Creating an Online Event – Google+ hangouts

Social Media has become a tool that we can do anything with, you can keep in touch with loved ones via Skype, edit you’re videos with YouTube, publish photos with Flikr and create surveys for market research via survey monkey. This blog post is going to be about creating an event using a range of social media platforms as tools so you can have a go yourself.

I recently have been a part of the creation of an event using Google+ and their hang out feature with my fellow post graduate class friends (@hangoutsarecool).

Google Hangouts, if you don’t know is a tool where you can use live video to have a conversation with up to 10 people. You can share your screen, watch a YouTube video and comment on the side of the screen (You can find an example of a hangout here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUozUYGg7LI)

I am not going to go into details of my event however am going to tell you how to create one yourself using  a range of social media platforms.

Event bright is a very handy platform to create invitations and most importantly – its free! The very simple tool lets you create invitations, email all attendees and also measure where the attendees have found the invitation (clicks on twitter, Facebook etc.) Once you have made you’re invitation you can push it onto all platforms. Creating a Twitter account for the event was important for me because we could use hash tags and push our blog posts to the people that were most likely to attend. It was easy to communicate with attendees on twitter as it is such a fast and friendly platform to use. 

One of the most important things for a Google hang out event was creating a screen cast. Because Google only lets you ‘hangout’ with 10 people per time it’s good to have a screen casting programme record the conversation so it can later be commented on by other people. It is an extremely clever way of making the event last a little longer. You can then upload it to YouTube and make it go viral. 

Heres a list of screen casting programmes you could use

  • Avi Screen
  • Camstudio.org
  • Wink
  • HyperCam (Free trial)
  • All capture (Free trial)

Other events online have included webinars where there is usually one visual speaker and lots of reader comments. Most popular for conferences, meetings and lectures where you can show slideshows and whiteboard displays. Google hang outs have changed the way we use webinars, it has stepped it up a level by letting a number of people be on video at the same time. Google seems to have put the Social back into Social Media, being social by looking at someone in the face and talking – except you can be anywhere in the world!

How to create your event

List of things to do before you’re event:

  • Come up with a plan/topic for event
  • Sign up to Google+ & add the hangout plug in
  • Create a page for you’re event
  • Create an Eventbright
  • Create a twitter account for promotion
  • Create a Facebook event page
  • Create a hoot suite to control aggressive promotion
  • Downloaded screencasting software

Things to do after you’re event:

  • Upload screencast to YouTube
  • Follow attendees on Twitter
  • Talk about event/say how it went
I am going to warn you that there are some vital things you have to make sure of if you are using Google to create your event (there are a lot of other programs to use if you research but Google is the popular choice as it is so well known). Technical issues cannot be helped, your speakers need to be set up properly, your WiFi needs to be at a good speed and you need a lot of practice hangouts before the real one. You don’t want to be having all these problems on the day of you’re event so there is no harm in having as many hangouts as possible before hand! Screen casting software is also prone, like any software, to crash. So i recommend you have two screen casting programs on you’re laptop for back up.

Creating an online event takes some planning however, no venue is needed, no coffees are supplied, no photographer is hired – you can do it all with your laptop, your speakers and with a little help from some social media platforms, try it and give us an invite @defnetmedia

 

by Chelsea Slater

@_slates

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