#bikeschool: To G+ or not to G+

15
Nov
2011

For some time now we’ve been asking you guys what improvements you want to see from #bikeschool and thinking about how we can take LovingTheBike.com and #bikeschool to the next level.

With the introduction of Google+ Pages last week, we decided to jump on board and set one up.  Yeah, we sort of felt like G+ Pioneers.  But now what?  Do we use it as a means of advertising for our weekly Thursday night class session?  Do we pretend G+ never happened and continue with #bikeschool as Twitter based and promoted only?  Do we take advantage of Google’s “Hangout” technology and offer a secondary form of #bikeschool that would add in another dimension to everyone’s favorite hour on social media?

First of all, #bikeschool on Twitter is not going anywhere….it will always be there.

It is, and always will be #bikeschool in the truest sense of the word.  But what about adding a G+ Spin-off that will be in addition to our legendary Twitter version?  We’re here to ask for your thoughts and provide some information on all things social media.

What G+ Offers:

The arrival of Google+ did not start off with as a positive reception as the Google geeks would have liked, they had game-changing alternates on the bench. I’ve been using G+ for a few weeks now and although it is taking a bit of getting used to that’s mainly down to learning the layout of the site and working out the limitations of it are. The ability to interact with friends, the whole timeline (or ‘public’) and to create small groups around a shared interest reflect what is possible on Twitter or Facebook, just in a different way. To be honest, if G+ got the number of users that Twitter does, with its increased usability due to not being restricted to 140 characters I could see it being a much more useful media tool all round. Like Facebook for grown-ups!

And there is the rub. At the moment I feel like it is an ‘either/or’ kinda deal. I’ve found myself trying to recreate my Twitter following lists on G+ which would enable me to interact with those people in a greater way. But then I slap myself and realise that these beasts can never be fully tamed to live in the same house. Twitter has its place and beautiful uses and so will G+ (Facebook is mainly used for uploading and viewing drunken photos right!?).

For me, Twitter is perfect for the #bikeschool class, getting LIVE cycle race updates and has created some of the funniest, smartest cycling pundits on the internet (@inrng, @Cycleboredom, @UCI_Overlord, @Cyclocosm, @Cyclismas to name but a few) but it’s character limitations mean I’m often left with a squillion Firefox tabs open reading stuff and watching videos. G+ gives you the ability to have more indepth conversations and discussions with others, as well as being able to upload drunken photos of yourselves!

As usual, I’ve completely wandered of the subject so let’s get back to it…

G+ Hangouts:

Now that myself and ‘The Boss’ are using Google+ and we have a Loving the Bike and  #bikeschool page, we thought it would be the perfect oppotunity to up our game. For cyclists, Winter has always been a time to relax, plan next year’s goals and train hard for the delights of Spring and Summer. So this winter, (yes I’m writing this from the cold bit of the northern hemisphere so if you’re somewhere warm just be shush and enjoy it!) we’re going all experimental on yo ass!

One of the beautiful features of G+ is the new ‘Hangouts’ feature. We are in the early stages of testing for this to see if it will fulfill our needs but its already looking like a solid piece of kit. Essentially, a hangout is a video chat with other people via G+. If there is a hangout running on someones page with people chatting, you can jump right in and converse using you face, not just your words! Myself and few others have tried to do this with other programs with the intention of bringing something a little extra to #bikeschool but others such as Skype don’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to usability and video quality. I’m not going to try to explain all the possibilities of the ‘Hangout’ as I don’t know all of them but I’m working on that. Have a quick look at a great example of how to explain a product feature without giving you the slightest idea how you should use it to it’s fullest!

A Small Step For…

We haven’t decided what we should do with #bikeschool on G+ yet, but we’d like to hear your suggestions and comments.  Please leave those in the comments area below.  We’ll be back with an update on this in the very near future.

If you are on Google+ or would like to be, we invite you to do the following:

1. Head over to Google+ and sign up for an account if you haven’t got one already

2. Add the Loving the Bike and #bikeschool G+ accounts to one of your circles

3. We’ll likely be doing some testing, so when you see the invitation for a ‘Hangout’ with #bikeschool, join in and chat! Easy as that!

