Saturday 29 December 2012

Peter Wilson MBE, on his Gold Medal in the Shooting Double Trap all from his Google+ Hangout On Air 8 Aug 2012

I was delighted, like the rest of the country, to hear that Peter Wilson has been appointed MBE (BBC News, 29 Dec 12).

When asked to think of a few best Hangouts in 2012, this one shot to the top of the list.

Friday 21 December 2012

West Midlands Police kick off Mad Friday with a Hangout On Air with Kerry Blakeman, Simon Shilton and Sam Wilyman for #wmpadvent Don't Drink and Drive

Early start this morning, at 7:00am to what's expected to be the busiest night of the year. With just a few nights out left before Christmas 2012, it's known as Mad Friday.

West Midlands Police are running a LIVE 24hr Tweetathon with many officers and locations involved (Press Release, 20 Dec 2012). You can follow the event across all platforms as #wmpadvent.

Monday 10 December 2012

The first ever Hangout On Air with Storyful all you need at #storyfulhangout

The first ever Storyful Hangout On Air from Google HQ, Dublin happened today. There were many guests broadcast Live to YouTube.

The session discussed and took questions around Journalism, Social Media and Verification.

The Google+ Community for Policing and Law Enforcement is now Open

Join this Community
Four days ago on Thursday, 6 December 2012 Google Opened Google+ Communities. This is a huge development for Google and the Communities we all can create.

One example is Google+ for Policing and Law Enforcement created by Lauri Stevens, Scott Mills, Kerry Blakeman and Mike Downes.

Saturday 1 December 2012

LIVE Drink Driving Operation Hangout on Air from West Midlands Police and Kerry Blakeman on Sat 1 Dec 2012 at 6pm

Google+ Even Page
On planning a LIVE Hangout On Air, there are a number of posts to be made to ensure it all runs smoothly. 

This post will let you know what they are and where they are located across platforms like Google+, Twitter and YouTube.

Friday 30 November 2012

Channel 4 News, LSE and the Leveson Google+ Hangout On Air

Google+ Post showing user and a mini player
Channel 4 held their first Hangout On Air today. This post is providing all the speaker information and links to negotiate through the broadcast.

To develop HOAs (Hangouts On Air) further, it necessary to understand the timeline of posting and sharing. Gone are the days when you turn on the TV at 6pm and simply watch. HOAs can open in seconds, when news breaks so we need no studio, no production staff or specialist equipment.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Insights on creating a simple collage using Picasa 3.9.0

As a Teacher Broadcaster, I use slides and collages every single day. Here's how I do it, you can too ..

Insights on creating a simple collage using Picasa 3.9.0 (all for free) and to share at Google+

Effects used are just: Crop, Highlight, Shadow, Straighten, Orton and Collage adding text in Arial and Angelina font. Save and Export to Online Web Album or Google Drive.

Monday 19 November 2012

Hangouts On Air are nearly Impossible to Find - How can we Harvest those High Quality Broadcasts?

All paths lead to a Hangout On Air
This post is a work in progress as it can't be another way. When I've explained what I know and how I got there, I expect a few readers to pave the way with some ideas.


To get started, let's look at: where we can normally see six HOAs (Hangouts On Air). I'm leaving the the long links in, as you can see what I'm talking about. I see this as a learning point.

Hangouts On Air have Help Pages Use Them

Don't wait to get stuck, do your homework, spend 10 mins reading, take a mental snapshot and know the answers .. not so much for yourself, but Help Others ..

For a 4000x2000 copy of the slide visit Drive:

To get started, visit: .. HOAs look easy, they're not,With great power comes responsibility .. My favourite quote is still, Enjoy!! ...and don't forget you're broadcasting publicly, so mind your manners ;) (+Katherine Gramann May, 2012) ..

There are also Hangout Help Pages How many have you read? 

And don't leave it too late to find the one you need .. .. Coming next the same slide for Hangouts On Air .. can't wait visit: .. 

The Video ..

Friday 16 November 2012

Cathiana, Ghetto Film School and making dreams a reality

I've been waiting for this upload for weeks. Such an inspiration with +Cathiana Jean Julien ,  +Gloria S. Álvarez +Stosh MintekLee Daniels (director of Precious) ..+Ghetto Film School ..

