‘Twas the Hangout before Christmas, when all through the net #Eventprofs were stirring, their email to get; The BEOs were hung on clipboards with care, In hopes that the caterers soon would be there; Attendees were nestled all snug in their chairs; While visions of aerialists danced in the air; And friends on their laptops, and I on my Mac, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s hack, When out on Twitter there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my Steelcase to see what was the matter. Away to my browser I flew like a flash, Quick opened a new tab and beefed up the cache. The glow of the screen on my new bluetooth keyboard, Gave a lustre of ROI promised reward, When what to my wondering eyes did arrive, But a whole slew of tweets and +Thom Singer alive With @PinkDeb+Brandt Krueger+Brad Wilson — a riot! Followed by +Dan Parks & dear +Jenise Fryatt +Sue Pelletier+Brad Wilson+Andrea Gold — a battalion! +Heidi Thorne+Elizabeth Glau & +KiKi L’Italien So I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: Now +Tahira Endean, you grand superstar +Anne Thornley-Brown+Dahlia El Gazzar To the top of the page! to the top of the list! Duck under the velvet rope, come to be kissed! As leaves that before the room turnover rise, When they meet with an obstacle, we all improvise; So up to the hangout the #eventprofs they flew With the click of a mouse, and some first-timers too Appeared on the chat with a beer in their hand Or an old-fashioned cocktail (all fresh, nothing canned)…
So come join us shortly if that’s what you’d like If we say we can’t hear you please unmute your mike!
Here’s a one hour video of a Hangout On Air that Jenise Fryatt & I held July 24, 2012 on Moderating Twitter Chats.
To decide whether this is a valuable use of your time I’ve listed below the topics and tips we covered from our summary notes.
Introduction – 5 minutes Jenise & me intros – poll of participants; brief answers; tweet if watching – Q1) who wants to start a new chat? moderate an existing chat; chat name? – Q2) what’s the most important thing you’d like to get out of this hangout?
Set up – 12 minutes Presence on the web – 2 minutes helpful to have permanent place for chat on web: wiki, WordPress site – include schedule, format, rules, chat archives (use Storify)
Chat formats – 3 minutes fixed or rotating moderators 1+ moderators on busy chats topic based guest(s) pre-announced questions moderator asks pre-determined questions to all to guests first, and then opens up discussion
Choosing a topic – 2 minutes something that can be usefully covered in an hour appealing “how to do something” “tips for doing something” controversial current topic
Tools – 3 minutes Tweetchat http://tweetchat.com/ TweetDeck/HootSuite columns chat hashtag; mentions; DMs columns use when you don’t want hashtag at end of tweet keep as a backup in case Tweetchat goes down/is slow (rare)
Preparation – 2 minutes gather up topic links in advance crowdsourced topics http://www.allourideas.org/epchat write out Qs in advance so you can paste them into your Twitter client
Running the chat – 23 minutes Protocol – 2 minutes welcome as many participants as you can encourage first-timers, lurkers to tweet
Welcome everyone – 4 minutes moderator intro (write out in advance include welcome, your name, who your with, topic for today and welcome guest if any) participant intros, including ice-breakers possibilities: names, company, location ice-breaker question: favorite candy, unusual experience etc.
Heart of the chat -12 minutes asking questions concentrate on making them clear (in advance?) make tweets stand-alone participants often RT questions number them Q1), Q2) and ask participants to answer w/ A1) A2) keep track of time; have a plan for time available to get through Qs you’ve prepared but be flexible if circumstances dictate don’t be rushed by anything; don’t feel bad if you miss a tweet or two, we are human; can always go back after the chat & respond then consider ignoring trollish/annoying behaviour
end of chat – 5 minutes ask for takeaways thank moderators, guests mention next topic/guest(s)/time describe where/when archive will be posted
Post-chat – 8 minutes use Storify for archives (login first, click on save regularly, laggy!) Jenise: can add rich media (videos) to Storify; create threads (subheads, move Tweets around)
Adrian is am actively looking for moderators for the #eventprofs chat crowdsourced topics http://www.allourideas.org/epchat
On May 7, 2012 Google opened up Google Hangouts On Air (HOA)—a free service for broadcasting and recording live video with up to 10 participants—to all Google+ users. Six weeks later, the night before edACCESS 2012 started at the Peddie School in New Jersey, I decided to try using Google Hangouts On Air to stream and then archive the conference keynote. A couple of edACCESS old-timers who couldn’t attend in person this year had asked me if there was any way we could stream any of the “public” conference sessions. I had nothing to lose by trying out this new technology.
Here’s what I did, what I learned, and how things turned out.
