Google+ Hangout on Mars

I didn’t get invited to be part of a 30 minute Google+ Hangout to talk about dying on Mars.

However, if I had been invited I would have said what one of the contributors said, and that’s about the moon.  Surely it would make sense to ‘try-out’, at the very least, long term living on the moon, and to learn from it before (or maybe ‘as well as’) going to Mars?

The fascination with setting up camp on Mars, assuming the first humans sent there actually survive the landing, seems to outshine any rational process which would otherwise suggest trying those small steps for the moon before the giant leap for Mars.

However, the banter seemed to be focussed on the one-way ticket nature of it.  Going to Mars and never being able to come back, and in return providing a Big Brother style ‘entertainment’ feed as you grow old, infirm and die, seems a little morbid.  It certainly puts into perspective my coming to Liverpool from London, with the probability of growing older and dying here.

The remains of the complete 30 minute Hangout can be found here.

Almost as interesting to me as a one-way trip to Mars, is the whole ‘new media’ way that the BBC is lovingly using Google+ Hangouts.  Hangouts can be used with up to 16 people all contributing, but for simplicity the BBC seems to limit them to 6, including themselves. An unlimited number can watch the Hangout ‘live’ or at any time in the future either via Google+ or Youtube.  Late comers can watch from the beginning in ‘delay’ from the live Hangout.

In many ways, the BBC‘s use of Hangouts shows how it is reaching out to capture and relay the ‘voice of the people’, so kudos to them for making Hangouts an essential and re-broadcastable part of their crowd-sourcing.

Now then.  It’s dangerous for me to ‘anorak’ on about Google+ because it upsets the old people who live and breath Facebook.

Unable to see that Google+ is as different to Facebook as Radio 1 is to Radio 3, they crow about user figures and snigger that I appear, in their minds, to be anoraking on about Betamax whilst they are all happily using VHS.  I tend to look at it as I’m using Blu-ray whilst they are still using VHS, but we all want to be right, don’t we.

So, I had a look at the BBC News presence on Facebook and on Google+.  They have a near identical page on both.  It’s time to compare and contrast.

The BBC News page itself on Facebook has over 693,000 ‘likes‘.

Google+ doesn’t do ‘likes‘.  It does ‘+1‘s.  It’s the same thing, different name.

On Google+ the BBC News page has 2,182,744 ‘+1‘s.

I looked for a random ‘old’ story that wasn’t connected with the whole Mars thing, which may have skewed the ratings towards Google+ since it was using the Hangouts facility after all.

I found an identical story about people using other apps (such as the lovely WhatsApp) instead of SMS text messages directly.

The Facebook version of the story had 72 ‘likes‘, 14 shares and 16 comments.

Meanwhile the Google+ version had 315 ‘+1‘s, 60 shares and 100 comments.

So, not bad for a system that Facebook anoraks tell us nobody is using, eh?  If I was the BBC, I know which ‘social network’ was getting the greater response and needing my greater attention.

Even more so if I was an advertiser or somebody who wanted to get a message to the most people in one go.