Wednesday, January 1, 2014

#blog12daysxmas Post 8 #anz23mthings Thing 7 Communicate: Google+Hangout and Skype

This topic's theme is Communicate! And we are asked to look at Skype and Google+ Hangout. I've had a Skype account for a while and I have used it mainly for communicating with overseas friends or with family and friends in Australia when I am out of Australia. However, I really do find email, Twitter and Facebook often a very good way for virtually instant communication. So I do tend to use those mostly. On Facebook you can easily do group discussions and I have found these very useful for many group discussions, be they with friends, family or colleagues.

I have also had a Google+ account since beta days but I must say I still don't use it very much.  In the early days I remember thinking that the Hangout was one of the best things about Google+, and experimenting with a couple of people. I can see from the use that it has been put to for discussions about the #anz23mthings that it is really beneficial.

I can see great opportunities in libraries for various things with all of these sites. Really anywhere you would like to have some face to face discussion. That could be with staff in various locations or with the community either in groups or singly. In terms of local history, I can see advantages with both Skype and Google+ for recording oral history and for group discussions about local history topics. Often people enquiring about local things will come from interstate or overseas and these tools could be used to great advantage.

Another tool that is worth considering is Facetime now that so many people of all ages have iPads and use them regularly. The photo above shows it being used in Virginia Beach, Virginia on two iPads which allowed the two people in Virgina Beach as well as the person in Amsterdam on one iPad and the person on the other iPad in New York City all to communicate!

Since my diagnosis with breast cancer I have been part of an international online breast cancer support group. The group has a face to face gathering once a year in North America whence the majority of people come. For a number of years, as part of this gathering, I have organized an international chat. It is really for any members who are in either in North America or the rest of the world and who would like to participate whilst not being physically present, so it is strictly speaking an online chat session on the program. We have experimented with a number of ways of doing this - successfully and unsuccessfully. We have an online chatroom on our website and that has been a constant for a number of years.

But in 2012 for the first time we trialled Facetime. You can see Jax in Amsterdam on my iPad participating in this photo opportunity in San Diego, California in 2012. In 2013 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we used Skype, the BClist chatroom and also Facetime as seen in the photo at the head of this post. We had a couple of laptops set up for Skype and for the chatroom, as well as a few iPads for Facetime. People used what they felt comfortable with, or swapped around. We had talked about a Google+ Hangout but it didn't come off. The reasons were complicated (and involved illness and death) and don't need to be gone into here.

But when the BCList has its 2014 Gathering in Akron, Ohio this year, I certainly hope that we can get a Google+ Hangout organized.

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