Lessons Learned from my 1st Google Hangout On Air

I am so pleased to share that yesterday I held my very first Google Hangout on Air! I presented a webinar demonstrating how to contribute to an indexing initiative for student newspapers of historically black colleges and universities on behalf of my local chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.  If you happen to be interested in this topic, please check out our page and view the webinar. But, I wanted to focus this blog post on my overall experience using Hangout on Air as a platform.

Making the Decision: I’ve done several webinars over the past few years; all have been done with GoToWebinar. However, as I began to consider hosting more webinars myself, I knew I wanted to try and leverage Google Hangouts on Air (HOA). When DearMyrtle starting using it as her preferred platform of choice, I particularly paid attention. A long-time fan, and even participant, of her webinars, it did not go unnoticed by me when she made the switch to HOAs; I’ve observed that she’s had great success since she started using it about 18 months ago. She’s been a great inspiration for me as I decided I would finally learn how to use HOA effectively. The benefits of using HOA as a platform are exactly as Myrt describes in one of her early experimentation HOAs - there are no “attendance” limits, the session is automatically archived on YouTube for later viewing, and it is FREE to use. It really doesn’t get much better than that does it?

Learning HOA: I have to admit, even as technically savvy as I consider myself to be, I found (an am still finding) the process of learning how to run HOA’s less than straightforward. The information on how to run them seems to be fragmented across personal blog posts and websites. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time Googling for information.  To that end, there are some that have businesses around teaching HOAs, a prominent one being Ronnie Bincer, whom I learned about from DearMyrtle. I have not yet subscribed to his materials, but with the free information he has, plus others, I pieced together enough information to get a basic understanding.  I have also practiced HOAs with friends.

Day Zero: So, the big day came and all went well! I don’t have time in this post to describe everything fully, but let me highlight what I feel were my biggest successes, and what I feel were my biggest challenges.

  • Successes#1: it worked! Just the fact that I managed to carry it off was a big win. I was able to switch back and forth effectively between the PowerPoint presentation and the internet browser. It took a lot of practice and troubleshooting, but it worked. #2 – we have viewers! We had about 10 people watching live and since then we are up to more than 50 views. While I did some publicity before the event, I didn’t do as much as I wanted. I will be doing more though because the webinar was on a project that is ongoing. #3 – I am happy with the outcome. The session went so very well! And, I am especially pleased to have the archived version on YouTube.
  • Challenges#1 My checklist was incomplete. There are SO MANY STEPS to take into account to get set up effectively and while I had a partial checklist, I need to make sure I do a complete and extensive checklist as there were things I just forgot to do. And having your checklist as part of timeline countdown to going live is important too.  #2 Comments – I failed at getting the viewer comments integrated into the HOA Control Room. So, I had to keep manually checking all the places could leave comments as I was doing the session. #3 Screen Resolution – when sharing my PowerPoint file and my internet browser, the screen resolution for the viewer was definitely less than optimal. I still haven’t figured out how I will correct this. The typical information you hear about HOAs is that it is important to be on a wired internet connection instead of a wireless connection. I tested two different high quality wired connection options and neither one improved the screen resolution to what I would have preferred. I will be doing more investigation. #4 – I am still not ready for JOINers – this webinar was screen share only; I still have to work my way up to having people join in as presenters.

Overall though, it was a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to doing more. You can definitely stay tuned as I make that happen. I am eager though because I see so much potential for more use of this for genealogical organizations and societies.

Have you used HOAs yet for your genealogy gatherings? Please comment if you have – I’d love to know about your experiences too.

 

 

 

Google Hangouts on Air – Here I Come!


I have been wanting to learn how to use Google Hangouts on Air (HOA) for web presentations for awhile now. In my last post, I even shared a short test video so that I could get some initial practice on how it all works. Well, I’ve been quite busy testing the past few days and I feel I have a good handle on many elements for holding a successful broadcast. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be doing my first HOA on September 6th. 

I volunteer with my local chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and my webinar will be for them.  The society has a one-of-a-kind newspaper history project to capture history and genealogy information from HBCU student newspapers. During the session, I’ll demonstrate the indexing process and provide details on how you can contribute towards this important effort. 

Consider yourself invited! September 6th, 2014 from 10-11am CST is when you can find us online for the broadcast.

Details are available on the society blog at http://www.aahgsnashville.org/hbcu-indexing-workshop/.

Do RSS Feeds Puzzle You?