Founded in 2000, Ghetto Film School is a non-profit that teaches the art of cinematic storytelling to young filmmakers from the South Bronx and beyond. Using Google+ Hangouts, Ghetto Film School MasterClass connects great directors with aspiring filmmakers from around the world. To learn more about Ghetto Film School's programs and support young filmmakers, visit

Gloria S. Álvarez13 Nov 2012
Hi Mike! Thanks so much for all your support, it's a big day for us! In the video you meet the lovely miss +Cathiana Jean Julien. Give her as many shout-outs as you see fit, she deserves them! :)

Mike Downes13 Nov 2012Edit

+Gloria S. Álvarez Thanks, it sends chills down my spine and more emotion than I can handle when anyone takes an idea and creates something from nothing. I used to teach young children to write. Starting with a blank page was the hardest part. +Cathiana Jean Julien and everyone at +Ghetto Film School inspires beyond belief .. :) 

Has anyone seen +Robbie Williams in a Hangout today .. not us

But, we had a great time Waiting for Robbie as part of the #crashmyhangout event. This was a fun event, we sustained 25-35 viewers for 97 minutes, which is a record (for us) ..

Whatever happened today Robbie, we're sure it wasn't down to you. And knowing you how you put your fans first, we're sure this event will be rearranged soon and we'll get to hangout with you ..

My Alert read .. Your next Khan Academy-Related Talks and Interviews video is ready!

And it's invaluable (I added that), what an insight into the+salman khan world ..

With the backing of Gates and Google, Khan Academy and its free online educational videos are moving into the classroom and across the world. Their goal: to revolutionize how we teach and learn. Sanjay Gupta reports.

Professional Audio for Hangouts On Air brought to you by +Scott Mills of the +Toronto Police Service

15 Comments at Google+
Here we have a recent event ( with a Mac Book Pro connected to a USB Webcam (mounted on a stand), Sennheiser Audio Receiver plugged into the mic socket and a USB 3g stick for web connection. Mounted on the speaker's lectern is a Sennheiser Audio Transmitter.

The slide also shows a media TV Truck, a bunch of cameras on tripods and a shot of the Event Page. Remember, the Hangout On Air kit easily slips into a rucksack and runs on batteries. Welcome to the future of Broadcasting.  

This video is invaluable for Hangouts On Air

Everyone should watch it and learn .. Ghetto Film School's +Stosh Mintek (and +Gloria S. Álvarez)  demonstrates how easy it is to set up and host a class using Google+ Hangouts. To learn more about Ghetto Film School's programs and support young filmmakers, visit

How I've Arranged My Circles at Google+ by Mike Downes

Circles A, B and C I check all the time. New Folks are added until I find a place for them.

Circles 1 to 5 I check occasionally, while Bookmark is empty, where 6 to 9 are for storage. That's it, no clever stuff .. Have a Question, just ask ..  

First Posted at Google+ 13 Nov 12

I'm still getting people email me.. perhaps they should see this (again)

Hangout with Gmail contacts right from your inbox and see what happens when the email chain goes Google. Learn more at

The British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher held a Hangout On Air

Ambassador Tom Fletcher
Last month, I was delighted to produce this broadcast. The Hangout Interview with +Tom Fletcher British Ambassador to Lebanon is ready to watch again. Joint hosts were +Lara Setrakian +Henry Langston 

The connection from Beirut was just a megabyte showing how versatile Hangouts are for getting a valuable message out at the highest level.  

+Tom Fletcher is known as The Digital Diplomat. This is a fascinating part of the session as +Lara Setrakian asks the Ambassador about his use of social media. What follows is an invaluable insight (clip should start at 26:12) ..

Kenilworth resident hailed as Google+ hometown hero

Google has recognised Kenilworth resident, Mike Downes as a hometown hero for making the most of the Internet to chat with over 20,000 people from around the world, including Olympic Champion, Usain Bolt, Spice Girl, Mel C, and Radio 1 presenter Reggie Yates

Through Google+ Mike has participated in more than 1,500 Google+ Hangouts - internet-based video chats – with academics, athletes, scientists and celebrities to discuss topics ranging from astrophysics to Team GB’s fantastic efforts at the Olympics.

