Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to Shift a Paradigm

I've had video chats with friends before. They've been kind of a pain in the ass, mostly because you're either looking for people with the same kind of computer & software (to use iChat) or you're trying to find someone who's online & ready to chat.

Google has changed all that by changing the term.

I've been on Google+ for a week or so now and I've seen that they have something called a "hangout", which is just a video chat room. Someone's status will read "So-and-so is hanging out", and, if I'm in their circle, I can drop in and "hang out".

Last night, I was on an iPad 2 on Google+ and saw that a friend was "hanging out". I tried to hang out on my iPad, but it said it wasn't supported on my device. I posted as much and my friend said "go get on your iMac", so I went downstairs and, seeing that I had some muffins to make, decided to get on my MacBook Pro and see what my friend was up to.

I logged on and there were three people there who I have known online for years, and something interesting happened. As I made the muffins, I was able to just talk and get my stuff done, and it was like my friends were in my house with me. We were laughing and joking, one guy was playing guitar, and we were just - hanging out.

There's a main video window that seems to change so the person talking is in the big window. When there's a lot of sound and people this gets pretty crazy, but if you've got 5 or so people, it's ok. You can also click on a person and their window stays on the main window.

And it occurred to me that it's a pretty cool thing, and a large part of it is just the name. Would you rather hang out with friends, or "Skype" them? Or "Facebook video chat" them? Or iChat them?

Hanging out sounds right, and it feels right.

And that's how you shift a paradigm. People are going to start using this regularly, and it's all because of the name & implementation.

3 comments:

  1. Agree. All of it. I found myself telling my Mom I hung out with friends last night. Never happened with Skype.

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  2. Even on Tokbox or other multi-person video chat places, it still had a sterile sort of feel? It's hard to describe.

    Hearing you laugh and having you yelling at me to shut up made it feel that much more like just hanging out with friends. :)

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