The virtual buddy is the person who is not attending the conference/event in-person but hasan interest in connecting to the people on-site (and is the one who helps other virtual participants join in). The virtual buddy (it began as Maha Bali, but now we have many) is the one who should provide some technical stability since they will be using their own computer/laptop for initiating hangouts and recording them.
Check out these Google Slides (open for commenting) on our entire process. (created by Maha Bali, edited by Wendy Taleo and Autumm Caines).
AWe’ve learned the hard way about some of these things:
- Agree on a “best communication method” with your onsite buddy beforehand – do you prefer to communicate over Slack, facebook messenger, Twitter, email? What about during the actual event, how do you communicate best?
- Test everything with your onsite partner before going live; that’s everything (audio, video, wifi) except actually recording, though you should also make sure you know how to record in advance
- Have a backup technology in place in case your initial plan fails. In the Maha-Rebecca case, we had zoom (which records offline) as the backup to Google Hangouts (which records while livestreaming). We have not used this since #et4buddy. Backup devices/alternative browsers more common
- Try to make sure you are logging in from a location you trust; sometimes moving rooms in your own house can affect the quality of wifi (which may be less obvious when you’re only connecting to check your email but more obvious when you’re trying to have audiovisual interaction)
- If using Google Hangouts, don’t post the “join” link publicly, or you may have uninvited guests; do post the watching link publicly so people can watch the streaming video
Ken Bauer technical video on setting up Google Hangouts on Air via YouTube Live
Christian Friedrich and Maha Bali With Tips for Virtual Buddies (with editing and enhancements by Maha Abdelmoneim)
Previous onboarding videos (old version of hangouts)
You may like to check out Autumm’s video tips for setting up Google hangouts on air as a virtually connecting buddy