Google’s recognition of Mike as a hometown hero comes after he helped Interpol, police in the UK and Canada to set-up pages on Google+ so they could hold live-streaming press conferences through Google+ Hangouts. Mike recently helped Interpol and Toronto Police to set up a press conference on Google+ during the search for a Canadian serial killer that fled to Berlin.

Mike has also worked with media organisations including KOMU TV in the USA, to teach them about using Google+ Hangouts on Air – live streaming mobile video - as a tool for reporters to file stories from remote locations.

It’s hoped that Mike’s use of Google+ will inspire others in Kenilworth and Warwickshire to get online and begin connecting with like minded people across the world.

Mike Downes said: “Google+ gives anyone the ability to connect with people who share similar passions and interests at the click of a button.”

“I have been on Google+ for a little over a year now and I’ve already connected with over 20,000 people from across the globe. There is no reason why businesses and individuals in Warwickshire can’t set up a Google+ and begin ‘hanging out’”

“My experience of Google+ has been fantastic as it allows me to connect with people locally and from across the globe”.

Anoek Eckhardt, Communications and Public Affairs Manager at Google said: “Mike is a great ambassador for Google+. His interaction with thousands of people from across the world to share knowledge, advice and learn together highlights the collaborative power of Google+.”

“We hope others from across Kenilworth and throughout Warwickshire follow Mike’s lead to connect and Hangout with family, friends and like minded people through Google+.”

Today over 400 million people have signed up to Google+. Google+ also has a very strong photo community, over 3.4 billion photos have already been shared.

You can connect and Hangout with Google’s hometown hero, Mike Downes on Google+ here .

To chat with Google+ hometown hero Mike Downes, please contact the Google Press Office at or 0207 031 3130

Are you Hangout On Air Ready? Watch the help tutorial and then read the slides

This post is all about getting ready to Hangout On Air, so little gained from writing, just watch and see the slides, plenty of tips.

The full screen Video

The older Video (with white borders)

The Slide Show

How to video Tutorials by Mike Downes (25 videos)

If you are interested in learning how to broadcast better Hangouts, here are twenty videos, pick and choose as you go. If you have a question, just ask

The New Video

The Older Video


Saturday 13 October 2012

Christy Wilcox guest post: Akçakale fears safety as Tal Abyad battle continues from the Turkey/Syria border

A woman and four children were killed while standing
outside their home when the Syrian army firing at rebels
over projected and struck the neighboring village.
Christy Wilcox is a freelance reporter, based on the border between Turkey and Syria. Watch out for her Hangouts On Air LIVE at YouTube on the refugee developments and tensions between these two neighbouring countries.

Akçakale, Turkey — In a two-story building just off the main street in Akçakale, a small Turkish village, two brothers sit side by side in their real estate office. Ismail and Abit Kartel have run a successful real estate business for ten years, but all of that changed after the Syrian revolution began 19 months ago.

“We lost all of our business,” said Ismail, the youngest of two.

Christy Wilcox
Like many others who live in the village, they have relatives in Syria so talk of airstrikes and shelling isn’t an unfamiliar discussion. For months they have been fearful of their family’s safety, now the same fear is spilling into their own lives in Turkey. Shelling and shrapnel from Tal Abyad, the neighboring Syrian village, come flailing into the town. A week ago a woman and her four children were killed from an artillery strike while they stood outside. The house sits just a few blocks from the border crossing. Ismail said he rushed out to help the family but his older brother Abit said he didn’t go for fear of another strike.

“Anxiety grips the people,” Abit Kartel said.

The only thing that separates the village of Akcakale from Tal Abyad is a simple barbwire fence that stretches down the countryside. Just beyond the fence there’s an overgrown pasture that extends less than a quarter of a mile into Tal Abyad. A small roadway connects the two villages from the border crossing where people can easily come and go but with the ongoing fighting it’s not that simple anymore.

