A Note on the Technical Learning Curve for Live Hangouts

Yesterday, I walked you through how exploring Google+ and Hangouts on Air lead to Legally Speaking. As with any technology, there is a learning curve. Here’s what Stephan Futeral and I learned when we started “Legally Speaking.”

Not Ideal for Busy Lawyers

The next steps involved lots of technical learning, mostly on his part, and much more planning and thought than I ever imagined. Let’s just say that we have unwittingly discovered there are many good reasons that news stations need a staff of people working full-time to bring you a weekly news show. For those conducting live hangouts on air, the process is less than simple.

Technically I do not believe the live “Hangout on Air” app is all the way “there” yet, as opposed to the private hangouts, which are very simple and intuitive. We have experienced various glitches when using the live “Hangout On Air” app, which has a fairly steep learning curve, particularly integrating the “Comment Tracker,” which is an add-on app that allows audience members to post comments when viewing the show live.

The Reason News Reporters Make The Big Bucks

Once you master the technical aspects, contacting guests to ask them to appear, and thinking of show ideas that will interest an audience of real people on the law, particularly my practice area of personal injury, is no small task. Without a doubt, Stephan Futeral and I have spent far more hours than we ever expected thinking of interesting legal shows, then finding primarily lawyer guests who were active on Google Plus and knowledgeable about our chosen weekly topics. This was a little easier when it came to the more popular practice areas of criminal, family and personal injury law, but much more of a challenge when we wanted to have a panel of lawyers discussing, for example, copyright law, at which point we had to reach outside Google Plus to find lawyers who were willing to appear.

Over the last several months, we have had hangouts discussing topics ranging from the McDonald’s hot coffee case and tort reform, to police brutality and the legalization of marijuana, to copyright law for bloggers. (For lawyers, we had hoped seeing their other lawyer friends live on a G+ hangout would help them get to know each other a little better, and thus would be one of the incentives for both appearing on and watching the show). We also have had a few shows geared toward helping lawyers with marketing, by hosting guests to discuss topics such as how to use G+, how to increase your search engine ranking, and social media strategies.

You can find past shows by clicking on either of our YouTube channels. This is his, this is my YouTube channel.

We’ve Had To Put In The Time

We also have had to spend a tremendous amount of time engaging with users of Google Plus to generate interest in watching. That herculean effort has led us to find a small but fairly loyal audience, comprised of about an equal mix of lawyers and non-lawyers, which has made the challenge to create interesting and understandable content, week after week, all the more difficult.  Without spending an extensive amount of time getting to know others on G+, few if any would watch a live hangout. We also had to spend a fair amount of time creating graphics and finding and interacting with our show sponsor, Rocket Matter.

So what are law practice related goals for using Hangouts on Air? I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Featured image: “Business person standing against the blackboard with a lot of data written on it” from Shutterstock.

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