Google Hangouts On Air preparation First I created an empty Google+ Circle and went through the process of creating a test Hangout On Air. This allowed me to get familiar with the process and check in advance for any potential problems. I was able to successfully view myself streaming, and see how the stream turned into a YouTube video once I ended the Hangout. This gave me the confidence to announce through social media channels that the stream would be available. (Though I neglected to figure out how to provide a link to the stream in advance).
Peddie’s charming and efficient Director of Academic Technology provided a laptop with a decent external webcam and we circled each other on Google+ so I could add her computer to the hangout on the morning of the keynote. (Important note: you cannot invite people to a hangout unless they’ve added you to one of their circles first.) I decided to use her computer to stream video and audio of the keynote speaker, and my trusty 17″ MacBook Pro with built in webcam to setup the hangout and publicize and monitor the feed.
To broadcast Hangouts on Air you must have a linked and verified YouTube account associated with your Google login. This linked account will be where the broadcast stream, and later the video recording will appear. You only need to set up this linkage once, but I strongly suggest you do so (and test it) before your first HOA. Verification is apparently necessary if you want to save a hangout that lasts longer than fifteen minutes!
Showtime! Ten minutes before the keynote was due to begin I started a hangout in the usual way by clicking on the START A HANGOUT button on the Google+ hangouts tab. Then I added Emily to the invitee list, named the hangout, checked the option “Enable Hangouts On Air” (and agreed to the warning dialog), and clicked the Hang out button. This led to a normal-looking hangout window, with the addition of an Embed link and a Start Broadcast button at the top right.
Once Emily accepted my invitation, we were nearly good to go. The big picture feed in a hangout is switched to the webcam with the loudest audio. I wanted to avoid having the stream switch away from Emily’s webcam so I muted the microphone on my computer by hovering over my small video window at the bottom and clicking on the microphone icon.
But I still needed to share a link to the stream so that anyone could watch. Clicking the Embed link on the Hangout page I obtained the embed code for the stream and quickly created a blog post with the embedded keynote stream. This embedded a YouTube player onto the page. Visitors could watch the live Hangout On Air directly from the page, as well as on Google+ and my YouTube channel. (Note: once the broadcast is over, this link points automatically to the resulting YouTube video post.) I checked the blog page to ensure the video looked OK before we went live. Then I tweeted the page link to the blog page.
[Later I discovered that when the hangout is starting, if you right-click on the timestamp of the Google+ post that announces the hangout you will also get a link to the stream.]
We were ready!
By this time the speaker was being introduced. I clicked the Start Broadcast button and we went live.
While hosting the hangout on my computer I could watch the broadcast stream, delayed by 5-10 seconds, in another browser window. Pretty cool! I also noticed that an updating count of stream viewers was displayed on the hangout page. Also cool!
After a few minutes I realized that seeing my face at the bottom of the hangout was distracting, so I turned off my camera.
Then I received a tweet from my friend Ruud Janssen in Switzerland(!) who was watching. He asked if I could use my camera to show the slides as the main video, moving the video of the speaker to a small window at the bottom of the screen. This made sense, so I turned my laptop round, pointed it at the slide screen, and clicked on its window to make the slides the main video for the stream. This worked well. (I should have thought of this earlier. Next time I will explore using a tool like CamTwist to pipe presenter slides directly into a hangout feed.)
Unlike a regular hangout, where any participant can override the camera switching that Google normally does, the main window for a Hangout On Air is either determined automatically from the webcam with the loudest audio or by the person streaming the hangout. So I became the camera operator. When the speaker asked for and answered questions, I chose Emily’s webcam. When he began speaking again, I returned to the slides as the main video.
We had no audience microphone, so I asked the speaker to repeat audience questions. That allowed stream followers to hear questions and they’d be included on the final YouTube video. Next time we could add a small netbook webcam to the hangout and have a volunteer run it round as a mike (and video) for audience questions.
When the keynote was over I simply clicked End broadcast. After about ten minutes, a recorded video of the 105 minute hangout automatically posted to my YouTube channel as well as the post on my Google+ Page, and the embed post on my blog. At this point I was able to edit the video information on YouTube. Now it appeared in my YouTube Channel with the same title I had given the hangout. Apparently you can use YouTube’s tools to edit the video itself, but I didn’t do this.
Conclusion Broadcasting this impromptu stream only required a small amount of preparation. Upon completion the stream automatically turns into a standard permanent YouTube video. The ease and quality of the result pleases me. Sure, it’s not a professional broadcast and recording. But for the cost (free!) and minimal effort required, Google Hangouts On Air provides an attractive solution for streaming and archiving events that will fill many needs. I recommend you try out this approach for a low-profile event.
– You can join a Hangout twice from two different devices. This will let you put up screenshots, videos, etc in another pane. – Create an intro screen graphic beforehand that introduces the Hangout. Run this in your hangout for the first 5 minutes before you start.