Originally, when the fighting broke out the Turkish government placed mounds of gravel on the outskirts of town. The gravel is strategically placed from one end of the town to the other, just yards from the border crossing. Locals climb on top of the newly placed barriers and gaze into Tal Abyad as strikes happen. From the top of these man-made mountains it is easy to see the plumes of smoke fill the sky, and the over pressure from some bombs are felt from the same place. One resident in Akcakale said when the fight broke out between the rebels and the Syrian army no less than 35 strikes happened daily.

It prompted the Turkish military to send anti-aircraft tanks and now Turkish forces flank the borders that are rebel-run. In the village the tanks remain sheltered behind the mass piles of gravel. Most community members say they are coping better since the military arrived.

View Turkey / Syria Border Resource in a larger map

 Even in their anguish the Kartel’s said they give the Syrian refugees who cross the border food and water. Turkish soldiers look away as families slip under the fence to return to Syria. But the citizens of Tal Abyad don’t have much to go home to since the rebels seized the border crossing; most have fled the village so it feels like a ghost town.

Rebels scatter throughout Tal Abyad, but they gather for hours at the city center to stand in the bread line. They wait for hours for a small portion of bread wrapped in plastic. When they aren’t eating or sleeping they spend time mapping new ways to liberate other towns from the Syrian government. Some rest in the Syrian government’s immigration building just past the border gate while others go to Turkey to seek refuge. Tension run high between the two groups because the rebels also took the judicial building and army checkpoints, as well as hostages.

The intensity continues as fighting between the rebels and the Syrian army has died down in recent days but the people of Akcakale are concerned about the rebels at the border. Strikes meant to destroy rebel command posts consistently hit the Turkish village.

Kartel says rebel presence at the border could cause a war between the two countries. This past week as many as seven strikes aimed at rebels on the border have landed in southern Turkey. The Syrian government says it will not allow the violence to escalate between the two countries although it seems unlikely Syria’s President Bashar al Assad will stop fighting with the rebels.

For the past six days Turkey and Syria have exchanged artillery fire daily. But even as the military presence grows and the intensity of the fight simmers, the brothers say they continue to lose sleep at night.

While yesterday Ismail rushed to help after another strike hit the outside of a building close to the border, Abit concern is more than just that, he has three children. The local school just reopen after several weeks of closure. Although there were no casualties in this incident, several people were injured.

In preparation for a possible regional conflict, several high-ranking Turkish officials, including the chief of general staff, General Necdet Ozel, have arrived to inspect the troops and border area. NATO has indicated it will back up Turkey against an attack from Syria. Still some locals say they are frustrated by the lack of support from the international community.

Amid the chaos the people in Akcakale show determination as they live their normal lives. Some days the main street of Akçakale still flourishes with customers and people gather to drink tea and play games in the gardens. Even the Kartel brothers open their doors daily hoping they’ll find new business.

“We just want peace,” Ismail said.

Monday 20 August 2012

Just Like Google Plus Hangouts: How to make a Mini Player HOA Wall using Blogger

From the Google Plus Home Page, you can visit the Hangouts Page where you will often see up to ten mini players.

We can recreate this look very easily at Blogger using as many mini players as we need. Here's an example with four.

In this post, I have a column width of 580 pixels, so each player is 267 x 150.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Taylor Swift as a LIVE Host on YouTube with Google Hangouts - She makes it look so easy, we could all learn from this Webcast

You don't need me to tell you all about Taylor Swift. She's famous for singing (and baking stuff apparently). At age only 22, she's no stranger to live gigs and entertaining the crowd. But what I found out last night, to my delight, is Taylor makes the perfect YouTube LIVE and Hangout Host.

Taylor Swift at Google+ has 209,739 followers .. Facebook 33,790,465 likes .. Twitter 17,430,231 followers, so even before the LIVE YouTube Channel sprung into action, there were over 37,000 people watching. The highest live count was over 81,000 people.

Monday 6 August 2012

A Hangout with Usain Bolt and Colin Jackson: So excited I forgot to blog it by Mike Downes

On 26 July 2012 Usain Bolt joined Colin Jackson and friends for a Hangout on the official London 2012 Google Plus page.

I was delighted to be asked to be a part of this Event. What a great atmosphere, Colin was a brilliant host and Usain answered two of my questions.

