Monday, July 02, 2012

Preparatory meeting for weekly China hangout

English: Steve Chen and 8 Generals Actors at Y...
English: Steve Chen and 8 Generals Actors at YouTube Taiwan Launch Press Conference. ‪中文(繁體)‬: YouTube創辦人陳士駿為台灣YouTube網站進行啟動儀式,並與八家將合影。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Google+ is offering for some time a great way to set up free conference calls, record them on YouTube and - since last week - organize them as online events, the hangouts-on-air events. That makes it possible to organize online meetings on China, with a limited group of up to ten people - although the YouTube stream and recording can be watched by an unlimited audience, both real-time and afterwards.

We did a few hangouts with a high experimental level, and for the time being we will continue that (see links at the footer). The target is to start after the summer holiday a regular online get-together to discuss China-related issues with a global audience. Coming Thursday, July 5, at 3PM CEST (morning in the US west coast, afternoon in Europe, evening in Asia), we will set up a preparatory meeting to discuss possible subjects, the set-up, the way to engage more people, the timing and whatever other issues we have to discuss.
I have invited half a dozen people to participate, but since we can expect a number of regrets, there are still a few seats left. If you are interested and active on Google+, drop me a message and I will try to include you.  

On the preliminary agenda for Thursday:
  • How can we increase the possible number of Google+ users in China for this weekly discussion? For a range of reasons, participation for Google+ Hangouts from China is lagging, but perhaps you have some suggestions. (Note: at this stage we can only allow a limited number of participants into the hangout, so we are more looking for quality input than numbers).
  • First look at the subjects to cover. As we allow both participants from inside and outside China, ideally the subjects should reflect that bridge function. In stead of an expert discussion - others do that much better- I would rather look for ways to explore issues for non-expert, but motivated audience - but that is just my early suggestion.
  • What is the best timing: for live-debates? There is no ideal solution covering all time zones. On Thursday we cover China, Europe and the US West coast, but there could be better solutions. Does it make sense to pick a fixed time, or could we be flexible on the timing, depending on the subject, participants, etc?
  • We still have to explore a set of technical issues: the hangouts now allow a maximum of ten people to participate, and we have to give places to a moderator, both China-based participants and those outside, and perhaps somebody handling the buttons. And we need the occasional expert, perhaps too. We still have to try different solutions for name tags and other technicalities. Also, for people outside the hangouts we need a way to ask questions, comment and participate through chat and comment systems.
  • Some people have suggested also sessions where participants have to pay to attend. While I would not do that for starters - I'm more a public guy anyway - it might be an option to explore. The Google event tool gives that option to let participants pay.
  • Other stuff you want to discuss: drop me a line, or add it to the comments.
  • I'm working on a "Ten Tips for managing Google+ Hangout events", first as a reminder to myself, but if ready on time, we can include it here too.

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