Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The 411 for coordinating a Google Hangout On Air

If you thought Google Hangouts were cool, you’ll find Google Hangouts On Air even cooler.  Check em out here.

Hangouts on Air are truly awesome, but coordinating them is tricky and takes some careful planning.  As educators, you’ll want to be especially aware of this because if you are not careful, you can have a situation like the one my friend Angela Maiers shared with me recently. Though it is funny it retrospect, it certainly wasn’t when unknown men joined the Hangout she was conducting and were less than professional.  Not only was it disruptive to the Hangout, but it rendered the recording useless. You can avoid embarrassment, chaos, and appearing unprofessional and unprepared by following these recommendations.

Recommendations for coordinating a Hangout On Air
6 things to do before you begin.
1)    Name it.
2)    Create a Google Circle for the up to ten people who will be participating directly.
3)    Create a Google Circle for those you want to invite to view the LiveStream.
4)    Share your Circles to invite those you want to view the Hangout to join in the way that makes most sense i.e. invite them to join, share via a site, event, Twitter hashtag, etc.
5)    Create a place for those not in the Hangout to chat. Some ideas include:
  • A room in Chatzy 
  • Twitter hashtag for those who want to chat via Tweeting.
  • Chat in a Facebook group (only available if you have less than 250 members).
  • Create a chat with a Google circle. Note: I haven't tried this and not sure if there is a limit to how many people can chat this way.
6)    Create a Google Event and/or Facebook Event  for each circle as appropriate i.e. only invite those you want in the On Air Hangout to that event and everyone else to the LiveStream.
Congratulations! You are ready to start broadcasting.
7 things to do when you are ready to begin.
1)    Visit plus.google.com/hangouts
When you get there go halfway down the page on the right-ish side and select “Start a Hangout On Air.
2)    Name the broadcast with the previously determined title.
3)    Invite the people you want to join.
·         This is where having a circle created comes in handy.
4)    Select “Start a Hangout On Air” again.
5)    Up on the top right you’ll see “Preparing Broadcast.” Next to that you’ll see the word “Embed.” Click that and you’ll get both an embed code for a site as well as a url to share.
Note: You’ll want to do this well in advance (an hour or two) of the broadcast so that participants will have a chance to get the code and tune in.
6)    Share that code in the following places.
·         Your websites and online spaces and places
·         The circle you created for livestreaming.
·         Tweet it using your Twitter hashtag
·         Share it in the location boxes of your events
7)    When you are ready, select “Start Broadcast.” When you do, you will be officially on air.
Google Hangouts On Air are a free, fantastic, and powerful tool. These steps and recommendations will help you make the most of your experience.  When you do, let me know what you think. Is there anything you would add or recommend doing differently?  If so, please share your knowledge in the comments below.

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Update:
Brian Bennett did a terrific job of explaining this in greater detail with screenshots and even more subtle intricacies in this post How To: Manage Hangouts On Air with Google+.  He was also kind enough to experiment with me live on how some of these things work.  I'll be playing with this more over the next few months because, well...doing is the best way to learn :)
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