"This is Google's killer app," Tom said last year when he returned from Social Media Marketing, a conference for business professionals in the social space.
He was clearly excited. His eyes were bright, his smile was lively, there was a hint of laughter in his words. Good laughter. The kind of laughter that escapes you when you can't hold back your excitement.
"Ok," I said, without turning my attention away from what I was doing. I think I was wiping the kitchen counter. My lack of enthusiasm couldn't have been more... apparent.
To be completely honest, I am not a fan of Google. Google, in my opinion, is a big bully. But, that's a story for another day. Back to hangouts.
Undeterred by my lack of enthusiasm, Tom began to schedule and arrange Google+ hangouts for BlogPaws. We did several leading up to the conference. I was even in one of them.
As I participated in these online video events, I began to see the power behind them. I began to understand Tom's commitment to them. Their ease of use and their ability to reach the audience in ways other tools do not, became more apparent as I attended more of them. We had already engaged Denise Wakeman to come to the BlogPaws conference to talk about hangouts, so I had early on decided my 'feelings' of "stupid Google" were wrong, and I couldn't let my prejudice against the search giant keep my community from learning about this new form of connecting.
Since the conference, I've changed my tune about hangouts. It's unfortunate, to me, that they're part of the Google world... I have not changed my opinion of Google, I still think Google bullies people all over the web... but I have to admit that hangouts just might be their 'killer app' as Tom said last year.
For instance, Tom and I got to meet Mia Voss via Denise and Google+ Hangouts. Who is Mia Voss?Just about the most dynamic, fun, intelligent, and approachable business woman I've met in a long time! She reminds me of Shawna Schuh - another dynamo who inspires me daily!
Mia does a hangout on her Mia Connect, weekly. Wait... more than weekly. She's just immersed herself in this effective use of online video and she's making waves across the web! Not by being smarter or more talented (which she is, regardless), but by showing up. And doing the work. And demonstrating how easy it is to build audience when you take the time to know who your audience is.
Just yesterday, I attended her Food & Booze show on a hangout and it was so engaging and fun, I was sorry when it was over. I also can't wait to go to Denver, now, and visit The Denver Tea Room and Coffee Salon with friends.
As I learn more about this tool, especially how Mia gets that tiara on her head at every show, I'm becoming a fan. I'm beginning to realize the power behind this tool and I can't wait to start my own hangout, for Lipsticking. Will you come?
Let me close with this - Tom and I met Mia in Denver on Thursday and we had one of the most delightful meetings of the year. This woman is vivacious, full of energy, lovely to talk to, and a great listener. She told us about Bob, her tripawd cat. She told us about her passion for pets and shelter/rescue. She told us about her work in Google+ hangouts. And she let us tell her our story, in its many varied forms.
The connection was apparent well before this face-to-face meeting. But, once we got face-to-face, we formed a bond that is going to grow stronger over the coming months, I have no doubt. Because this woman is a go-getter. Her work involves many of the same things our work involves - helping other people achieve success. And, when I say 'other people' I generally mean... you. Women. We like to include the men who love those women, don't get me wrong, but our focus is on helping women in the social space, find, use and dominate the tools that spell success in a world of complications.
Google+ hangouts are one tool I am recommending to you, now. Get familiar with it. Attend some of ours - at BlogPaws. Attend Mia's, weekly. Watch for Denise's hangouts and attend those. Then, go out and test one for yourself.
Let's take charge of the rest of this year, ladies. Let's show the world who we are! Let's not shy away from something because it means being on camera. You can't be social... if you sit at your desk and write blog posts all day.
You just can't.
OH... cannot forget this part... Mia's tagline... #batcrapcrazy and #getyourlearnon