I see a huge benefit for user generated content and citizen journalism when Hangout becomes mobile enabled. Had KOMU had a G+ mobile Hangout in Joplin for example, immediately after the storm, we could have invited a multitude of people to share emergency information and talk about the destruction they’re seeing in their own backyards. It takes a while to get a microwave live remote camera set up or even a satellite window booked. With G+, you can go “live” instantly.
That is simply a brilliant use of social media, and using it in a way that enhances the news rather than just adding a bell and whistle to the newscast. What KOMU is doing is shifting how we consume our news. That’s no small task. Even with the advent of this experiment KOMU’s been doing with G+, Google itself wasn’t quite ready for it. Because it hasn’t opened up G+ for businesses and other entities to have their own pages, they shut KOMU’s G+ page down on Tuesday. Jen blogged about that yesterday:
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’m mad or disappointed. How can I be mad when I’m having so much fun in this new space? KOMU’s account started on July 1st and ended 19 days later. Google didn’t tell brands to get out and stay out until July 6th.
We’re anxious for Google to open G+ up to brands so this forging of path of journalism and social media can continue. Connect with Sarah and Jen on Twitter and on G+ if you’re lucky enough to have an invite. They’re friendly people, and best of all, love talking about the work they’re doing.