Hangouts and Google Plus Events… a BAD Combination!
So you’ve heard about the power of Google Plus Events and the power of Hangouts on Air, right? These are two of the most powerful tools that Google Plus has to offer. However many people are making a BIG mistake when they try to use them together… the combination of the two can be deadly!
Don’t get me wrong, I Love Google Plus Events! And in my mind, there isn’t a more powerful method to Alert lots of people to the fact that you will be having a Hangout on Air at a certain date and time. In fact currently, it is the only way to do that efficiently. But people are confusing Hangouts with Hangouts on Air in ways you would not normally think.
Hangouts and Hangouts on Air (HOA) are very similar, but the HOA variety is auto recorded and broadcast to the world live once it starts. That live broadcast is visible on YouTube commonly on your channel & the YouTube Live area, as well as all over Google+ (your stream, Events, reshares) or wherever you choose to embed the code before the show starts. The Regular (non-HOA) hangouts are not broadcast, they are only visible to those invited into the hangout.
Hangouts and Google Plus Events – a Potent Partnership
The Google Plus Events tool is a great way to tell people that you will be having a HOA at a certain date and time and tell them what it is about. Learn about that here: How Events can Alert the Public about your Hangout on Air.
But Alerting is very different than Inviting and that is where most people are making a big mistake when using the Events Tool together with Hangouts. It is causing Mass Confusion and Late or Failed Starts to Hangouts On Air.
If your Goal is to Alert the Public that you will be having a Hangout On Air (HOA) at a certain time using Google Plus Events, that’s great, just don’t use the Event Type called Hangouts to do it! Use the one called Event on Air or anything BUT Hangouts!
However, if your Goal is to simply invite a few people to join together in a Hangout at a scheduled time, everything should be working fine for you. You set up the Event, invite a few friends to join in the hangout at the scheduled time and BAM, it all works out great… up to 10 people can hangout together and they will all be alerted and offered a unique hangout to join at the scheduled time, all via the nifty Events tool.
The Hangout & Event Situation At Hand
No, what we’re talking about here is the idea that you have a HOA you want people (the public) to know about and you have a select number of ‘participants’ to be inside the HOA’s filmstrip or panel. You are NOT wanting the public to try to join into the show but you do want them to watch and comment on the show while it is live. Great, that sounds like a perfect scenario for using Google Plus Events to Alert people about the HOA… its time and place and subject matter, etc.
Where Hangouts and Google Plus Events Fight
Follow along this disaster scenario that I’ve seen happen more and more lately which inspired me to write this post to try to help out. You’ve got a Live Hangout Scheduled for three days from now at 10 AM. You finally got your highly acclaimed panel all scheduled and available at the same time (man was that a pain to set up, but it is finally set). So you create your Google Plus Event to alert the world that this once-in-a-lifetime HOA will be happening and tell them they really need to watch and enjoy the show.
You add in some nifty graphics and you even make up a teaser video to add to the Event invitation in order to improve conversions. You’re loving the fact that the Google Plus Events tool takes care of translating the time zones automatically for everyone. You are also loving the fact that when people respond to the Event Invitation with a “Yes, I’m Going” or a “Maybe” that they will be automatically alerted by Google+ one day before the event and again at the time of the event – Sweet!
All is good with the world. If you read my post about using Events to Alert the Public about your HOA you even know about the ability to paste in the embed URL at the proper time so viewers know exactly where to click to watch the show (or they can even watch it inside the Event Invitation via the “YouTube URL” field).
Then the Mistake Happens!
Here it comes (whoops)! While creating the Event, you choose the logical choice for the Event Type called “Hangouts” since the thing you are inviting people to come attend is a Hangout, right? It is a logical choice, but it is wrong!
You don’t want people to “Attend” a hangout, what you want is to Alert them that the Hangout on Air Exists, and let them know they can sign up to be alerted and reminded about it when it is happening. But you did it anyways, you chose Hangouts as the Event Type. So here is what you did without realizing it.
This is the Mess You Made
You just made your Event a Hangout-type event, so at the scheduled time, the Event Tool will automatically Create a Hangout. People will be alerted to the Hangout via the Event Notification and will be offered a bright Blue Shiny “Join hangout” button that is screaming “Click Me, click me!” And people will try to join it because it tells them to.
But what they are doing when they dutifully click the pretty Blue Button is they are joining a Hangout that is not the one you want them to watch!
They are now entering “Hangout Limbo” where people are entering and exiting at amazing speeds whilst they look at what they just joined & left and wonder where the “special people” are they came to watch. “It is the right time isn’t it?” Or worse yet, maybe one, two, or more of the featured guest panel members are actually in that “Limbo Hangout” and are waiting around for the Host to show up, talking to each other wondering why all these other people are joining and leaving the hangout.
All the while the Host is inside the Real HOA somewhere else wondering when the featured guests will arrive… sending out more and more invites to them, which they don’t see because they are already in another hangout thinking that they are in the right place!
Get the picture? Pandemonium!
So What Happened?
What happened is the Event did its job… it created a hangout for those invited to join at the proper time. The problem is the Event was only supposed to Alert people to the existence of a Hangout on Air that was going to take place elsewhere.
The Proper Way to Use Events to Make this Work
When you make an Event who’s purpose is to tell the Public and alert some circles about a HOA, don’t choose the Event Type called Hangouts. Instead, simply state that the location of the event is ‘Online’ and/or choose an Event type called “Event on Air”.
This way no new hangout is created and you can rest easy knowing that the proper people will be alerted at the proper time, but it is up to you to tell them in the Event fields where to click to watch the show. You can even utilize the YouTube field in the Event to allow the viewers to watch right inside the Event invitation when they get alerted.
Finally Events that Work Well with Hangouts on Air
If you are hosting a HOA and want the world to know about it, use the Events tool and it can work. Just don’t choose the event type called “Hangouts”. Have you seen this type of issue happening lately? Maybe it happened to you when you thought you had it all worked out but then it all fell apart.
Hopefully you now know what to fix for the next time. Be kind ㋡… tell your friends & associates how to do it right and we will all benefit from less stress and more on-time starts for the HOAs we want to watch.
If I can be of assistance to you in planning and setting up your Events or HOAs, contact me and we will work something out. Please leave a comment here or on Google Plus about your experiences with the Event Tool and Hangouts… is it working well for you?