Coach Glen Mills, Credit: Zimbio
05:00 .. My first question was some fun about running the 100 metres with a cricket ball.

15:00 .. With the second more emotive about sharing the winner's podium with someone special. Listen as Usain talks from th heart about his coach (Glen Mills photographed to the right).

Also in the Hangout were: Larry Fournillier, Christine Bowen, Adam Bayliss Ward and JR.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Come On Team GB with a Melanie C Hangout and the Best Night in British Athletics thanks to Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farrah

Saturday 4 August, 2012 was quite a day for Great Britain. We enjoyed a Team GB Hangout with Great Briton Melanie C in the afternoon followed by the best night in British Athletics ever.

Some celebrities were recruited in June 2012 as Cheerleaders - we all know they weren't needed as the British People are not shy from singing from their hearts. What's brilliant to see is Melanie C taking the time out to Hangout with us. 

Who knows who could be next, I've already met Usain Bolt. Other celebrities include Katherine Jenkins, Davina McCall, Bear Grylls and Reggie Yates. David Walliams and Will Smith have also featured in the odd video meeting Team GB.

As usual, I've made a volley of posts at Google+ and this post serves as the lasso that loops them together.

Thursday 2 August 2012

How to be yourself at Google Plus by being Useful and Unique by Mike Downes

Monty Roberts Join Up
What is my part in this? It's been a year since I've been at Google Plus. Every day, I ask myself the same question on how I use this platform a little but better each day. So far, after sitting in  more than 1,300 Hangouts and posting more than 6,000 times, all I know is I want to start again.

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go (into the second year). So, what have I accomplished in year one?

In many ways, being brutally honest, absolutely nothing. I can only compare the complete vision in my head to what I ultimately see as a finished item.  As Google+ and Hangouts resemble just a small portion of their potential. I have to give more and more importantly to the people who are the life and soul within it.

Monty Roberts said he goes about each day trying to achieve in 15 mins what most people achieve in ten hours. He was talking about Join-Up and his work in training horses. If you've even seen the Horse Whisperer you will know more about natural horsemanship. More about  later.

Ernest Hemingway
Many would disagree saying I have achieved nothing is unfair. I sit on twenty one thousand followers, a verified tick by my name and more bat phones to high level and intelligent people than I could shake a stick at. I'm involved in many exciting projects that leave me breathless, but all of it leaves me unfulfilled. I could do more.

Will there be a time when we can fly? I would measure this by being able to find what you are looking for by having the ability to use the tools you are given. To achieve this, you have to put in the effort to educate yourself and learn. I've had many discussions with people, who just have not looked in the right places. They haven't even tried.

For example, I shared a question mark [?] to get to a Gmail short cut menu (the post had 282 shares). People were delighted, but why? Maybe it surprised them, maybe it was useful or maybe it was just simple and effective.

Google (and many other people) are giving us, often for free, the chance to carve out a new life. It's now taken almost for granted, that everywhere should have wifi and a cracking 3g signal. Video and Hangouts are  changing the way we communicate. Google wants to make it just like real life - and that's where the trouble starts.

The Writing Hut and Roald Dahl 
I'm in with the in crowd; I go where the in crowd goes. Please don't. I'll say that again, please do not chase someone else's dream. Be yourself and say what you want to say, often from your heart. Do not let anyone influence you. If you have to shut yourself away, close the curtains and sit for away from the world before you find your own words, then so be it.

Many people, have an inbred passion, Google Plus has many of these people already, but for many others, it's hard. For me as the ex teacher, it's like someone copying someone else's work. Don't do it. When I talk to people in Hangouts and they tell me all they do all day is post cr*p and share even more cr*p. I just think - Why? 

When I read advice like using the right title, keywords, identifying social influencers, commenting on their posts, sharing strategically and then create your own posts that fulfil  a target audience - it both nauseates and worries me in equal measure. I think of J K Rowling sat penniless in a Scottish Cafe writing the first Harry Potter book and wonder if she was optimizing the first few chapters. My guess, she was writing from her heart (just like Hemingway, Dahl and Berne without a laptop or wifi in sight).

