Are you using Google Plus (Google +)? Maybe it feels like one too many social media things. Maybe you weren’t impressed with Google Buzz or Wave. Maybe getting the VCR to record on program is still on the list.
If not on Google Plus yet, you have a decent excuse since it’s currently in a beta period and entry is by invitation only. But if you have been invited and haven’t made the move, it could be because it feels overwhelming.
Many writers tell me they’re still not using Twitter, which is understandable since it can be an odd thing to get started with. Some even report they’re not on Facebook, which seems a bit harder to justify as Facebook is fairly self-explanatory and user friendly. LinkedIn? Eh, some people use it but it feels like that’s one that could go either way. Let me say this; Google Plus takes the best aspects of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn while eliminating the worst. Presently, it has the best design and can be your one-stop for all things social media.
When Google Plus came out, admittedly it felt like too much since even my Facebook Group for indie authors had continual posts. Fortunately, this one has some real bonuses. Like Facebook, you can wall post stream what’s happening or things to share and include video, links, photos, chat, etc. Unlike Facebook, you can create different “circles” that these posts go out to. Circles can be composed of family, friends, work colleagues, followers, your soccer team, the bowling league, book club, fashionistas… whatever kind of circle you want to create. Make sense now? Yes, you can have different circles for those sexy comments with “late night friends” that your dear, sweet Grandmother will never have to read and risk a heart-attack. Or it can be ultra boring “engineer” stuff with your Boeing buddies that your 13 year old doesn’t want to see.
To me, this is a huge difference over Facebook as you can easily select what others do or don’t see with updates and wall posts. Makes me wonder if Mark Zuckerberg is scrambling to alter his site to this design. Currently, to accomplish the same effect on Facebook one would have to create entirely different accounts (pages), while at Google Plus one simple click creates different circles for whatever group you want. Piece of cake.
Like Twitter, anyone can add you to their circle to follow, and you can add anyone to yours. Unlike Twitter, you can identify who you want to see what, and you can do dozens of things that their platform doesn’t support.
You can also email people directly, people not even using Google Plus, with your announcements or invitations to come aboard. Presently, each new member gets 150 invites (it’s all free of course). If you do the math, it shouldn’t be long before everyone with an email address has an invitation that she/he can accept.
Sparks is another interesting feature that allows you to search Google Plus for content of interest. It has a list of pre-set subjects, or you can type in things like recipes, books, dog walkers in Los Angeles or anything you want.
Hangout allows group video chat with multiple people, another very cool feature.
Because this social media site does everything all the other ones do and then some, it feels like a must for Indie authors wanting to promote their writing as well as the general population that wants the best of social media.
There are plenty of great tutorials on how to use Google Plus. Rather than trying to re-invent than wheel, let’s just link some articles for you to check out if extra help is required.
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_start_with_google_plus.php -article tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TDMObxEtEY&feature=related -video tutorial (has a brief ad but is a great video)
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