How I Think Google+ Should Be Used
Google+or ‘Google Plus’ is Google’s latest brainchild, a social network to rival both Facebook and Twitter. I was fortunate enough to be given an invite just days after its initial launch, and have been using it happily since. I have a good idea of where its benefits and drawbacks lie, and a good idea of how to use it to its full potential.
Why Google+ is like Twitter
You can add people to your circles, which are a bit like Twitter’s lists - only much easier to manage with a swanky drag and drop interface. You can add as many people as you like to your circles, and filter and share posts based on them. People are under no obligation to add you back, but unless they do, you will only see their public posts. You can re-share content, but messages can be over 140 characters in length.
Why Google+ is like Facebook
It is very easy to have a conversation on Google+, as people can comment on posts you submit (so long as you don’t disable comment posting). There is also a ‘+1’ button similar to the ‘like’ button for posts and individual comments. This gives much more of a community feel to the whole Google+ experience. You can post links, photos, videos and more to Google+.
Steps To Becoming a G+ Guru
Get Signed Up
You’ll need to grab an invite. I’ll happily send you one if you comment here with your email address, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete Your Profile
Choose a good profile photo and a good tagline to appear underneath your name - these are the things that people are most likely to use to identify who you are and which circles to put you in. It also helps to list links of all of the other social networks you can be found on for people to recognise you.
After that, follow Lifehacker’s guide to migrating all of your facebook data to Google+.
Add People To Your Circles
You can start by adding me, and your Facebook friends by following the aforementioned guide to migrating Facebook data to Google+. Then perhaps take a look through the groups at group.as to find people with similar interests. Don’t be afraid to add people, the worst that can happen is that they won’t add you back, but you can still interact on their public posts.
There are many different ways of interacting on Google+, and don’t just involve telling the world what you happen to be doing at this instant. Post related updates to circles of people who have a common interest, comment on other people’s posts, create a poll, share links, videos and photos from the web, or upload your own. You can even join a hangout and video chat online… something I’ve not been brave enough to try yet!
Make The Experience Better
Dig in to the countless online services and extensions available for both Chrome and Firefox that will make your Google+ experience much better. Here are a few of my favourites:
- gplus.to allows you to create a special short URL for your Google+ profile URL, you can visit mine at gplus.to/maccath
- Start Google Plus for Chrome and Firefox allows you to cross-post to Twitter and Facebook, and view your Twitter and Facebook feeds in your Google+ stream.
- Google Plus Minus for Chrome allows you to choose exactly which circles show up in your stream, instead of having to flick through individually.
- Check out The Mother Of All Google+ Resource Lists for even more G+ goodies.
People have spoken about Twitter and Facebook becoming obsolete with the introduction of Google+, but I don’t believe it to be true. Google+ is a beautiful Twitter-Facebook hybrid, but I still use Facebook to share things with close friends, and Twitter to publically share nonsensical little things on a whim. Nevertheless, Google+ is a great addition to the social media arsenal, and I hope to see you there!