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Google Hangouts On Air is a quick, free way to have a videocast with up to 10 participants and as many passive watchers as you want, thanks to streaming through YouTube. The stream is about 20 seconds delayed and the commenting interface is still kinda raw, but as a quick way to set up and broadcast video chats, it’s hard to beat that.
I picked up a lot of great ideas from Pat Flynn’s first Q&A Hangout. He used ChatWing to set up a chat room that everyone could join, and the experience was much smoother than using CommentTracker or something like that.
Here’s my new Google Hangouts On Air workflow for the Emacs Chats series I’ve been doing. Since the Emacs crowd is fairly technical, I used IRC as my chat room, with a web interface for others who didn’t have an IRC client handy. (Naturally, I used ERC to chat on IRC from within Emacs.) Having other people around worked out really well, because I could take a break and ask other people’s questions. =)
The other new thing I tried this time around was starting the broadcast really early (like, half an hour early) and setting it to share my screen with the coming-soon information, which meant that I could post the streaming URL in lots of different places.
I’d like to expand this to doing regular Hangouts On Air Q&As or conversations. How about we use the sach.ac/live URL to point to the next Hangout On Air I’ve scheduled? As of this writing, this will be a Q&A on November 29 on learning and note-taking. We’ll probably stream it over YouTube and have a chat room for discussion/Q&A. Want to pick my brain? See you then!
(Want more one-on-one help? Book a Helpout session – there’s a nominal charge to keep slots available instead of letting no-shows book them all.)