Google+ Hangouts on Air (GHOA) provides awesome functionality. But sadly it is a bit confusing. I’m going to try to clarify invitations.
Let’s start with who joins a hangout. There are two types: guests and audience. Guests show up on the video. Audience only watches the video. To set up a GHOA go to the pull down menu in the upper left and select hangouts. In the picture below you can see START A HANGOUT ON AIR, you’ll also notice a HANGOUT ON AIR in the upper right menu. That will also take you to a screen where you can start a hangout.
When you set up a GHOA you are asked for audience as seen below. Since a GHOA is streamed live for anyone to see and will be on your YouTube channel for anyone to see, you can pick Public. If you plan to make the video private after you finish then you might want to limit the audience who will see the notice by selecting other circles. I have a circle that just has me in it for such cases.
Once you fill in the name of your GHOA above you will be able to share. Also note you can have the GHOA start now or later.
Once you start the GHOA, you can invite guests, that is people who will show up on the video with you. If you fill out the INVITE GUESTS section the guest will be rung, like a telephone. Many find this confusing because the screen doesn’t automatically open and some struggle to find where to “answer” the call. Notice I have circled a URL below that shows at the top of the screen. That is the URL for guests. If you copy that URL you can send it to anyone you want and they simply click on it and a browser will come up in the GHOA. This is how I (and Debbie Horovitch of Celebrity Hangouts on Air) get guests on our shows.
DO NOT post this URL publicly, it will allow anyone to get into your GHOA on camera. A friend of mine got penis bombed by accidentally sharing this URL publicly.
In the second screen above you are telling Google+ who is allowed to view the video. If they are following you or look at the hangout page they will see that you are having an hangout. But if you want to explicitly send the URL to someone, you can do that also. If you go to your YouTube channel and select VIDEO MANAGER you will see the page below. Select LIVE EVENTS and scroll to the bottom and you will see the event you just scheduled.
Click on the video and it will take you to the video. The URL at the top of the page is the URL to send. If a user hits play before the start time they will see a count down timer. Once you start the hangout they will see it live with about a 30 second delay. The nice thing about giving out this URL is that the replay is at the same URL, so if someone comes a day late, they will still get to see the show.
Hopefully this has clarified what is a guest and what is audience and how to invite each to the event.
Feel free to ask questions. What experiences have you had with GHOAs?
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