Another buzzword phrase is Content is King. What does it really mean? Who knows. Can you hang your hat up on it? Nope. I would rephrase as create something useful and unique by being yourself. The web is one place with Google+ as one of the others where passions collide. I like to think of it as the one person who breaks away from the camp fire and goes for a wander. Little did that person know they would find someone else on a pinnacle staring across a valley tentatively raising a hand into a wave to a new found friend.

Eric Berne in simple writing mode
When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do is take a look at you. What I mean by that is giving you the space to think, the time to see literally the wood from the trees. I often think of a forest, some hills and a river that settlers sought as essential to make it their home. I ask myself, if things were real simple without the laws, the confusion and even the electricity - what is the simplest it can be?

Chasing the Muse. I put together a few ideas from what I thought mixed in with the books I've read. For me, Creative Non fiction is something we can all practice. It's just telling a story well. In the context of Google Plus posting, blogging or even short videos, here they are:

•  Art happens when you are not looking
•  Find the human story
•  Pretend we have all the time in the World
•  Take the long large view
•  Start on One Small Corner of Common Ground
•  Challenge is to make it large – significant- without making it long
•  Choose the most interesting point of view
•  Take it to a new level of elegance and emotional honesty. The reader places himself in the story and  measures the experience against the truth of his own life

Nature Boy There was a boy, A very strange enchanted boy, They say he wandered very far, very far Over land and sea. As a teacher, I was asked countless numbers of times why I did it. I never had an answer. There isn't one. The closest I got was to say, It's in my nature. By that I mean, altruism. I suffer the same fate at Google+ .. If someone asks, I will help them. I cannot do it another way. George Orwell wrote the short essay Why I write. In it, he tells how, Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.

I could compare it to GPS (Google Plus Syndrome) where I've heard of people spending 15 hours a day in hangouts, getting withdrawal symptoms from the +1 button and even spending so much time at plus, they end up deleting their entire account (only to return a few weeks later to say, where'd my followers go!?).

Stand and Deliver, your money or your life. One of the recent mysteries is the trigger happy nature of the Google plus stream. It seems, people are jumping up and down more than a kid on a fun fair trampoline. Usually at the site of a post by Google on a new feature.

Monty Roberts and Queen Elizabeth II
I've honestly lost count on the amount of hangouts I've been in or comments I've responded to where people are moaning, speculating and threatening Google with all sorts of inaccuracies. If these people were served a buffet of sausages and rolls (along with fifty other finger snacks), they would complain how unfair it is that Sausage Rolls were not there. I really find this quite amusing. There is no need for it. However, Google want Hangouts to be just like real life. Guess what, they are getting there .. just like children in the playground falling out and arguing just before Summer Break. To understand more, go visit The Games People Play by Eric Berne.

Join Up. Let me leave you with one story that makes me want to carry on. Sometimes, there are people who arrive in this world and do things a different way. One of those is Monty Roberts. I was fortunate enough to meet him. 

For those who do not know, Monty is an American horse trainer who promotes his techniques of natural horsemanship through Join-Up International. As a child in the 1940s breaking in horses was traditionally violent. Monty found a new way, by working in partnership with each horse by communication and herd behaviour. This was not without risk as crossing his own father often meant beatings and broken bones. Monty did not give up. There is a lesson there for us all.  

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Wednesday 25 July 2012

What I learned from Start Up 101: Lessons from behind the Stream

Start Up 101 with Sarah Hill has now ended. In this post, I'm sharing what I do as a Hangout Producer and what I learned. In this process, I used Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Chrome and Google Picasa.

Here's a Timeline Narration. I'm sat at my laptop.. constantly refreshing the g+ stream. 

I spotted the LIVE Feed for the show (at this stage I had no access to any privileged info, just the stream).

Thursday 19 July 2012

Google+: Sarah Hill's Broadcast News Hangouts with full Audio Transcript

Google released a video today featuring Sarah Hill and many more people who I've come to call my friends since my involvement with the News in Missouri. 

It's no secret to reader's of my stream at g+ (and this blog) that Google Hangouts have changed my life forever.

Little did I know in July 2011, when I sat on a sofa forcing myself to learn what Google Plus really was and how to use it, it would lead to this. I've seen things and gone places that I could never have dreamed of.

