try these troubleshooting recommendations.

Review our LinkedIn Live Broadcasting- FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.

Twitter Live

Twitter is the place to see what’s happening in the world—from breaking news to major live events. You can easily create live videos to share what’s happening live from your Twitter account.

How to start a live video:

Step 1 Tap the  icon from the composer.

Step 2 Tap Live at the bottom selector.

Step 3 Fill in an optional description that will appear as a Tweet, and a location if desired.

Step 4 Tap Go live. Your live broadcast, with description and location (if added), will appear in a Tweet in your followers’ timelines and on your profile.

Twitch Live

Start your own Twitch channel and build a community around games, music, cooking, or whatever you’re into. Twitch is an American video live streaming service that focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of esports competitions, in addition to offering music broadcasts, creative content, and “in real life” streams. It is operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

Go Love From a mobile device:

Download the Twitch app for iOS or Android and log into your account. Tap your profile icon in the top left corner, then tap the Go Live! button to start your first stream.

Another mobile option is Dolby On for iOS or Android. Sign in to your Twitch account, hit “Go Live” and you’re streaming with noise reduction and dynamic EQ for great sound from your phone. Make sure you have another device handy (a phone with Twitch app or computer) so you can set your category to “Music” and read and respond to your chat.

Go Live From a Mac/PC desktop or laptop:

For the best audio quality, you can download streaming software like Twitch Studio (PC/Mac) or Streamlabs OBS (PC/Mac).

Twitch Studio is designed to make it easy for you to quickly set up your stream and go live. The Twitch Studio tutorial will walk you through setting up your webcam and audio inputs.

Another software option is Streamlabs OBS where you can follow a brief tutorial to connect your Twitch account and set up your stream.

TikTok Live

TikTok, known in China as Douyin (Chinese: 抖音; pinyin: Dǒuyīn), is a video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes. TikTok is an international version of Douyin, which was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016. TikTok was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in most markets outside of mainland China; however, it became available worldwide only after merging with another Chinese social media service, Musical.ly, on 2 August 2018.

TikTok LIVE is the place to be for real-time fun, expression, and creativity. On LIVE, you can find unexpected connections and endless possibilities to create. It’s the place to be for all Creators, because it’s the place to be you.

Just like with regular short-form TikTok videos, you have access to filters, effects, and camera control. But unlike the former, there are no limits on your recording time when you go LIVE.

TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other’s content. Their servers are each based in the market where the respective app is available. The two products are similar, but features are not identical. Douyin includes an in-video search feature that can search by people’s faces for more videos of them and other features such as buying, booking hotels and making geo-tagged reviews. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok and Douyin rapidly gained popularity in virtually all parts of the world. TikTok surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide in October 2020.

Instagram Live

You can start a live broadcast to connect with your followers in real time. Once a live broadcast has ended, you can share a replay or access it in your Live Archive.

To start a live broadcast from the Instagram app

  • Swipe right anywhere in Feed, then scroll to Live at the bottom.
  • To add a title, tap Title on the left and enter a title, then tap Add title.
  • Tap  at the bottom. The number of viewers appears at the top of the screen and comments appear at the bottom.
  • You can add a comment by tapping Comment at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap a comment and tap Pin comment to pin it so that viewers can see it more easily.
  • When you’re done, tap End in the top right then tap to confirm. From there, you can tap  in the top left to save it to your camera roll, or share it to your profile.

Keep in mind that when you save your live broadcast to your profile or download the broadcast from Live Archive, only the broadcast is saved, and not things like comments, likes and viewers. It may take a minute for your live broadcast to save to your phone, especially for longer videos.

Managing a live broadcast

  • To turn comments off, tap more options (iPhone) or more options (Android) at the bottom, then tap Turn off commenting. Keep in mind that any keyword filters you’ve turned on will also apply to comments on your live broadcast.
  • To turn off requests to go live with you, tap more options (iPhone) or more options (Android) at the bottom, then tap Turn off requests to go live.
  • If you’re on an iOS device, you can tap  in the bottom right to add photos and videos from your camera roll to your live video. To stop displaying your photo or video, swipe right on your camera roll below and tap . Keep in mind that only you can see the photos and videos in your camera roll while you’re sharing a live broadcast. This won’t be available in a live room with guests.

Clubhouse Live

When one of your friends invites you to the Clubhouse app, you can join and create a profile. Once you’re set up, you’ll have access to all the ongoing conversations, and you can hop from one room to the next. In each room, one or more people will be speaking, and you can either sit back and listen or “raise your hand” to have the moderator call on you and allow you to jump into the discussion. Each room and moderator has slightly different rules for participation.

If you lose interest in the room you’re in, you can simply “leave quietly” and head to another room. Rooms can contain a few people or a thousand. The conversations you see on your home feed, called the “hallway,” are based on which people in the app you follow. You can also search for people or keywords to find conversations that interest you.

Mixcloud Live

Mixcloud Live is a tool for creators to livestream music and video, legally and ethically.

There are now two ways to go live on Mixcloud:

  1. Through your browser using Mixcloud Live studio
  2. Through third party software, like OBS

To learn how to go live through your browser, read our guide here.
To learn how to go live through third party software, keep reading for the steps below.

What do I need to broadcast live on Mixcloud using third party software?

You’ll need the following:

  • a subscription to Mixcloud Pro. Find out more about this subscription here
  • a computer capable of live streaming
  • a steady internet connection
  • streaming software. See our guide to these here
  • a webcam if you want visuals as well

YouTube Gaming Live

When it comes to creating video content, YouTube is at the top of the game. Whether you already have a following and want to expand or you are starting from the beginning, it is relatively easy to set up your YouTube channel so that you can start streaming.

Facebook Gaming Live

Before you begin
  1. Set up a gaming video creator Page.
  2. Choose an encoder.
How to launch a live stream on Facebook Gaming
  1. Go to the Creator portal.
  2. Click Create live stream.
  3. Under Choose where to post your live broadcast, select your gaming video creator Page.
  4. Copy the stream key and/or server URL and paste into the settings of your streaming software.
    • Don’t share your stream key. Anyone who has access to it can stream video to your post.
  5. Under Service select Facebook live.
  6. Go to your streaming software and start streaming. You’ll see a preview of your stream on Facebook where the server URL and stream key are displayed.
  7. In the Creator portal, tag the game and write a description for your followers.
  8. Click Go Live to begin your stream.

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