I started kicking the tires on Google Plus this weekend. Google plus is definitely everything you like about Twitter and Facebook without the things you don’t like. My overall impression on week one of Google plus testing is that it is a great tool to follow and engage in people’s conversation without all the noise. If you’re a geek or early adopter like me that likes to test new tools, then Google Plus is a great place for you. If you’re a small business, google plus is also a great resource as it can help you with identifying and categorizing leads. However, Google plus is too new for large companies to jump in with two feet. But if I were a large corporation, I’d be checking it out too.
I personally don’t believe Google Plus is a Facebook killer. However, Google Plus is a social network game changer. Google Plus is showing us there is still a lot of room for innovation in Social Networks. The space is clean (so far) as we are not bombarded with ads at this time. You can easily check what is happening in your circles without having to share the circle categories. It’s very easy to use and share information. The privacy settings are also very clear.
I recommend Google plus to sort all your networking groups into circles (ie chess club, work, blogging groups, professional affiliation groups, etc). I’d also recommend it for people who have friends or coworkers that are not early adopters of Twitter and/or Facebook, as it is a great way to share information & ideas and start conversations.
- Edit your profile with keywords regarding your business, industry and skills, as the future promises it will be good for SEO.
- Edit your notifications. By default Google plus will send you lots of email. If you want to test it go ahead, but be warned. It will spam you with lots of emails.
- Familiarize yourself with circles. Start with a few circles and get creative with the naming.
- Invite your friends that are not in any social network circle. Invite your Twitter and Facebook friends to add to circles. Mainly people who’s conversations you want to follow.
- Keep your network small. Start with just a couple at a time then grow your network.
- “Friends” The default Google plus account already follows Google Buzz friends which make it easy to add via Google plus. It was a welcome relief when trying to figure who to add. Everyday I log in there is a suggestion of friends to add.
- “Circles” allow you to share information with just a specific group of people or extended circle of friends. You can create multiple custom circles. Consider creating a private circle with only yourself to share information with yourself. One of the benefits is that you can share information with yourself and then read it later. You may also want to set up a separate circle for events, conferences, blogging communities. Friends that frequently update are also good candidates for their own circle. In the long run, Google plus will be a great collaboration tool for sharing information with circles of friends. The collaboration possibilities are endless. Your friends will never know what circle their in and you can add them to more than one circle as well.
- “Huddles” let you chat with your friends using iPhone, Android or SMS device.
- “Hangouts” enables you to Facilitate a video chat with a group of people.
- “Streams” allow you to view information users share similar to Facebook news feeds.
- “Google Plus Tools” Several developers have jumped onboard to create tools to make Google plus experience better. My favorite tool http://gplus.to/ will make a short URL for your google plus username. Pick a nickname of your choice that you can easily remember. Glad to see you can still obtain a vanity profiles with Google plus.
So where are all the people at? I’m just not sure I’m up for the task right now going through all my current Facebook and Twitter friends and trying to add them to my circles. I’m envisioning it’s going to take a lot of time to add all my connections. There has to be a better way to integrate all the social media networks to easily add friends, Facebook groups or twitter lists into your circles. In the meantime, I’m spending a couple of minutes a day adding friends and learning more about Google plus. I know more tools will come.
Let’s talk about it: What are the features you like about google plus? Are you an early adopter or are you going to wait until the smoke clears to decide whether or not to join the google plus train? What are your visions on how to use this social networking tool?