Sunday, February 03, 2013

"Event Blog" vs "Event in G+"

Most of my friends know that I have this habit of creating travelogues to document my trips; and indeed, it's a place where I would occasionally carry out some reflections and learning points. Of course, the travelogue also doubles up as my photo album, which I had given up coming up with hardcopy photo albums since I came back from Bhutan! It's also a means to help me manage my resources - especially space.

I've not moved away from blogging about my travel... On the other hand, each time when I worked on my travelogue, I also see it as an opportunity for me to explore new things, which potentially can be introduced into the classroom.

The introduction of Google+ Events is pretty timely!

The very first attempt using it was a personal exploration trip with some friends:

In fact, for this exploration, I set up a blog to document the trip at the same time:

In other words, during this exploration, using the mobile devices (my iPhone and iPad), I uploaded photos and comments simultaneously to both platforms. There's certainly a difference, in terms of the posting experience and what we can view there and then :)
(Note: Downloading the apps for Blogger and G+ into the devices helps! and there's where we experience the 'power' of technology-on-the-move)

Both exploration and experience arose from this trip were good, in particular the use of the G+ Events (I won't say much about blogger because I'm so familiar with it).

Though it was my very first attempt, I discovered the "strength" of this G+ Event feature, compared to others. Of course, I also surfaced some limitations! It is very important for us to "unearth" both pros and cons of a platform so that we would be able to deploy this in the most appropriate situation/ scenario.

I did not really pay attention to what was the original intent (if it exists when Google rolled this out, or its name is already explicit enough?). Nothing beats trying it out personally compared to being invited to use it (in the 2012 July eduCamp@SST event).

AN event can be private or public. The personal trip was therefore pre-set such that it's private and therefore only invitees could access.
(Compare with blog: When we set the blog to private, then only co-authors or selected accounts can view/ edit)

Let me flag out one obvious limitation of both Blogger & G+ Events, especially for those who are pro-Facebook - the location tagging of both apps is very limited, which came as a surprise to many of us because we assumed that all these should be well-linked to the very respectable GoogleMap! No, no... it was a definitely assumption that was not true at all!

One of the primary strengths of G+ Events is being a photo album like what we had for Facebook. It allows us to upload photos almost immediately and line them up nicely, in real time, and at the end of the event, we can choose to view it as a photo album:

Alternatively, we can revert to the view that allows us to refer to some of the conversations entered before/ during/ after the event. The 'conversations' can include hyperlinks to information or resources to that any member of the event posted up.

The features discussed above definitely is absent from Blogger, which has a very different primary function - documentation with text.

Hence, G+ Event is more favorable for event documentation that does not require much text documentation, but relies a lot on pictorial documentation, and it's more for a one-time event. In addition, the advantage of this is allowing multiple contributors to the same album at any one time, as long as these contributors become the member of the event. This is especially when we want to do any photo collage quite insistently. We can run the photos as a slide presentation almost insistently, too :)

One other drawback of G+ Event is about adding captions to the photos. In my last attempt in December 2012, we were unable to add captions via the mobile devices at the point of photo uploading. Instead, we have to browse through the photos and update the captions from the computers.

Here are some Events that I thought we have used the platform well:
When will I choose blog over Google+ Event?
  • When the programme comprises of several events/ modules - because the photos will be lumped together as one album
  • When heavy text documentation is required
  • When there are links or additional information that needs to be made available to the reader at all times (the gadgets in the blog does a great job to serve the purpose)
  • When there is a need to embed several other platforms (not one, two or three, but many) - e.g. GoogleMap, Wallwishers, GoogleForm
  • When we need to embed videos - note "embed" against "link"- we can insert links of video clips and another other thing in events, but not embedding.

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