An historic event took place today. President +Barack Obama used a mixture of social media and emerging technology to connect with five ordinary Americans through a Google+ Hangout.
Participants ( +Jennifer Wedel, +Christine Wolf, Adam Clark, +Ramon Ray and +Paras Patel) were selected to appear on a Google+ hangout with each other, a moderator from Google, +Steve Grove and the President, +Barack Obama, who appeared live from +The White House
The interview allowed every day Americans to pose questions to the President through +YouTube videos and comments left on The White House’s channel. Questions were selected based on their popularity and other factors. The selected questions were played live during the interview and posed to the President.
According to a source participating, this was the first time that the President had heard or seen the questions. YouTube, a division of Google, was clear to state that the questions were not chosen by the White House.
Among the five participants in the hangout with the President was Jennifer Wedel, a normal American who felt the pinch of the economy when her husband got laid off.
During and immediately after the interview there was a lot of buzz on Google+ stating that the hangout appeared over-produced and possibly scripted. Google’s Director of Engineering for hangouts was quick to clarify that the video was live and transmitted using Google’s Hangout technology.
A lot of people, including myself (+Peter G McDermott), felt that the hangout was entirely over-produced and possibly scripted. So, I did what any responsible blogger or journalist would do, dig.
After locating the five people that appeared on the interview, I attempted to get ahold of each member and was luckily able to engage Jennifer Wedel in this EXCLUSIVE interview in a live unscripted, unplanned and unscheduled Google+ Hangout.
During the interview Jennifer talks about her experience from when she heard about the event, uploading her question to YouTube and everything that happened afterwards. Her story is truly remarkable.
Jennifer, like the other four panelists, was not a big Google+ user. She was unfamiliar with a lot of the features and had never participated in a hangout before. Staffers from Google visited her house and gave her a crash course in how the feature worked and showed her all the advantages of using Google+.
After looking more in depth, Jennifer says she is totally amazed by the platform and plans to move solely to the network once she can migrate her friends and family from other social networks like Facebook.
Before any other news organization was able to spend time with her, I asked Jennifer to participate in this hangout with me. Among the people joining and asking questions are friends that I have met through Google+ and have no previous affiliation with. The questions are unscripted and the footage is unedited (except for repeated parts).
Towards the end of the Hangout, Jennifer admitted that this was the second coolest hangout she had ever joined in her life. That’s a pretty big compliment, considering her first was with the President, and we don’t mind coming in second to the President.
Watch the video below and see what she has to say. Leave your comments below and most importantly, share this video with your friends and family to show them what Hangouts are really all about. Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to sit with us and tell us your story!