Then you need to sign up for my upcoming, free webinar – “Genealogy News at Your Fingertips: From RSS Feeds to Digital Magazine Platforms.”   I was honored to be selected to do this webinar as part of the Southern California Genealogical Society’s 2013 Jamboree Extension Series.

rss feed icon

The focus of the webinar is to guide you through the myriad of options you have for getting online genealogy news content delivered to you – with a specific emphasis on how to understand and take advantage of RSS feeds — you know, the mystery behind those orange icons you see all over the web.

It has been my experience that they are widely underused and I’d love the opportunity to explain just how great they are.  Google’s decision to kill Google Reader this summer helped make more people aware of what an RSS feed is but I think this will be a great opportunity to continue and help people understand them.

The official description for the webinar is below:

RSS feeds are powerful mechanisms for having online content delivered directly to you. With the plethora of genealogy sites available online, the information river can often seem overflowing. In this session, you will learn what RSS feeds are and how they are used, understand why they are beneficial to you as a web consumer and a web publisher, and survey the different types of RSS readers available – including the newest trends of magazine-style content delivery systems for aggregated news. Whether on your desktop or on-the-go, you can make online information work for you!

The presentation will be on Saturday, October 5th at 12pm central time. You can sign up at the SCGS website. It will be archived, but the archive is only available to SCGS members. Hope to *see* you there!

 

 

I’m a 2013 Jamboree Webinar Presenter!


A few weeks ago, I shared that I’d submitted a webinar presentation for the Jamboree Webinar Extension Series the Southern California Genealogical Society hosts. I am so pleased to share that my webinar was accepted!

On Saturday, October 5th, 2013 I will present “Genealogy News at Your Fingertips: From RSS Feeds to Digital Magazine Platforms.” Here is the description:

RSS feeds are powerful mechanisms for having online content delivered directly to you. With the plethora of genealogy sites available online, the information river can often seem overflowing. In this session, you will learn what RSS feeds are and how they are used, understand why they are beneficial to you as a web consumer and a web publisher, and survey the different types of RSS readers available – including the newest trends of magazine-style content delivery systems for aggregated news. Whether on your desktop or on-the-go, you can make online information work for you!

I am too thrilled!  I’ve done webinars this summer on WordPress, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to help others really leverage the power of RSS feeds.

Now, my webinar is only one of 25 webinars on the 2013 schedule, so you will definitely want to check the offerings and see which ones you can sign up for.  You can’t beat the price either – FREE! Archives of all the webinars will be made available to SCGS members.

Webinar Submitted to SCGS

This summer, I did my first webinar sessions  – they focused on WordPress and DearMyrtle was my lovely and gracious co-host.  I had a wonderful time doing them. 

More recently, I was given another opportunity – a chance to submit an webinar idea for the Southern California Genealogical Society.  Last year they started a webinar series that they refer to as their Jamboree Extension Series and I greatly enjoyed the few I had an opportunity to listen to.  I am hopeful that my idea gets accepted!  I may even submit a second idea.

Keep your fingers crossed for me :-) 

Note: image courtesy of the Citrix blog. 

Follow-Up: WordPress Webinar Part 3: Features, Features & More Features

Thanks again to all that turned out for last night’s webinar with DearMyrtle on using WordPress for your genealogy site.  In this part of the series, we focused on using the self-hosted version of WordPress.  From installing it on your server , going through the initial setup checklist, to choosing from all the plugins, it was another detail-rich session. 

I unfortunately did not have time to cover some of my recommendations for finding themes, so would like to point out that with WordPress you can use themes from the theme directory that are FREE or you can purchase Premium Themes from online theme vendors and marketplaces.  Typically, premium themes comes with increased ability to let you change theme options without having to mess with the CSS style sheet. See the slides for a few additional thoughts. Whatever you do, be cautious in using themes on your site that you find in random Google searches – themes can contain code that  does your site harm. 

Below are the slides from the session – enjoy!

Additional Resources:

Follow-Up: WordPress Webinar Part 1

Tonight was a great night! I completed my very first full webinar and had the opportunity to start teaching how to use WordPress!  Many thanks to DearMyrtle for offering it and extending the invitation to me to teach it.

During tonight’s webinar, I shared information on the history of WordPress, it’s overall philosphy and gave an introduction on how to get started using WordPress.com – the easiest way to get started with it.  You can view the slides below, or check back in a few days for the link to the archived version of the webinar. 

Part1_LearnTheLingo

The feedback from everyone was great so that was motivating. Not bad for my first full-length webinar huh? :-)

Next week, we will go into more detail with the Dashboard, play around with choosing Themes, and start to make the transition to the .org version of WordPress.  Check slide #43 for resources. Join us!