For many who have not experienced it before, it seems odd that a webcam, a headset and a microphone can do that. We are a year on now and my passion for Google Plus and what Hangouts can achieve is only just starting. I know Sarah feels the same.

Here is the audio transcript edited for you to read. By reproducing it here, makes it Google Searchable. That's a lesson for another day. 

0:07 Sarah Hill: My wheels are constantly turning about what might we be able to do in our news broadcast.
0:12 Sarah Hill: It all has to do with providing an accurate record, and being a resource for
0:19 people who reach out to us.
0:21 Sarah Hill: In our business, sometimes we think that we need to give you information, information,
0:27 information - and we’ve kind of forgotten the fact that that we need to listen.

0:32 Chad LaFarge: What Sarah’s doing is she’s gone from traditional news reporting format,
0:36 where there’s a person standing on the screen and they throw news at you - to a format where
0:40 people can come in and join the conversation. from your home you can log in...
0:44 Chad LaFarge: ...Sarah gives the news and says, “Chad what do you think about that”
0:47 Sarah Hill: It’s essentially a hybrid newscast that combines social media with TV.
0:52 Kim Beasley: Sarah does something that’s really unique. She has a earbud in each ear.
0:56 In one ear she’s listening to her producer.
0:58 Jen McMillen: You’re about a minute from headline.
1:00 Kim Beasley: In the other ear she’s listening to us.
1:02 Kim Beasley: Sarah what are you talking about today.
1:04 Kim Beasley: As she’s reporting the news, she’s hearing our feedback. Sometimes she
1:08 incorporates that into the newscast.
1:10 Jen McMillen: Standby. Headline.
1:10 Sarah Hill: If you guys could help me with the mute button.
1:18 Floor Director: Three, Two, One.
1:21 Jen McMillen: Go.

1:22 Sarah Hill: Hey Gang, I’m Sarah Hill welcome to U_News. Chad Lafarge you have an announcement
1:25 regarding your muckraking here in town.
1:26 Chad LaFarge Yeah, the muck ruckus that we talked about last Monday has moved.
1:29 Producer: Sarah top story on the website. E Coli strain.
1:31 (Guest: ...its in honor of.. .)
1:33 Sarah Hill: Okay. Guys.
1:34 Michele Spry: Yeah?

1:35 Sarah Hill: Two more reports of the same strain...
1:38 Kent Collins: The host or anchor for a show using social media...
1:41 Kent Collins: ...Is like the only air traffic controller on duty in New York or Chicago....
1:46 Kent Collins: ...It’s Mind Boggling.
1:47 Kim Beasley: No longer will news stations have to have someone on the scene of breaking news.
1:51 Kent Collins: People who are unhappy about the condition of a street in their neighborhood.
1:55They now are significant contributors to a story.

1:57 Sarah Hill: As news organizations we are realizing that we need to come down from that mountain
2:02 that we’ve placed ourselves on, and listen to people.
2:05 Chad LaFarge: I don’t want for my kids to be sitting there in front of the TV, having
2:09 the news thrown at them and not have a say. I want them to have the feeling that they
2:13 can contribute to that conversation.
2:14 Sarah Hill: There’s beauty in giving people a forum, and allowing people to share their stories.


Sunday 15 July 2012

An Introduction to Mediacise by Mike Downes

In this post, I will introduce the term mediacise, contrast it with the ostracism while paving a way for future discussion.

The Setup: I've listened to people in the media business, tried to understand their thinking and asked if they have any idea what's going on with the changes in their industry. 

I've watched countless presentations from current media professionals, chatted to them and posted. Many of them are stuck in the dark ages.

The Aim: To introduce the term, mediacise. If you wish to search for this word, you will see it has little use (and is not in any dictionary, until now). Let's see who picks it up. This may lead to people and companies taking an interest in becoming mediacised.

Media [mee-dee-uh]
This extends to far outside of the media business. For example, I've heard people say they are not a media company, but have a media arm. Some well placed gurus are saying everyone needs to be a media company - not just the media (themselves).

The Background: From Ostracism, we have a procedure to expel a citizen from Athens, Greece for 10 years. This was used to diffuse an argument [with rival politicians] through neutralization.  A modern usage could be a form of social rejection defined as, ' …any behaviour in which a group or individual excludes and ignores another group or individual'. Ostracism seems to have been used as a way to decide between radically opposed policies.

