Hot summer days signal the time for families to gather for the annual ritual of family reunions.
Family reunions often bring together many generations to mingle, play, create new memories and relive those memories of the past.
The intent of a family reunion is to bring together the family in one place at the same time. Some family members may be overextended on their PTO, over-strained on the financing or busy with other summer activities such as boy scout camp, a business trip or other commitments.
Until only recently if you were not able to make the reunion you were out of luck and would likely miss out on all the fun. Today we have many options of keeping up to speed on all the events and with the advent of modern social media you can even join in on the fun with the use of video collaboration.
Skype and Facetime
Using Skype video you can call in to or from the family reunion and have the person on the other line share in the special moments of the gathering. Skype is free over the internet, there are some costs when call phone number. Facetime is a social app for the iPhone which can be used for face to face video interactions between phones.
Facebook: Using Facebook Video Calling
I have not yet used Facebook video calling but understand that it is built on the backbone of Skype and can help you meet face to face with Facebook friends and family who are online.
Google Plus – Google Hangouts
Holding the unofficial world record for the longest lasting Google Hangout, 77 days, I am biased to hangouts as the hands down winner of video collaboration. From early July 2011 to August I and over 12,000 others used hangouts to test this new technology and join in on a video conversation which we held. Now I use hangouts to connect with friends, family, business partners and virtual conference attendees.
More about Google Hangouts for your reunion
Setting up a Google Hangout will allow up to ten people to connect for free in an online collaborative window. It takes just one to three clicks of the mouse to start that hangout and then you can share images, your screen, and you family reunion with family who could not make the event.
My suggestion is that you start a hangout in a quiet corner at the event with the camera facing the main action of the reunion. Both those at the event and those joining online will be able to quickly connect and talk to each other – share photos, videos, presentations, genealogy charts and any other needed items.
Hangouts can be embedded on your family site and recorded for editing and playback in the future – becoming and interactive fun part of modern family history.
Using this modern technology while at a reunion will add rich content and fun social media to your reunions.
This year as your family gathers don’t forget to bring a laptop, and arrange for an internet connection, so that you can expand and enhance your reunion and build lasting memories.
Here is a 3 minute video showing Google Hangouts in action at a recent family history conference. You too can create a hangout at your gathering and easily connect your family so that everyone can attend your next reunion.