In today’s blog post, we provide an overview of Google+ Hangouts on Air and then dive into an example by looking at last week’s “mHealth for Youth: Text Messaging Beyond the Basics” Hangout sponsored by ISIS.
First things first: What is a Hangout on Air?
Google Hangout On Air is a fast, free, and simple way to livestream a conversation or training, engage with viewers in real time, and record the event for later viewing. A Hangout can have up to 10 presenters and, because it streams live to YouTube, an unlimited number of people can watch the live Hangout. Google Hangouts work well with Twitter , where people watching the stream can use a hashtag to ask a question. The ISIS Google Hangout last week (more on that below) promoted the hashtag #YTHmHealth so people could ask questions and/or follow the event (see the sidebar for more details about hosting your own Hangout).
mHealth for Youth Hangout
ISIS’ Hangout, “mHealth for Youth: Text Messaging Beyond the Basics” was hosted in anticipation of a new mobile health (mHealth) track at YTH Live , ISIS’ 6th annual conference on Youth+Tech+Health to be held April 7-9, 2013 in San Francisco (Note: Want to attend the conference? Use the promotional code “YTHblogger_2013” when you register to let us know you have read this post).
Deb Levine, ISIS‘ Founder and Executive Director, moderated the Hangout. Expert mHealth panelists for the Hangout included:
- Pamela Johnson, Co-founder of Voxiva (Text4Baby & Quit4Health);
- Tom Subak, Chief Information Officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America;
- Sam McKelvie, Head of Mobile Strategy at Mobile Commons ; and
- Eric Leven, President of RipRoad .
Panelists discussed how to take advantage of text messaging services based on an organization’s goals, target audience, capacity, and partnerships. Questions were planned in advance, with time for audience questions at the end using the Twitter hashtag mentioned above.
A key message throughout the Hangout was the opportunity for text messaging to engage hard-to-reach populations at high risk for HIV and other STIs.“The real issue that we all face in our [public health] work is reach,” said Eric Leven, “and text messaging is the ideal medium to get the broadest reach…particularly to reach those people that are the most difficult to reach and would choose to use text message to either get information or ask a question.”
Ready. Set. Hangout.
Interested in other recent examples of Google Hangouts on Air? President Obama hosted the “Fireside Hangout” on February 14 with five Americans who had questions about the State of the Union address. Doug Fridsma, Chief Science Officer and Director, Office of Science and Technology, in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS also hosted a Hangout on Air last week about ONC’s interoperability strategy.
Host your own Google Hangout on Air
- You will need a Google+ account and a computer or other Internet enabled device (mobile phone or tablet) that has a webcam and microphone. You will also need a YouTube account to livestream the video.
- Add the Hangout speakers to your Circle. (They must have accounts, too) and have the speakers add you to their Circle. Only the speakers have to be in your Circle, but because it uses YouTube, anyone with the link to the video can view the video live.
- From your Google+ page, select “Start Hangout”. Enable the livestream by selecting the button that says “Enable Google Hangouts on Air”.
- Once you have started your Hangout, give it a name, invite your participants, preview the video stream and then to embed or link to the video (just like you would if you were sharing a YouTube video)
- Do a test run to make sure that all of the speakers understand how to use Google+ and that the video and sound are OK.
- Check out Google’s Hangouts on Air User Guide (PDF) that covers all the specifics and best practices for hosting a Hangout.
Note: There are apps that label the different screens so people know who is talking. Google+ also has some built in features, that help you moderate the Hangout. Learn about and practice using these before your Hangout.