There is a link to Petalism: a form of banishment where names of those considered are written on leaves. Athens asks the Q: Do you wish to hold a OstracismVotes cast must be at least 6,000 in Athens. Thereafter, the winner is the person nominated who had ten days to leave the city (should they return, they face death). However, they can be called back early.

The Objective: Bring people, groups and business up to speed. Make them story tellers using our new found digital tools.

Dictionary definition [future] 2012/13
What is to Mediacise?

Ostracism is the banishment for 10 years, where Mediacism is the inclusion for the last ten years. Where were you in 2002? And what may you have missed? To Mediacise may be similar to modernise. 

A non-mediacised person or group, in extreme cases, is someone who is not aware of any digital changes at all. A milder case, is someone who is aware but scoffs or belittles those people who use the latest technologies. These non-mediacised people may be said to be living in the past.

This may apply to people working in the media industry or extended professions. An example maybe a print journalist who is forced to now publish online or to open a twitter, facebook or Google Plus account. Although many have embraced the new ways, it is no excuse that many have not. One swallow doesn't make a summer.

Another example is the small business owner who knows having a website, a blog and a social media presence may benefit them, but ignoring is a whole lot easier than consciously making steps towards mediacising. As I've said, every company needs to have a media arm in this fast changing digital age. As a reminder ..

Archive notes from Mike Downes
What have we seen in the last ten years? 
2002, Multi Media Messaging and Blackberry
2003: Wordpress and MySpace
2004: facebook and flickr
2005: YouTube and Windows Live
2006: Twitter
2007: Kindle
2010 Pinterest, iPad and Instagram and 
2011 Google Plus (And remember, Google was only founded September 1998, 14 years ago).

As we move towards a realtime digital world with the ever present video as a means of easy face to face communication, geography is all but forgotten. Global is now local. 

Media is the middle ground. The dictionary tells us it's a wall between two areas - it need not be.

So, Do you wish to hold a Mediacism? From my exploits in the news business, it seems there are many who are badly in need of being shocked into the reality of 2012. The avoidance shows itself in some very strange ways.

If you've ever experienced a raised eyebrow or being scoffed at when you mention Twitter, facebook or Google Plus or someone you know spends ten minutes walking to the shops for a newspaper (then spends three days reading it) .. and if you say.. what you're reading is kinda out of date .. and then you are given a look that makes you feel like you're the odd one out .. as you are the one with a laptop wickedly spending time online each day, then you may know what I mean.

Or the time you phone a business as they have no email or website and you are told the seller has no time for all that nonsense.. they are far too busy .. you may know what I mean. Or the time a major news organisation holds back on reporting some news for five hours.. when you read it on twitter 37 seconds after it happened .. you may just know what I mean (and yes I know we can argue over this one, and believe me I will).

The Ancient Greeks had a solution 2,500 years ago, Ostracism. What I'm looking to do is a flip, it's Mediacism (Mediacise).

For it's now late 2012 and these are the post modern times. Make sense of what's happening in the digital world. Find me and the people like me (who are media disruptors) to Mediacise yourself or your business before it's another ten years - ten years too late.

Friday 13 July 2012

Cameraman App leads the way for Channel Hopping with Hangous On Air

How do you Host Your Own Hangout On Air? Do you even think about it? Here are just a few ideas. I'm compiling a list and you can add your own.

Cameraman is a new App that lets you Channel Hop between users in a Hangout On Air. The slide shows some ways it can be used. Pro Studio is another App that can help produce seamless hangouts.

I've left out The Panel Discussion and The TV News Show, so the more adventurous we get, the more we create and have fun along the way.

For something so simple, the Cameraman App in Hangouts On Air could be the best think ever invented. It's a Channel Hopper ..

Remember when there was no TV Remote Control, to change a channel, it was the long walk from the sofa to the plastic button on the TV set and giving it a hard push.

Well, Cameraman is like that .. Sarah Hill could still say, Who do we have on our Cyber Couch today? and this time we will never know unless she hits that Channel Hopper ..

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