Make the most of your SaveYour.Town video by holding a virtual watch party

In-person watch parties have been the best way to build community using SaveYour.Town videos. In the era of social distancing, that’s just not practical. What you can still do is hold a virtual watch party. 

WHAT IS A VIRTUAL WATCH PARTY?
A Virtual Watch Party is when you invite others in your community to watch one of our videos and discuss it using video conferencing or even a phone call. You’ll be learning together, even though you’re physically apart. 

WHY HOST A VIRTUAL WATCH PARTY?
Community happens when people talk to each other. That doesn’t change even as we are keeping our distance from each other. 

It’s all part of the Idea Friendly method. You make your community more Idea Friendly when you start to Gather Your Crowd, Build Connections and Take Small Steps. Holding a virtual watch party helps you do all that: you Gather Your Crowd when you invite people to join in watching the video. You Build Connections as people discuss what they’ve learned through chat or video conference. You Take Small Steps when you start taking action right away.

Even if you and one friend watch the video and discuss it, that’s a Virtual Watch Party. You’re changing the future of your town.
WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO DO A VIRTUAL WATCH PARTY?
You can share your username and password with others so they can watch on their own at any time, then you can discuss it on a group phone call, video chat or even group messaging.  We do ask that you share your username and password with people inside your community or local organization only. Sharing with everyone in your state-wide or province-wide organization, for example, would be uncool.  

Your friends can watch the video from any device, any screen that can load a web page and play a YouTube video. Any PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phone or tablet, smart TV or TV with a streaming box or stick should work. You can each test your setup by playing the video on this page. If that works, you should be good to go.

For the discussion after you each watch the video, you can use any tool you already know how to use to get a group together virtually. You could use Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or any other video meeting tool you like, any conference call service you already have, or you can bring together multiple iPhone users with FaceTime. You could use group messaging or group texting, too. 

If you don’t have a group calling tool you like, ask your friends. One of them may have a solution. 

HOW DO YOU WATCH TOGETHER USING VIDEO CONFERENCING LIKE ZOOM?
This is a good choice if you’re comfortable using a video conferencing tool. I’ll refer to Zoom in these instructions, but you can use any video conferencing tool you choose. Make sure your tool allows you to share the computer audio as well as a video. Zoom works. If you know of other tools that work, let us know. 

Pick a date and time. Set up your meeting through Zoom. Send the Zoom meeting invitation to your friends. They can watch from their computer or laptop, or they can use the Zoom app on their phones or tablets to watch. 

During your virtual watch party, you’ll open the page with the SaveYour.Town video you want to play. Share your screen where the video is playing and share your computer audio so everyone can hear. 

After the video is over, hang around in your Zoom meeting and discuss it. There are some discussion questions to get you started on the same page where you played the video. 
WHO SHOULD YOU INVITE?
  • your best friends who are your reliable partners in crime (and non-crime)
  • people with positive attitudes who take action
  • people who care about your town

ANYTHING ELSE?
Remember, this is not a meeting, and you are not writing a plan. This is an opportunity to get right to work and enjoy it while you do. You and your crowd will make immediate contributions to your community. 

The days of just a few officials making all the decisions in the backroom for your community are over. Today you are crowdsourcing your future, and the everyday actions taken by all of you will shape what kind of town you will be.

Feel free to email either of us if you have further questions.

You can adapt both of these for virtual watch parties