Google+ is the latest entry to the social networking race. I’m going to stay out of the “Is it better than Facebook or Twitter or Orkut?” game and just stick to the basics: How does it work? What does that mean for you, the beginner who wants to check it out? How should you precede? Because you should tread carefully as you begin, like with any new website that puts You online, I’m going to give you some strategies for getting started efficiently.
How Does Google+ Work?
Google+ is an interesting mix of Facebook and Twitter. Like Twitter, there are no mutual follows required. You can add someone to a circle (more about that new bit of terminology in a little) and they will receive a notification, but they don’t have to add you back.
However, like Facebook, no one can see your posts unless you let them. You can either make your posts Public so anyone can see them, or they are only visible to people you have added to a circle.
So that’s it: add people you want to follow to your circles. When people follow you, add them to a circle or ignore the notification.
One final word about how Google+ works: each time you post, you can choose–among the other requisite options, like adding an image or location–in a couple clicks, which circles you want to share each status update with. It’s very easy.
How to Start with Google+
The circle is the main social unit in Google+. I started off haphazardly creating circles, but then it got too wild. I had to stop, re-think how I would be sharing, and change my circles around. So before you get dive into Google+, take a few minutes and list the groups of people you want to share things with. Try to think generally at this point. Here’s what I did, for inspiration.
- Following: these are people who post really interesting updates, famous people, influential people. I want to get their updates, but I probably won’t share a lot with them.
- Family: I think this one is self-explanatory. I have all of my family in one circle right now, but as more of them join, I will consider splitting family into family groups.
- Outer Circle: Everyone I follow that isn’t in the Following circle is either in this group or the Inner Circle group. This is for people I want to share things with, but not personal things. These are definitely people I know.
- Inner Circle: I think this one is pretty self-explanatory too, but there are often posts that I want to share only with people I’m close to, so I have this circle.
I have several other circles, too, like for the Springfield Bloggers Association members and students, but to cut down on how many circles I need to select each time I post a status update, every one I add on Google+ goes into either my Following circle, my Outer Circle , or my Inner Circle. Putting your connections into too many circles quickly becomes overwhelming, trust me.
How does Instant Upload work, and why is it better?
For Android phones, Google+ makes it about as easy as it can be to share pictures. All of the other apps make you leave their app to select pictures. And if you want to upload pictures that you took on your phone when you’re on the computer, too bad, go find your phone. But Google+ will, if you allow it, upload pictures you take on your phone to your Google account so that you can upload pictures from anywhere.
Dead simple photo sharing. I love it.
What is a Hangout?
This is a really cool feature of Google+! A hangout is a voice and video chat with anyone on Google+, as many people as you want! I haven’t actually had a Hangout yet… anyone want to play around with Hangouts with me?
I think that’s enough to get you started. Go, explore Google+ and add me to one of your circles! If you have questions, post them in the comments and maybe you’ll inspire a future post!