I spent my Thursday night fielding questions about a first-person shooting game called Halo 4. Ask my husband, I’m not a video game girl.
Alas, I found myself hanging out with four video game journalists, including our own intrepid Steve Tilley, from across Canada talking about the tech scene’s latest shoot ‘em up installment. When I say hanging out I mean virtually on Google Hangout. The tool allows you to video chat in a group. There’s also the option of broadcasting your video chat live via YouTube. Here’s the link to the Halo 4 chat.
Here’s how I did it:
1) Ensure your writers, guests have a Gmail account.
2) This will give you access to all of Google’s cool tools, including Google+, the social tool everyone loves to diss. In G+ you’ll find a button on the right saying ‘Start a Hangout.’ (A redeeming feature of G+)
3) Select who you want in your Hangout. You can pick anyone who uses Google+ (i.e. has a Gmail account) and invite them to “hangout.” It’s easier if you make a circle and select all at once. See creating Google Circles.
Name your hangout and then be sure to select ‘Enable Hangouts On Air.’ This does two things: Allows you to broadcast live through YouTube (you need to have a YouTube account and connect it to Google+. It will prompt you to connect after you select enable hangouts on air) and records your broadcast at the same time. It works just like a regular YouTube video. You can embed it right into your website. Once you’re done the live event you can replay the video. Pretty darn cool.
Your participants need to have a computer with a built in video camera or a web cam. What’s amazing is the tool acts like its own camera woman, putting the spotlight on whomever is talking. It’s awesome. Tickles my techie heart.
So let’s change my headline: Let’s make that five geeks and a Google hangout.
You could interview anyone like this. You find a local who was visiting the UK when a massive storm hit; a panel of experts talking about an upcoming election. Controversial project? Pull in a panel of folks with opposing views. Great for readers, great for web hits. I used my Google Hangout in conjunction with a live blog to take reader questions.
If you have any more questions on how to do this let me know.