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Jun, 2014

Google+ Hangouts On Air with eMentoring Africa

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If you own an Android phone or you are a social media enthusiast, you probably know what Hangouts are and have used the application too. If not, don’t fret, you can discover Hangouts here. Hangouts were originally made to be a chat feature that allows you to video call up to 10 participants across the world at any time and on any device, whether smartphone or computer.

Hangouts became pretty popular and Googlers kept getting user requests for a feature that took Hangouts beyond the private space and into the public where anyone could participate and watch. Thus Hangouts On Air were born!

Hangouts On Air let you broadcast your Hangouts to a global audience and once it is done, the full-length recording is uploaded to your YouTube account which can be watched later. Many people have utilized the feature, from individuals to brands. If you log onto your Google+ right now, there are always some Hangouts On Air live.

We took one to KCA University. eMentoring Africa needed a way to connect mentors and mentees in the coming days and what better way than with Google+ Hangouts. This would happen in two ways: one-on-one conversations between the two parties in their privacy and through Hangouts On Air during events such as the one we attended on Friday.

Hangout on Air

Walking the participants through the nitty gritty of a Hangout

We took the youth through the fundamentals of Google+ and Hangouts and even had a Hangouts On Air to show them how it works. In the ideal situation, there was to be a mentor on the other side of town talking to the mentees on the ground but somehow, he could not get around his Hangouts. Our end of the Hangouts On Air was sorted out with a dedicated Internet connection (wired) and a big screen set-up with a webcam and wireless microphones.

Here are a few tips for you to avoid such a thing happening if it is ever your turn to join a Hangouts On Air:

  1. You might not get the Hangouts invitation on your mail or on your notifications area so look out for Live Video Calls on your Hangouts section. If the Hangouts On Air is shared with you, you will definitely find it on the page that opens.
  2. Have a good Internet connection. You can use Wi-Fi yourself, or even 3G and all. If you feel your connection is not strong enough, adjust the bandwidth to your Hangouts.
  3. Know your way around Google+. Hangouts is basically an extension of Google+ in more ways than one.

If you are hosting a Hangouts On Air, you will need to know the best practices for the broadcast and they are all laid out for you here.

What do you think?