Five Google+ Tips | A Social Media Guide for the Modern Mom - Evolved Mommy
Guest post by Zac Cosner
Google+ (plus.google.com) is the new social network created by Google which is like a combination of Twitter and Facebook. Some people are having a hard time wrapping their head around it so I’m here to give you five tips to help you wade into the pool that is Google+.
1) Circles are your Friends
The main advantage Google+ has is Circles. When you join Google+ you place people in different circles you create. For Example, I have different circles for family, coworkers, church family, former classmates, members of the media, and people I’ve met thru social networks. If I’m attending a wedding for a church member my coworkers wouldn’t really care to hear about it. So when I decide to post an update or pictures from the wedding I wouldn’t include the coworkers circle in the group of circles I’m sharing that update with. If you’ve placed someone in a circle that isn’t on Google+ it will give you an option to send them an e-mail with the update you’re posting. You can also choose an individual person or people to send an update to. This is how Google+ handles privacy. You can’t set your profile to private but you can limit what you share.
2) The Megaphone
When posting an update you can go beyond just choosing circles you created and go full megaphone and choose public. This is similar to posting to Twitter with a public account. Anyone can see these posts in Google searches and it will appear in activity streams of people who have placed you in a circle of their own. I should note that even if you limit visibility a post with circles as I described above, your posts can still be re-shared by people in the circles you shared with. The only way to make sure it’s not is to “Disable Reshare” in the post.
3) Your Streams and How Circles Impact them
When you login to Google+ the first thing you see is your “Stream”. Items currently appear in your “Stream” in two different ways. Both involve the people who you put into your circles. The first way is if a person you placed in a circle has shared something publicly. If this is the case it will say Public at the top of the post.
The second way is if a person you placed in a circle shared an update to a circle that the person who is posting placed you in. If this is true it’ll say Limited at the top of the post. I get a headache from reading those last two sentences. Let me try to clarify them. I have Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a circle. If he posts, and it was to show up in my stream, It would probably be a post he made to “Public” since he doesn’t know me and doesn’t have me in any of his circles. This would be an example of the first way a post appears in my stream. If my sister-in-law wanted to post about her bunion, it would show up in my stream as a Limited post since she wouldn’t share this with anyone but her “Family” circle, which I would be a part of, and her “Closest Friends” circle. Also, she’d probably disable resharing.
As I mentioned above, unless a post has resharing disabled you can reshare any post. The catch is if you try to share a limited post, Google+ will say…”This post was originally shared with a limited audience – remember to be thoughtful about who you share it with.” Lastly, on the sidebar, is “Incoming”. This is a stream of posts, being shared with you, from people who have placed you in a circle, but you haven’t returned the favor. It’s a good idea to check this occasionally just to see what people are sharing with you.
Below Incoming on the sidebar is “Sparks”. Currently I haven’t seen them doing much. Google says the following… “That’s…what Sparks does: looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share”. You’ll need to populate the “Sparks” list with your interests and if you click on one it gives you a Google news rundown on that subject. I suspect we’ll see them insert news items from sparks in your Stream at some point, similar to the way updates from pages you “like” on Facebook show up in your news feed there.
Last but not least is “Hangouts”. Hangouts are essentially video chats for up to 10 people at a time. Once a user starts a hangout it can last as long as two people remain in a hangout. In other words, if one person starts a hangout, it will not end when the originating person leaves. To help conversations flow, the person who is speaking will appear in a larger viewing window while the remaining people will be in thumbnail boxes below the main viewing window. If someone continues to interrupt, or just annoys you, you can mute individuals for any length of time.
Like any social network Google+ was built for people to connect and have fun. Remember though Google+ is in an early invite only stage right now. It will have features added, tweaked, and killed before the “Official” public launch. Have patience and an open mind and you’ll be fine. For more info and videos of what I discussed above check out http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/ .
TWO MOBILE BONUS TIPS: If you are on an Android phone you can download the Google+ app. It allows for instant uploading of all photos you take with your phone when you’re in the app or not to a private Picasa Web album (Picasa is a photo sharing service like Flickr but from Google. It’s been reported that the service will soon be renamed to Google Photos). Don’t worry though; they aren’t instantly posted to your Google+ account when they are uploaded. You have to approve which photos are posted while in the app on your phone, or when you get back home and login from your PC or Mac. Secondly the Google+ app has a feature called “Huddle”. Huddle is group text chat for up to six people. If you are on an iOS device, I can comfort you by noting that the Google+ was approved on July 19th and is now available HERE. I haven’t had time to put it through its paces but I’ve already noticed it does have Huddle.
Zac Cosner is a system technician at a southeast Arkansas hospital. He also currently serves as the Evangelism and Outreach Chairperson for Central Presbyterian Church in Pine Bluff, AR where his duties include managing the church’s online presence. If you ask Laura, his wife, he barely has time to do those things and keep their cat Oliver fed and his litter box clean. If you have any questions or comments you can contact him on Twitter @arkbear or on Google+ http://gplus.to/arkbear .