How do I host successful socials with Preciate Social?

A guide with easy steps for hosting successful socials.

Preciate Social provides a new and refreshing way to socialize virtually with your colleagues. You no longer have to sit quietly on large conference calls as one person tries to have a conversation with everyone else. You can move around your social, effortlessly moving between groups and have individual conversations as if you were all together physically. As a host, you've spent time in Rooms and are on your way to becoming an expert host; however, for many of your guests, Preciate Social will be a brand new experience. As with any new and exciting technology, some of your guests will need to acclimate to how a Room works. Below is helpful information that you as a host can use and share with your guests so that everyone can be prepared for your social. Following the advice below will set you and your socials up for success!

Supported Browsers

Preciate Social is available on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge browsers. Preciate Social Rooms also require that users be on the most up-to-date versions of their browsers. Luckily, these browsers have automatic upgrades, which means that users should not be prompted to upgrade very often. For help on updating your browser, please reference this article.

As a browser-based application, the technology we use depends on the browser. Because of this, having updated versions is critical to ensuring the best experience for you and your guests.

Some companies have IT control over their employee's browser configuration. This means that IT controls whether or not the browser is updated. If your browser says that it is running the latest version, but you are still being prompted by Preciate Social to upgrade please reach out to your IT about upgrading your browser or try with another supported browser.

Network Conditions

We've all experienced poor quality and dropped calls at some point on a web conference call. The truth is that sharing audio and video over the internet means that bandwidth and network conditions will have an impact on quality. Preciate Social is no different. To create the optimal conditions for your social, follow the guidelines below.

  • Make sure you're on strong wifi. Bandwidth requirements depend on the number of users you're connecting with in your social. The more users you're interacting with the more bandwidth is required to share their video and audio with you. 

For larger Rooms, make sure that you have up to 30 Mbps download and up to 10 Mbps upload. If you're sharing wifi with other individuals that are also in your Room, each individual will require the same bandwidth.

  • Network Firewalls that block UDP connections can result in overall poor quality or inability to join. UDP is a type of internet protocol that provides for an optimal transport of video and audio media. Some company networks block these connections by default. If you suspect that your company is blocking these types of connections, please reach out to your IT department.
  • VPNs can also lead to overall poor quality. Depending on your bandwidth speeds, VPNs can restrict the bandwidth and increase latency as your video and audio have further to travel to reach your colleagues. If possible, do not use Preciate Social while on your VPN.

Poor network conditions can result in laggy or frozen videos, laggy or frozen movement, and dropped connections.

Device Performance

Like network conditions, another major contributor to overall performance is the type of device that you use. Preciate Social can only be used at this time by laptops or desktops. Tablets and mobile devices are not supported. Preciate Social is a resource-intensive application. The reason for this is related to the exciting and refreshing way that it allows users to interact with many people at once. The more people that you are interacting with the more your browser has to work to process those video and audio streams. Because of this, older machines (often greater than 3 years old) will likely struggle to keep up in a social Room. To set you and your guests up for success, please follow the recommendations below:

  • Close all other applications and tabs. This will let your browser have access to most of the resources it needs. Plus, a Preciate Social Room isn't a typical work meeting where you want to multi-task with the million other items on your plate! Close those applications and start connecting with your colleagues.
  • Plug in your machine. With any resource-intensive application, your machine is going to start consuming battery life. Save the frantic search for your cord and plug in at the start.
  • Spread Out! Remember that for each person you're interacting with your machine has to process their audio and video. If you are trying to group up with everyone in the Room, you will experience a degradation in quality. To alleviate this, spread out within the Room and interact with smaller groups of individuals. Preciate Social is not designed to support massive groups of people all talking together. That's what other web conferencing tools provide and something that we feel does not cultivate authentic relationship building.

If your machine struggles with performance, you may experience freezing and may eventually be disconnected from the Room. Following the outlines above should largely prevent this. In the case that you continue to experience freezing and disconnecting, please reach out to support@preciate.com where a member of our team will help troubleshoot what may be happening.

Groups

Part of the magic of Preciate Social is how sound dynamically changes the same way it does within a physical space. That being said, when you want to talk to someone, you should be able to hear them clearly. That's why we created groups. Within Rooms, groups are created naturally and organically as you move closer to other individuals. Groups are indicated by a ring showing around each person's bubble and the view will adjust automatically so that everyone can see each other at once. Below is a picture of the Preciate team in a group!

 

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Groups have a limit of 10 users. We do this because the more individuals involved in a big conversation the less engaging the conversation becomes. You can only effectively communicate with a small group of people before it quickly becomes like every other web conferencing call with a screen full of unengaged and quiet squares. If you try to join a group that is already at 10 people, you'll see a message that encourages you to spread out and form other groups. 

Audio

Audio behaves differently in Rooms than it does in other applications. Below are a few things you can do to increase your audio experience:

  • Use headphones with a mic. While using Preciate Social without headphones will work, in almost every case, using a set of headphones with a mic will provide a better experience. Most headphones have better quality mics and are closer to your voice which does impact the audio quality. Wearing headphones will usually result in your being heard better by your colleagues and eliminates the potential for echo or feedback.

Echo or feedback is usually caused by sound coming from your speaker and going back into your mic. Wearing headphones will eliminate echo. For more help in troubleshooting echo and feedback, please refer to this article.

  • Use your audio controls. You have control over the volume of the background music as well as the ability to mute other users. Muting other users only mutes them for you. If someone is nearby and talking loudly, you can mute them by hovering over their bubble. This can be helpful in eliminating a distracting voice nearby while you engage in your conversation.
  • Move over. Just like in real life, if there is someone talking loudly in the group next to you, move to the other side of the group or ask the group to move over. Preciate Social Rooms dynamically adjust in size, so even in large Rooms, there is enough space for everyone to spread out. 

Managing Multiple Rooms

Depending on your subscription plan, you may be able to host or coordinate multiple Rooms at the same time. A common use case for this is hosting a company party or event where the whole company is invited, which means more than 100 people will be attending. The success of this event will depend largely on your preparation as a host. A couple helpful hints that we've seen contribute to success:

  • Do a practice run. Before you invite the whole company, make sure you do a practice run. We recommend getting familiar with having multiple Rooms open at once and having one large social so that you can see how people will acclimate and will likely identify any network or resource challenges before your event.
  • Train a couple of team members as super users. Having some of your team members become familiar and experts in navigating Preciate Social Rooms will make it easier for you. Your super users can act as guides in the Room and provide any coaching to your guests as needed. We've seen this be very successful, especially in encouraging people to spread out and avoid bunching together.
  • Communicate a plan to your guests about whom to reach out to with questions or issues. This is another area where Super Users can help field questions in case one of your guests is having trouble getting in or moving around. As a host, you'll want to focus on entertaining and moving around the Room. Without the help of other Super Users, it's possible you may end up spending more time out of the Room than in it.
  • Let your guests know what to expect. Share Preciate with them ahead of the event and ask them to sign up in advance and create a Room. While your subscription will allow for advanced features, any free user of Preciate can host a social for up to 40 mins.

Refresh

Finally, as a browser-based application, the tried and true approach to resolving browser issues is to simply refresh the page. If something appears to not be working optimally, please try refreshing the page and rejoining the social. 

If something does appear off or issues do persist even with refreshing, please email support@preciate.com and a team member will assist you in resolving your issue.