I have written many times about the difficulty I had in trying to find a role for Google+ in my personal and professional life. It arrived and seemed to show so much promise of what it might be able to do and deliver. But for me it has never really lived up to the hype around it. I had a presence on it but had done very little with it as a network.
This week I had my first taste of a Google+ hang out as part of the Social Business #swchat discussion. The discussion started at the end of last week on the Twitter chat which was considering the impact of social media on working life. I got involved as I had written a recent blog about the fact that communication is more than a 9 to 5 job. I am a big fan of Twitter chats and enjoy taking part in them, particularly having a fast flowing discussion about issues.
So when I was asked to join the Google hang out on Monday night I thought it might be an opportunity to see what the network could do. It was a little difficult as I struggled to get set up so that I was ready to take part in the chat. ?I was amazed to see half a dozen people from America being able to connect face-to-face with me sat in my living room back in Manchester, England. What followed was a face-to-face discussion about the same issues as the Twitterchat and it covered the world. The result of the half hour discussion was instantly posted on YouTube so anyone could see it.
It was a little unnerving to take part. Would the American participants understand what I said? Would my newness to the system be obvious? Would I find a way to get involved? I need not have worried because it was effectively a group conversation about the subject at hand. It worked so well and went so smoothly that I started to see a benefit from using Google+ that I hadn’t seen before.
The Google hang out presents a great opportunity for small groups of people to be able to get together and discuss issues that matter. It is an incredibly powerful social tool but the larger the group taking part the less interactive it can be. After a long time Google+ has now become another open tab on my computer so I can see what is happening and identify opportunities to use it. I am now looking forward to the time when I can get involved in another hang out.