 

Stevie

Enjoy Your Ride

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11 Responses to “ #bikeschool: To G+ or not to G+ ”

  1. Martha A. Boyd on November 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I’m open to trying new things to enhance BikeSchool.  G+ hasn’t caught my attention yet.  I can barely keep up with Twitter/Facebook.  Good to know BikeSchool Hour will remain on Twitter.  I like the simplicity.  FB is too busy, don’t know if G+ will get that way, actually thought G+ was dead.  Sounds good for extra curricular activities for our crazy cycling students/classmates.    If Stevie is jumping off the bridge, do we all need to follow? Just kidding, I just read @lovingthebike’s mom said that on a previous post.   Fun to see where this adventure takes us.  In the meantime, I love my Thursday night BikeSchool on Twitter, anything extra wherever that maybe is a plus, or G+.

  2. Martha A. Boyd on November 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’m open to trying new things to enhance BikeSchool.  G+ hasn’t caught my attention yet.  I can barely keep up with Twitter/Facebook.  Good to know BikeSchool Hour will remain on Twitter.  I like the simplicity.  FB is too busy, don’t know if G+ will get that way, actually thought G+ was dead.  Sounds good for extra curricular activities for our crazy cycling students/classmates.    If Stevie is jumping off the bridge, do we all need to follow? Just kidding, I just read @lovingthebike’s mom said that on a previous post.   Fun to see where this adventure takes us.  In the meantime, I love my Thursday night BikeSchool on Twitter, anything extra wherever that maybe is a plus, or G+.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on November 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks for your comments on this, Marty.  You’ve got that right…#bikeschool will always be a permanent fixture on Twitter and really will always be the real #bikeschool.  Having something to help promote #bikeschool on G+ should be a good thing and it will also further expand the great brand that we have with it.

      It’s actually great to see so much discussion on this because that shows me how much people really care about what we have going on.  #bikeschool has grown to be something very special and we would never do anything that would change or affect that.

  3. Steve Montalto on November 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Two thoughts on this and both are in favor of #bikeschool on G+.  First – would really love to see cycling and biking advocacy flourish on G+.  Maybe this is only my personal desire but the platform just seems right for both fun and substantive discussions (#bikeschool being a great example of both).  FB is from my POV, too cluttered (among a variety of issues).   Twitter is great for a lot of things but having a large active discussion thread going… is a challenge.  Throw in some media and, well, messy to say the least.   Second (and this speaks to the “challenge” with Twitter),  G+ is structured (currently) around conversations – so much easier to keep track of the thread One note – I haven’t participated in any Hangouts as of yet but I believe that you don’t have the advantage of textual thread so folks who are tardy for #bikeschool (raises hand) or have to multi-task during class may find it harder to participate.  In summary – I’m all for it and say “let’s try it!”

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on November 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks for your input, Steve.  Yes, there is definitely an open market for bicycle discussion on G+ and I guess that is why we’ve had a lot of people asking if #bikeschool would set up over there.  Before moving to fast forward we wanted to hear from our loyal #bikeschool crew and that was the reason for today’s post.

      We’ll likely use the #bikeschool G+ to help promote what goes on over on Twitter and hold cycling based hangouts on G+ that are separate from the traditional #bikeschool.

      Thanks again for your comments.

  4. Susan P on November 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Bikeschool anywhere is a great idea.  I’ll be attending wherever you have it.

  5. Chandler Snyder on November 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Ok, heres my 2 cents.  Im all about bringing #bikeschool to as many people as possible.  I love twitter, for those of you who know me.  However, I dont necc have time to sit around and refresh every couple of mins on my phone.  Ive missed the past couple of weeks because of “life” and personally I feel that if there was a Hangout on G+, or some similar service site, Id be more apt to schedule that time during the week. Now I understand I could do the same thing, but i liken it to “online” classes versus in person classes.  If you KNOW youre going to miss something in person that you will not be able to ask the prof about later, youre more apt to go.  If its “online” you can go there whenever to attend.  

    If there’s a site out there that can integrate both, WONDERFUL!  I dont think it exists yet though.  So, Id love to see #bikeschool on G+ and I think it would also make it that much more personal to all of us who LOVE this bike culture that we do, and can offer so many more sides to the story from our different experiences and backgrounds.  

    Boots out!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on November 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks Chandler.  You are one of the biggest #bikeschool promoters out there so I appreciate you adding in your thoughts to this discussion.

  6. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I have only been on #bikeschool a couple times but have enjoyed it.  I hope I get back there again.  I am not on Google yet but am interested to hear about developments on there.  I learned a few things in this post today. 

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on November 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      We’ll provide more details in the future, but we hope you’ll join us on Twitter again as well as for a hangout on G+.

  7. Greg Steiner on November 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I am actually not on twitter so I don’t know much about bikeschool, but it sounds very interesting.  I am on facebook and google and would be interested in taking part in a bicycle related hangout over there.  Let me know if you are going to do it.

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