By Ms. Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chairman, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group
I was excited when I saw this month’s topic for the Carnival of Journalism. So excited, that I decided to write this post even though I’m on vacation!! We all know about Google+, which is being touted as the next new social/new media tool. I was among those who queried my Twitter users to get an invite to take it for a whirl.
I got on in July, created a few circles…then did nothing. I’d read updates, but didn’t feel comfortable actually using Google+, which I found a bit confusing in the beginning.
But then I found an interesting use — live blogging an event. From Aug. 3-7, the National Association of Black Journalists held its annual convention in Philadelphia. On Aug. 2, NABJ’s board of directors was meeting. We’ve had some issues we’ ve been dealing with, including our break from UNITY: Journalists of Color. I, along with other members, have had some issues in the past with how things were communicated.
Back in January, I attended the quarterly NABJ board meeting, which was in Washington, D.C., and I used Twitter to cover the meeting. But about halfway through the proceedings, a board member asked me to stop, because technically, the board meeting was open only to NABJ members.
I missed the April board meeting, but did attend the August meeting. Again, I was trying to find a way to cover the meeting, but only include dues-paying members. So I decided to give Google+ a try. I created the circle NABJ 2011 and used this blog, Facebook and Twitter to let folks know I would be live blogging the meeting using Google+.
When people asked to join the circle, I used the NABJ website to make sure they were members. I reminded folks on the day of the event and it was off to the races.
I found Google+ to be a great tool. I could post as much — or as little — information as I wanted, not constrained by a 140-character limit. Since it was live, folks could — and did — follow along in and out, but they could also go back to the stream later. And they could post questions directly to the circle that I could answer in real time, or chase down a board member to get the proper answer.
I could see journalists using Google+ for a similar use, like covering a community or city council meeting. The notes taken could be used as part of a summary blog post or even a story. And the interactive feature can allow journalists to get questions from circle members they may not have thought of.
So my little experiment has caused me to take a closer look at Google+ to see the possibilities. And I’m reading some great posts on how journalists do that, including: Prashant Rao’s Google+ For Journalists: A Primer; Mashable on 5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+; and KOMU’s Jen Lee Reeves on 5 Reasons Why Journalists Should Play With Google+.
I look forward to following other journalists as they start using Google+ as a tool. And watch this space as we take our own Google journey and share the results.