Connections – Video Calls

So, do video calls really work? Oh, yeah…

Daria Musk, a singer-songwriter from Connecticut, held a 24 hour Google Hangout where she performed a New Years Day concert. As each time zone greeted the new year, 2012, people around the world joined in and, as that 1st hour went along, listened to her performance for their time zone. Many left and made room for new people as the next New Year Countdown approached. She performed and chatted with fans for the full 24 hours.

Pretty much, you’ll need something that can play audio (speakers, earphones) and, if you want to be heard and seen, a microphone and camera. Smart phones, laptops, and computers either have these built-in or require add-on’s. And, by all means, don’t let your first real video chat be your first video chat; things always go wrong.

  • Apple Facetime – good for one-on-one connections; no support for group video or chats.
  • Google Hangouts – one-on-one and groups (up to 15); screen sharing available; may require plugin; can be simultaneously broadcast on Youtube for more eyeballs
  • Microsoft Skype – one-on-one and groups (up to 15); screen sharing available; may already be installed on your PC

Our Experiment – Phase One

We will be doing some tests of video calls using either Skype or Google Hangouts. Problems to be worked out include:

  • making sure people are interested
  • making sure people have the tools and know how to use them
  • making sure we provide some value for the experience
  • making sure people can find out about these calls
  • and most important, have fun


We will learn as we go on and, hopefully, keep things interesting.

Tools – the easy part

As technology advances, tools will get better, meaning they’ll be more powerful and easier to use. For now, it seems we have two candidates: Skype from Microsoft and Hangouts from Google. We will probably start with Hangouts

  • make sure you all the prerequites available/installed
  • know how to use the software
  • ask for help if you’re not sure, especially before the first time

A lot of Hangout time can be lost if we’re helping with audio problems, camera issues, and general pilot error.

Value – is it worth it

I guess feedback would be in order. Maybe an online survey? Maybe just comments? We’ll have to see.

Finding Out

This is tricky. Where’s the best place to announce these video calls. Probably this blog site will be a place to start, but there may be other better ways. We’ll learn.

Having Fun