I was always a guy who hated chat rooms. Never liked them. Couldn’t stand all the noise, or all the time it would take to converse with someone. I know there are people who love them, but they just aren’t for me.
With the roll-out of Google Plus, Google has seemingly reinvented the chat room, except this time offering full two-way video conferencing for up to ten participants. The idea is that everyone can see each others video thumbnail and whomever is speaking is then highlighted in the big screen.
As you know, I’ve been very vocal about not jumping in bed just yet with Plus, but rather tinkering, and feeling my way around the place. While doing this a few nights ago, I came across a link to the World’s Longest Google+ Hangout, which was started by Familylink.com’s Mark Olsen. As of that moment in time, I had not even entered a video hangout. I said to myself, “what the heck, what could be the harm?” I proceeded to click.
Upon clicking, I was brought to a microsite that was hosting the hangout feed for all to see. To my surprise, they weren’t talking about G+, like many of the daily posts that are being shared throughout G+. But rather they were all laughing their as&$# off as they pretended to be virtually passing an item from one person to the next.
What they were doing was complete stupid and corny, but somehow so innocent and refreshing. Ten people from all over the planet, whom a few weeks ago were in their own little worlds, were now connecting at a very personal (and corny level).
I could have and should have shut it off, but something inside of me said to keep watching. Soon the topic did go back to Google Plus, it’s strengths, its weaknesses, and what could be changed to make the increasingly popular site, even better. I have to say that I did learn quite a bit from the participants. There was a lot of good information being discussed.
This was starting to get interesting. From time to time, people would drop off from the hangout, and someone new would pop in who added their personality to the ever changing group.
This new medium could have some potential…..yes potential to suck up your time! Before I had realized, in the blink of an eye, four hours had passed since I had first started watching! I made myself try to get some sleep. The problem was that I kept thinking I was going to miss out on something by not tuning in. Not a good feeling!
The next day I hadn’t given the hangout much thought, but after dinner which is usually my blogging time, I was sucked right back into it. This time I jumped at the first opening available and participated for a few hours.
The problem grew larger. Even after signing off from a great night of meeting new people, I didn’t want to miss anything again. I did want to blog, but couldn’t even come close to giving it the level of concentration it needed. Ugh!
It didn’t get any better the next day. You’re going to love this…..I started streaming the audio over my car stereo during my 45 minute commute to the office. Luckily somehow I was able to pull it together for most of the day while working, but still put it on as background noise from time to time.
Yes, you guessed it. Even streamed it on the way home. And, yes another blogging night down the tubes. I was completed addicted. I felt like those folks who watch QVC all day or daytime soaps. This was going to have to stop!
But was it worth it?
Heck yea! For me, time is money, but there are the times that you have to say, WTF. This hangout was a great distraction, and honestly I had a ton of fun!
I played “hide from the newcomer”, a game where we all turned off our cameras when someone new would arrive. I also took part in the first “dance break”, where a song was played every thirty minutes to break things up. I’m not sure whose suggestion it was to do YMCA, but it was nonstop laughter as we all made our letters!
Even better than the fun, were all the awesome people I met, got to know, and connected with. Here are few that stood out. Forgive me, as there were too many to list.
Michael Nast…aka The Co-founder
Michael is one of the people behind The World’s Longest Google Hangout. He has been an incredible host and facilitator. Michael also has some really fantastic ideas about social media and public relations.
I will never forget Michael’s heated conversation with James Kennemore about the rights of a hangout troll!
Grant Cardone…aka The Sales Expert
Grant is a New York Times bestselling author, internationally recognized sales training expert, and one heck of a down to earth, nice guy. Grant joined the hangout on many occasions, giving advice, and taking a sincere interest in the conversations.
Dan Lehman…aka Seth Rogen
Dan is a dead on ringer for Seth Rogen, who I think is one of the funniest comedians out there. Dan looks like him, sounds like him, and the room where Dan broadcasts from looks like something straight out of The 40 Year Old Virgin!
Dan is a super cool guy, and makes the hangout a fun place to be!
A.J. Klein…aka Mission Control
A.J. is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, a freelance web designer, and knowledgeable of all things tech. A good kid. I’d hang with this PC guy anytime.
So What’s Next?
While I really enjoy spending time in the World’s Longest Google Plus Hangout, I just can’t afford to be there as often as I’d like. As I’ve stated before, there are only 24 hours in a day, and until someone can create more, you’ve got to use them wisely!
To my friends at the hangout, I will see you less often, but you will not be forgotten!
Have you taken part in any Google hangouts? What did you think about them?
What do you think of this emerging technology? Do you think it will transform social media as we know it?