The topic: I’ll be answering questions! I get asked a lot of questions, about blogging and online-related things of all kinds. I’ll be answering some of them on Thursday.
I know a lot of you are unfamiliar with Hangouts on Air, so I thought I’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to hangout on air (and tell you about a cool example of marketing using a Hangout on Air).
What is a Hangout on Air?
Think of it like a live TV show, only online. And friendlier. And more casual.
(Also, people sometimes use “HOA” for short.)
Why Hangouts on Air?
Because they’re brilliant. On so many levels. Imagine being able to connect with people via video. You can see them, listen to them, ask questions of them and interact with them. And they’re fun.
Who came up with Hangouts on Air?
It’s a Google+ thing.
But I tried Google+ and it didn’t grab me…
I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about Google+ right? Frankly, my goal is to encourage you to move from Facebook to Google+ because a lot of the frustrations we deal with on Facebook are non-issues on Google+. And, there are some really cool things you can do with Google+. HOAs are just one. Plus, if you’re a blogger or website owner, there are some real benefits to being an active Google+ user (like Authorship), plus it opens the door some really great new marketing opportunities such as…
One of the coolest examples of using Hangouts on Air for marketing
So you may or may not know, a new Star Trek movie was released recently. I didn’t know about the movie…until I stumbled on the Hangout on Air the creators of the movies held a few weeks ago. Well, now I know. (See? Marketing at work!) Kudos to them because their HOA was a very clever part of their marketing strategy to get the word out about the movie. More than clever. They held a Hangout on Air with a real astronaut, IN SPACE. On the International Space Station. LIVE! How cool is that?
Does it cost anything?
Nope! It’s free for you to watch and free for me (or anyone) to host.
Do I need anything special to watch, participate in or host a Hangout on Air?
While you could watch a Hangout on Air without a Google+ account (that is, if you can find it on YouTube or if the host embeds it on their blog, for example), I highly encourage you to set up a Google+ account so you can make the most of the experience. It’s super easy to set up.
If you want to participate, by asking questions or commenting in the accompanying chat for example (this is half the fun!), you’ll need a Google+ account.
If you want to host a Hangout on Air, there are all kinds of resources you can use to get started. You might check out my Ultimate List of Google+ Tips for general help. I would also highly recommend circling Ronnie Bincer (a.k.a. The Hangout Helper) and checking out the plethora of resources, videos and tips he shares. I chatted with him the other day and he is a wealth of information.
OK fine, I signed up and I’ll give it a whirl. What now?
There are two main ways to find a Hangout on Air:
- Find someone who is hosting one and follow their links for info.
- Browse current and upcoming Hangouts on Air right from your Google+ profile.
How do I find your Hangout on Air, Amy?
I created an Event for my Hangout on Air which is happening on Thursday, June 6. You can follow this link to be taken directly to the Event page. Once there, you can RSVP by clicking “Yes” (when you do, it’ll be automagically added to Google Calendar if you use GC–handy!). You can also feel free to jump into the conversation by leaving a comment or a question right on the Event page (even before it begins)!
How do I find other Hangouts on Air?
You can always find current and upcoming HOAs on the Hangouts on Air page. First go to your Google+ profile. By the way, whenever you’re logged in and using a Google product like Gmail, Drive, Reader, YouTube, Google Calendar, etc, you can get to your Google+ profile page lickety-split by clicking “+Your Name” link in the top left of the black bar at the top of your screen. For example, here I am in Gmail. A click on “+Amy Lynn” takes me to my profile page.
From there, to browse current and upcoming Hangouts on Air, hover over “Home” and then click on “Hangouts on Air” from the menu that appears like so:
Do I have to sign up or be invited to a Hangout on Air to watch it?
No. Hangouts on Air are public, but you might want to RSVP to be reminded though!
Is there a limit on how many people can watch a Hangout on Air?
Then what’s all the talk about number limits?
In a Hangout on Air, there is a limit of 10 people who can actually talk during the HOA. (To use the live TV analogy, it’s like there would be a limit of 10 people on the stage being filmed.) However, there is no limit on how many can watch.
I should add, there is something called a Hangout which is different than a Hangout on Air. A Hangout is like a video call. Those are a different things altogether and there are limits on those.
How do I know what time it is for me?
What if I can’t make it?
No worries! If you can’t join me live, it’ll be recorded so you can watch it later.
I’ll share that link once I’ve got it. Here it is.
You said I can participate. How does that work?
Yes. Your participation is what makes it fun! For example, for my Hangout on Air on Thursday, as I mentioned, you can visit the Event page before, during or after the live broadcast and chat in the comments section (some of you already have!). Ask questions, interact with other attendees, etc. If you ask a question, I might be able to answer it during the HOA if time allows.
I hope to see you then!