Karen from The Media Mesh and I have decided to start a new monthly series called She said/She said.
Once a month we will cover the same topic on the same day from our individual perspectives. We will then wrap up the day with a google hangout where we hope people will join us to talk more about the topic.
What is it?
Google + is a new social network by Google.
The basic elements of it are (based on my own observations):
- You follow people and don’t need their permission to do so (like Twitter).
- Your content unfolds in your stream more similarly to Facebook, with longer posts, photos and links to other sites.
- You can sort your contacts into circles (I have ones for social media, Ottawa, and friends - to name a few) and then use those circles to filter content when you want to read about a certain topic or to send messages to only select groups of people.
- They have google hangouts which are live group video chats (we’ll be having one tonight if you’re interested in joining Karen and I to further discuss this topic).
- +1 - you may have seen this on blogs, web sites, etc. When you +1 something it is essentially the same thing as “liking” on Facebook, but google is able to integrate it into all of their spaces easily which means you’ll see +1 all over.
- It integrates with Picasa Photos.
- In time it will surely integrate with all of Googles applications.
Why should I care?
Are you sitting there thinking:
“why on earth should I join ANOTHER social network. I don’t even manage to find the time to use Facebook, Twitter and Linked In well!”
Here are the reasons I think Google + is worth investing some time in:
- You can follow some really interesting people and take part in some really interesting conversations.
Because you can follow people without them having to approve you (like Twitter) you can be a part of some really interesting and in depth conversations (which is very unlike Twitter). I follow a lot of experts in Social Media (and admittedly there are many, because they are the early adopters of a new social network) and I have learned more in areas of interest through Google + than any other network.
When I first heard about circles I thought that the biggest value was in being able to choose who what content went to (business associates don’t need to see 50 photos of my kids at the cottage for example), but I quickly realized the real value was in being able to quickly sort the people I follow into the kind of content I’m looking for. I can visit google+ for business/learning and spend time with just the circles that are appropriate to that, or I can come and see what my friends are up to.
- Opportunities to build engagement
Because there is no character limitations in Google + there is a lot of room to play around with content and provide content to your audience that they are looking for. There are a few great ideas in this post, including reusing old blog posts as Google + posts, or breaking up long blog posts into a google + series that people would keep coming back to.
- Circle sharing
You can share a circle, like you can share a Twitter list. This is a great way to find lots of new people to follow quickly!
The ability to easily have multi-user chats online (whether with video or not) is a great and useful tool. I have conducted meetings in google + hangouts and they have even integrated google documents into the hangouts now (thought I haven’t tried that functionality yet). It makes the virtual meeting or the virtual online class easier than ever before.
My advice to you
-It’s still new
Google + is still a new space. If you were on Facebook in the first year then you remember it was a lot slower paced and quieter than it is now. Google+ moves a lot slower than Facebook or Twitter because not that many people are actively using the tool yet. I believe it will get better, and I think we should appreciate the calm and quiet of the space for now :)
Look for and follow lots of people in your field. Engage, share their information, join in the conversations.
Think about what makes sense for the circles you create. I have some by geographic area and some by field. You don’t want to have to move people around later so think about how you’d like things organized before you start clicking and dragging
- Try it out
Even if you don’t use it a lot, check it out, follow some people (including Karen and I!) and post some content. Share your latest blog posts, events, etc and you may be surprised by the feedback and pickup it gets. By being in the space early you’ll be at an advantage later on.
Have you tried Google +? What do you think?
Don’t forget to visit Karen’s post to see what her point of view on Google + is, and join us at 8pm tonight (Monday October 25) for a hangout (the link will be posted on Karen’s profile) where we can talk about all the things we like and don’t like, and answer questions about Google +!