Is there are space for Google+ Hangouts in global development?

To be honest with you, I am still at a bit of loss when it comes to Google+ - especially in the context of international development communication, teaching etc. I am not an active member of Google+ so there may be a chance that I am missing out on a bunch of interesting discussions. But what I found quite interesting is that I have not come across any posts and videos that engage with Google+ Hangouts in the context of development (if there are examples, please send me links or comment below to put me out of my ignorance). The official Hangout videos on Google's YouTube channel have only received modest hits so far, e.g. this short introduction:

I do realise that cupcake baking looks more fun and is more active and interactive than, say, talking about land grabbing in Africa, but Google+ also promotes a more 'chatty' use of hangouts, e.g. during the upcoming Olympic Games:
Googles Hangout feature is once again giving Google+ users a chance to get closer to the stars, this time with a Olympic twist.
The New York Times-sponsored series started on Wednesday with basketball stars Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. Both are members of the 2012 USA Basketball team. The hangouts will run through next Tuesday.
Google Hangouts have been a favorite stop of politicians, celebrities, and friends. President Obama used the feature to connect with voters back in January, and musical artists the Black Eyed Peas participated in a hangout last October to chat with fans shortly before they took the stage at a concert in New York City.
But with the Olympics coming up in short order, it makes sense for these hangouts to feature some of Americas top athletes, doesnt it?
So maybe there is an opportunity to create a Hangout with 'development celebrities' (no, I am not going to name names here and leave it to your imagination ;)...), academics or other personalities? I am also wondering whether there is a potential for teaching and training, e.g. creating a Hangout for an interactive workshop to introduce a technique, project, software etc?

Besides the fact that Google+ is not that widespread (yet?), what may be some of the issues why Hangouts have not been adopted by the development communication universe?
First, there are issues about accessibility, Internet connection speed and the challenge that global development takes place in different time-zones-so arranging a common Hangout time may be difficult. Second, not everything in development is as active as a Hans Rosling presentation...when it comes to spoken words, less interactive formats can still be very interesting, e.g. Owen Bader's Development Drums podcast or the Australia-based AidWorks radio programme. Third, linked to my first and second point, you often need time to digest interesting talks and critical new ideas and do so in your spare time, after work or 'later' when you can listen to your music player, read a transcript and stop a video whenever necessary. 

But besides these caveats: Isn't there a space for Hangouts for conferences, presentations, work meetings and cost-effective training sessions?
This is really an open-ended question and I am looking forward to your insights, examples and critical views before we can set up the first ever development 'Hangout-up' ;)!

Update 19 July:

Denise Brown, WFP Country Director in Niger, discusses the hunger crisis unfolding across the Sahel region of Africa with a group of journalists and bloggers from around the world. Participants include CNN Anchor Jim Clancy, food security expert Roger Thurow, Reuters Alertnet George Fominyen, UNHCR Spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, ONE Campaign agriculture specialist Kelly Hauser, advocate and blogger Jennifer James, DSM Corporate Sustainability Director Fokko Wientjes, and WFP Deputy Director of Communication Gregory Barrow.
Thanks for sharing, Caitlin and Justin! 


  1. Interesting example of using a Hang-Out:
    'Come Hang Out and Talk Water Transparency' ( Includes some technical comments by Tom Murphy and your truly.


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