Google+ has an awesome feature called Hangout that I just wanted to spotlight for a second. This is Google Plus’s video chat service for up to 10 participants at a time and it is really cool! If you ever wanted to do video interviews, this is your CAKE!
Essentially Google+ uses ‘circles’ to help you manage your friends and control who sees what information. Hangout is no different, and setting up a hangout with friends can either be a free-for-all or a strictly private one-on-one affair depending which ‘circle’ is invited. Those of you that are managing mailing lists and client lists will quickly see how this can be an amazing ‘inner circle’ upsell for high-level information sharing or support services to select people only.
To get a Hangout started is pretty simple. Just create a Circle for the purpose of the Hangout (you can delete it after the hangout) and add up to 10 participants to it. G+ maxes out at 10 people per hangout so just add those you know are going to attend.
Then simply click the Circle and on the right hand side you’ll see a green button called ‘Hangout’ – just click it and you will be taken to the green room where you wait for others to join. As soon as they turn up you’re on and you can chat to your hearts content.
Here’s a quick video that walks you through it.
And here’s an AMAZING video interview with Trey Ratcliff (photo blog wonderkid!) being interviewed by Frederick Van from This Week In Photography.
One note though, notice the other participants in this video are not contributing? In my opinion this isn’t the best use of the medium. If you don’t want people to participate, don’t invite them – ‘dead heads’ are no good on live video and bring nothing to the interview. A good interviewer would only have people on the Hangout that can contribute something, and would switch between the invited speakers to engage a broader conversation.
Here’s some other Quick Tips I gleaned from watching the video:
- Every time someone types a text chat it makes an alert sound which is distracting. I don’t know if there is a way to turn the audio alert off so Im going to look for it. If not, try disabling the text chat feature to avoid interruption.
- Notice at 13:45 a new Hangout attendee joins the session? The system immediately tries to give them screen time to introduce the new person, and Trey quickly moves to mute him. This is a current hazard as there is no way to ‘lock’ a Hangout to the current members only. If your Circle includes more than one person, and the other people are late this is what you can expect to happen. So be judicious in who you invite, and when you set your time to begin, ideally after ALL parties have arrived.
Technology-wise as far as I can tell both of these videos were created using Camtasia which records the screen during the Hangout and produces a MP4, MOV or WMV (all video formats) file which can then be uploaded to YouTube and shared across social media.
This is an EXCELLENT way to create content for your social media strategy and I highly recommend it for everyone. If writing is not your thing, try video interviews, they are engaging, easy to make, google LOVES them for SEO and your readers/audience will find them a high-value source of information that is easy to consume and easy to share.
How can you see yourself using this is in your business?
Comments below please 🙂