I guess I’m a YouNow Artist now! If you told me a year ago, or even three months ago, that I would be live broadcasting using my smart phone taped to a tripod at midnight, I would have probably laughed. Not even that, I would have checked you in a mental institution. After all – I’m not a talker! As it should be clear by now from my voiceovers, that is not something I do all that well. And, interestingly enough, that was the main reason why I joined the family of YouNow Broadcasters recently.
[section_title icon=”” text=”SHOULD YOU BE DOING THE SAME? MAYBE. MAYBE NOT.”]
The YouNow website is a free live broadcasting platform. I keep thinking about it as Twitch but for personalities, which might be a bad way to view it, but it works for me. People gather there to listen to and support singers and songwriters, some artists, dancers, gamers, and, well, just anybody who is willing to turn their camera on and chat! It has a very chill atmosphere all around, even though the platform has some issues here and there. If you’ve been thinking about it but are still on the fence, I’ll give you my reasoning behind joining, how I am tailoring the experience to match my personality and career goals, and what are the pros and cons that I’ve found so far. In the end I’m hoping that you’ll be able to have a better view of the site and make your own decision on whether it’s worth your time.
If you’re like me, you keep getting notifications on your phone or desktop that a youtuber went live on YouNow. And I’m however pretty sure I’m the only one that thought “Hey, YouTube called their live streams YouNow? Smart!” I didn’t go trough any of those notifications for a shameful amount of time because they would usually pop-up at night or while I’m playing with the baby(is that how they call getting your hair pulled out by little baby hands nowadays?). Once I opened it, I was still like… Why is YouTube green? Watched a broadcast, left, and didn’t come back on it for months.
Recently I registered for Twitch and started setting it up. When I got to the point where I had to actually turn the mic on (note: the mic is still just my Android phone) I chickened out and started looking for ways to practice. That’s when I got one more of those YouNow notifications trough YouTube, and it zapped me! Yes! I can try it out there! It’s still a live stream, but it didn’t seem to be filled with too many YouNow artists so I assumed not that many people would watch me. This meant I could be calmer and less stressed out about it.
[section_title icon=”” text=”AND SO THE RESEARCH STARTED – TO BE OR NOT TO BE A YOUNOW ARTIST?”]
Confusing the app for YouTube could not have made me feel dumber, because it has very little to do with YouTube to be honest, other than the like button on the video maybe. First thing’s first – there are no ads to be found, at least for now. The videos are spread out trough tags that I decided to look at as categories because otherwise it made no sense to me. People can like your video… and they can like it 2000 times. Now THAT was something that took me a while to comprehend, and it is still kind of weird. I take it as a boost – if people like your content they give you “likes” to boost it higher in the tag/category, and that way more people find you. They can also send you stickers to show some love, and the famous people also get tips, although I have only seen one artist be at that stage, so I wouldn’t go in there with the hopes to become a partner with drawing if I were you. Just saying, you do you.
You’ll see a repeating theme here – I “look at it” and “take it” the way it makes sense to me because it’s quite different from what I’ve experienced with YouTube until now, and that approach works for me as a new user. If you’re getting in there for the very first time I believe it’s easy to have some sort of a “map” on what is what and how it works.
A huge con for the site is the app. I have no idea if it is the same with iOS devices, but on Android it is having a lot of issues. Mainly – it crashes like crazy, sometimes wouldn’t let you in, and doesn’t like streaming all that much when you’re outside.
[section_title icon=”” text=”NOW LET ME EXPLAIN THEM ONE BY ONE”]
The crashing I guess I could live with, all it gets to fix is a “try to close and open it again” approach usually. The chat doesn’t load from time to time but you can still hear the broadcaster so you can interact with them. Sometimes your page doesn’t load all that fast, or the app decides you’re not connected to the internet (for a day and a half I thought I got banned or suspended because it would NOT load no matter what). But as I said, I could live with that.
The worst thing so far – the streaming from the app sucks. It would not care that I have 4GB of 4G on my phone – it would not load and broadcast most of the time, so there goes my dream to have a scheduled drawing at a cafe. It does not care that I’m connected to WiFi unless I’m at home – it switches to my 4G, and as I mentioned – it would not like it. And the worst thing of all – IT MIRRORS THE IMAGE! I didn’t find how to turn that off and I hope there is a way, if there is please let me know. But if you’re drawing you know that your mirrored image usually doesn’t look all that great until you keep flipping the screen to fix it.
In the end though, I have obviously not stopped using it even though I can whine about things like that for days. The environment is chill and accepting, you can find all types of topics and people there, with all types of set ups and content. The streams are not recorded, so in a way even if you fuck up – so what, nobody will ever see it again. Excuse my french.
I let myself have fun with it – I have random broadcasts where I finish old pieces and just try and chat with people to get used to thinking in English on the spot, or I record while I’m having a walk in the rare occasions the app works fine outdoors. But the main thing I’m trying to do there is to doodle people’s doodles. This way I feel like both sides get something out of it, it’s fun and I’m able to engage better with, well, YOU guys! I have request sessions going on along social media (you might want to check out Instagram, just saying), but they are pretty specific for various reasons, and the doodles are just that – doodles. Not too much time is invested, it’s fun and some very weird results could occur in the end, which I l o v e about this.
[section_title icon=”” text=”FINAL THOUGHTS”]
At the end of the day, every site has its high and low points. In my opinion it’s a good place to test things out without all the pressure from bigger platforms, but has enough cons for me to keep using it just for that. I don’t see myself doing anything more serious than some doodles and chatting while having a glass of wine at home. Plus, if you’re going to be drawing by yourself anyway for an hour or two, why not log in, share it and have a conversation about wtf is #sleepingsquad?
If you’d like to just be a part of the doodling session I share the broadcasts when they begin, because they are sporadic and not on a schedule yet, so either follow me on social or simply fan me on YouNow and you’ll get a ‘ding’ on your phone. Come say hi and tell me to draw a hat! Hats are cool.
MENTIONED or QUOTED:
YouNow Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=younow.live&hl=en
Request sessions: http://simplydikka.com/2017/01/simplydrawme/