So You Want To Hangout?

From time to time, Sean and I use Google Hangouts to do video chats with readers.

Google Hangouts is an awesome, easy way to meet with readers, but there’s a few things you must know before joining the chat.

Please make sure you do the following things BEFORE joining the chat. Otherwise, the chat devolves into a virtual tech support call, which is no fun for anyone.

1) Have a Google Plus Account.

If you have a GMail account, good news, you also have access to Google Plus, Google’s social networking site.

2) Add us to your Circles.

Click here to add us https://plus.google.com/u/0/104357812124137767241/ to your GPlus Circles. This is necessary for us to invite you to join our hangout. Also, send us a message via email at collectiveinkwellmedia (at) gmail (dot)com, letting us know you’d like to be added to our Goners circle, and we’ll add you.

3) Have a webcam.

You’ll need this so we can all see one another.

4) Have a microphone.

You’ll need this to talk with us.

5) MOST IMPORTANT — USE HEADPHONES! 

Please, for the love of all that is holy, have a headset or earbuds, or SOMETHING! Otherwise, there’s a good chance that the audio from your computer will feed back into your microphone and will echo, sometimes loudly so, ruining the chat for everyone.

If you do NOT use headphones, we will have to mute your microphone or boot you from the chat. Don’t take it personally, but we want the chats to be fun for everyone, not a constant feedback loop that straight out of some torture scene in a movie.

6) Attempt to create your own Google Hangout to make sure everything is working.

When you’re logged into Google Plus, press the “Start a Hangout” button (usually on the right hand side of the Plus page, though it could move after we publish this post). You don’t need to invite anyone to the Hangout, you’re just making sure that your camera and microphone both work. If they don’t, then you can troubleshoot. Just don’t ask us what to do, as we’re not tech experts. But remember, Google is your friend! Use the search engine to troubleshoot your problem. Type in the type of problem you’re having and the type of equipment you’re using, and there’s a good chance that someone somewhere has posted something which can help you.

There! That should be everything. It seems like a lot, but it’s super simple and basic stuff that you should be able to figure out in a couple of minutes. And once you know your computer setup works, you’ll be able to chat with anyone at any time.

If you’d like to be part of our next Google Hangout, sign up for our free Goner’s Newsletter to the right, where we’ll send you updates on our books and when we do cool stuff like Reader Chats.

Here is Google’s Hangout Page which has all the info you need to get started, along with some videos to show you how everything works.

http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/

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