Apologies in advance, but this is a lengthier blog post than usual. It’s just to make sure we’re all ready for Wednesday’s first crime book club.
In preparation for Wednesday I did a trial run of Google+ Hangouts last night with Denyse Kirkby and Mel Sherratt. It was absolutely brilliant and we were all really excited by both how easy and accessible Hangouts are, and the prospects this gives us for the book club.
The main thing we liked was the accessibility. With the click of a button we were sat face to face having an enthusiastic chat. For a book club this means that even if you don’t have a club near you, or you struggle with mobility, you can now engage in a friendly, open and inviting environment with fellow book lovers.
To access the Hangout you need to find me on Google+ and let me know you want to be added to the Crime book club circle. Adding you to the circle allows me to open a group Hangout, which I will do at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. If you log into your Google+ account, you will see an invite come through from me at at this time. We’re currently reading Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
For the Hangout to work, we all found that we were prompted to download the Hangout software add-on. This took between 1-2 minutes. You can either do it when you see the invite come through, or organise it beforehand. Once downloaded Hangouts are up and running.
I then did my homework on Hangouts – late I know. For a group of more than 10 people, the Hangout has to be streamed onto YouTube. I have now connected a YouTube account. There are no other video’s uploaded on there, so we won’t be connected to anything – unsavoury.
The next thing I considered if we are more than 10 and the group grows (the mailing list currently stands at 22) are the logistics of holding a conversation this way, so I researched Hangouts a little and found a great “Hangout” that was a how-to. It’s half an hour long, but it’s really good and worth watching. The first 15 minutes are where the most important parts are, then the group conversation starts, which is actually interesting to watch as this is what we will be doing.
The main pointers are;
- Wear external earphones and microphone – ones used for your mobile phone will do.
- You can install an app called Lower Third, from the “toolbox” that gives you the ability to put a banner with your name across the bottom of your screen so we all know who we are.
- If you mute yourself when not speaking and unmute to speak, the Hangout can follow who’s talking.
- There is a chat box on the left where you can privately chat and it’s not recorded for YouTube.
I know it is a lot to take in, but I’m really excited by this and what we can do with it. I think we can really grow and there are some real possibilities for the future with it and the club. If you log on, on Wednesday, most of it will occur naturally, so please don’t worry that it all looks too technical.
I’m looking forward to seeing you!