In an effort to stay on top of changes in technology for both external and internal purposes, we recently created what we like to call “Digital Learning Lunches.” These monthly lunches are designed to inform and educate all dgs team members on the latest digital tools and trends that are available for use. Every lunch handles its own unique topic, and takes place over our noon lunch hour (with food provided, of course).

For our first Digital Learning Lunch, our Digital Communication Associates, Chris and Austin, introduced us to the world of Google Apps, and how they can be utilized to achieve digital collaboration on certain projects that benefit from it . Demonstrating a few key apps, such as Google Docs and Google+ Hangouts, the DCAs took us through a step-by-step process of how to set up and use these tools, followed by a discussion of how they could be used internally to boost productivity.

Here’s what the two have to say:

Austin: “Google Docs is a cloud-based document builder (similar to Microsoft Word) that allows users to create documents, collaborate with others on those documents in real-time, and, because all documents are saved in Google Drive (Google’s free Cloud-based storage), access those documents on any device, anywhere. Google+ Hangout is a conferencing tool that includes one-on-one or group (up to 10 people) conversations, including video conference calls. Both services are free for anyone to use; all you need is a Google account.”

Chris: “Used as a set of collaboration tools, Google apps can be used to make it possible to work with people around the world without leaving your desk. Austin and I love to use Google Docs to work on projects at the same time without having to send multiple versions over email. It also allows us to see the revision history of a document and revert back to an older version if needed. If we have to take work home, we are able to start a Google Hangout video conference as we finish up the project.”

Austin: “Real-time collaboration can be a necessity in the fast-paced environment of an agency. To meet the demands of the industry, using these tools on projects that require collaboration between one or more team members can enhance efficiency. For instance, these tools assist with the weekly social media work we do with clients. Our weekly content calendars are developed on Sheets, Google’s version of Excel, which are then shared with each client. Because the spreadsheet is a living document, the client is able to make real-time edits to the content, without the need to send multiple emails back and forth, saving us time on the editing process and allowing us to post up to date, relevant content each week.”

If our first lunch is any indication, these lunches are sure to be fantastic learning opportunities for our team. Check back with us soon for recaps of future lunches – which are sure to be just any interesting as this one!

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