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Community members who want to follow a Board of Selectmen’s meeting, or any meeting being broadcast on the town’s cable access channel, can now do so by going to Facebook.
The idea was first broached by Selectman Christopher Carreiro, chair of the Swansea Cable Access Oversight Committee. Swansea Cable Access now uses BoxCast to stream its live feed of meetings to Facebook and to archive all its videos in the cloud.
Adam Kitchen, director of operations for Swansea Cable Access, said BoxCast provides a device the size of an external hard drive called The BoxCaster. The video and audio feed is connected to the BoxCaster, which is then connected to the computer with a standard ethernet cable. Then on the BoxCast website (www.boxcast.com), Kitchen schedules when he wants the video to air live on Facebook through the platform’s relatively new Facebook Live feature.
“So if you have a selectmen meeting at 6:30, you can have it run from 6:30 to 8:30,” he said. “It’ll make a post on your Facebook page when 6:30 comes around and then you can name it. So it’s pretty simple to use. BoxCast made it pretty easy.”
The Facebook Live feature allows viewers to post reactions, in the same way they can to other Facebook posts. So “liking” what someone says in the video shows up as a timestamp within the video, and viewers can comment on the feed directly. Kitchen said he monitors comments, but the majority of them are likes or other expressions available through Facebook.
The BoxCaster simultaneously shows the live video on the Swansea Cable Access website, for non-Facebook users.
After the broadcast is complete, BoxCast automatically stores the video on its website, allowing cloud-based archiving of meetings and the ability to post the video to other websites.
The BoxCaster device is provided as a rental, Kitchen said, as part of the $129 per month the Cable Access channel pays for the service.