First off, why get involved with Google+?
Nobody's over there, right? Well, your friends from high school probably aren't. Or your neighbors or members of your church. If you're interested in professional-type content rather than pictures of cats, Google+ might be the place to find it. It's definitely an easy place to organize it. Google+ allows you to organize your contacts into "circles," categorized the way you want to categorize them. I, for instance, have self-publishing circles, marketing/promotional circles, and blogger circles. I can easily bring up each circle so that content is all I see on the page in front of me. I can take in a lot of information, easily.
How about getting my information out on Google+? Last week
, I said I was going to check out Julia DeNeen
's tutorial on crafting content for Google+
. What you want to do on Google+, as with any other social platform, is get a message out to as many people as possible so you can develop some name recognition. DeNeen's tutorial can definitely help you do it.
This past week I've been doing only a few of the things DeNeen suggests, and I've definitely seen an improvement in my plus 1's (people sharing my posts) and an uptick in people adding me to their own circles. People, particularly people I don't know, sharing my content gets my name out in front of more people I don't know. People I don't know adding me to their circles so that my posts will be coming up on their walls regularly means that they'll see my name over and over. Name recognition.
What have I been doing?
- I've been reposting all my blog posts at Google+ for a while. After watching DeNeen's tutorial, I've been much more serious about introducing them with a summary. That way, readers don't have to click through to my post to find out what it's about. This makes a great deal of sense in terms of the little I know about communication theory. The receiver of a message shouldn't have to work too hard. Without a good summary to give receivers an idea of what's on the other side of that link, they're forced to do the work of discovering it themselves. A lot of readers won't. (Myself included.)
- I link to Google+ users whose work I'm discussing in my post in the summary. I had no idea how to do that. Never even occurred to me to try.
- I now know how to use bold text.
I'll have to watch the tutorial again to figure out how to use images. But given the results I've had with what I have been doing, I think it would be worth it.
Next week I hope to cover everything I've been doing wrong at Twitter
Still torn between Facebook and Google+. I have been using both social networks, but eventually I know that eventually I'm going to have to pick one or the other as my main social network hangout; I simply haven't the time to use both regularly...as I've mentioned before, my current goal is to use social media more effectively so I can spend more time on my writing and illustrating projects.
Yes, I know there's always Twitter. I don't really compare Twitter to Facebook and Google+ because for me, it's such a different animal. I love Twitter but I find I use it far differently than I do Facebook and Google+. More on this in a future blog post.
What I'm Liking about Facebook
Anyway, I've liked some of the recent changes that Facebook has been making. I'm sure that some of these changes have been in response to Google+ features that have been popular, but I'm all for healthy competition...especially if it means improvements to my own user experience. Yes, I know. It's all about meMEMEEE! I like the simplification of privacy settings. I like being able to tweak how much of people's information I see in my incoming stream. I like being able to access my Close Friends list from the main page.
Unfortunately the company has not always been great at communicating with its users about upcoming changes, so there has been a lot of confusion and resentment. I can sympathize, though. In my experience, the larger an online community grows, the more difficult it is to make changes without upsetting users. People get comfortable with how things work and may get irritated about having to learn a new interface, even if it ultimately results in a more positive user experience.
What I'm Not Liking about Facebook
Even though it's easier to read and share with particular Friends list, there is currently no easy way to retroactively organize the people on your list. On Google+, you can mass-select users and to use drag-and-drop to move them to particular Circles. In Facebook, you have to individually select each user. Major pain, especially if you have a lot of people following you.
I'm also not crazy about how Facebook Fan/Pro Pages work right now ... but at least Facebook HAS Pro Pages, unlike Google+. I only started one after finding out that there is a cap on the number of people with whom you can connect via a personal Facebook account. Not a problem for me yet, but I've heard of more and more authors who have reached their cap and had to start from scratch (in terms of making connections) again....this time with a Pro Page.
What I'm Liking about Google+
Overall, I find Google+ to have a cleaner and more intuitive user interface. I love the whole concept of Circles, which makes it easier to read and share with specific groups of people. The people who follow my posts on Facebook and Google+ represent a wide range of interests in my life. There are my friends from university, family members, writers and illustrators, board gamers, filkers, comics people and others. Although each group probably wouldn't mind occasional posts from me that didn't overlap with their own interests, they'd probably be turned off (as I would) with too many.
My gamer friends, for example, would be far more riveted by my reviews of board game prototypes from a board gaming convention then would my writer and illustrator followers. Meanwhile, the board gamers would likely have little interest in my promo posts about children's book illustrators and writers.
I find it easier to discover interesting new people on Google+ than I do on Facebook. I also find I usually get far more responses to what I post on Google+ than I do on Facebook, and more interesting and involved discussion. Why? I'm still trying to figure that out.
Another feature of Google+ I love: Google+ Hangouts! I'm a huge fan.
What I'm Not Liking about Google+
No business pages. No in
Posted the following to Google+ but I like to archive things on my own site.
So. New Reader.
• Share-to-Google+ is easy and convenient. I imagine I’ll use it a lot. Which is, of course, what Google is angling for: driving my sharing activity to this platform. Which makes this actually a dislike, because it feels like I’m being manipulated.
• All the white space at the top—ordinarily I’m a fan of white space (I love the clean look of G+, for example), but in New Reader’s case, it serves to push the post text a good bit farther down the page. Means more scrolling, plus I like to start reading near the top of the screen, not a third of the way down.
• The gray folders & RSS symbols in the left column. Dark, heavy, dull.
• I miss +Scott Peterson‘s shared items already.
ARGH, it’s sinking in more and more—the ramifications of Google nixing the Shared Items part of Reader. This ties in so much to what +Felicia Day was talking about the other day regarding RSS vs stream-sharing. Sure, people can share Reader items to their G+ stream, but it means there’s no one single place you can go to READ those items. They’ll scroll by in your stream. If I want to see what, say, +Scott Petersonhas shared (not that he’s likely to because he doesn’t like the way it works now), I’ll have to click onto his profile or risk missing stuff in the stream.I mean, sure, I can do that for HIM. But for all the people whose Shared Items I enjoyed seeing daily? Most of them aren’t even on Plus. And even if they were, I can’t very well click to a bunch of different individual profiles every day.Suppose I could set up a circle for People Who Share Interesting Stuff. Just…more work, more curation.
Google, it was working beautifully before. I want a central place to read accumulated posts, not a fast-moving stream I have to swim up.
Look, I love change. New platforms make my heart go pitty-pat. (Witness my early adoption of G+ & numerous eager-beaver posts about it.)
But not if it’s backward change, change that makes more work for me, or means I’m going to lose a trove of information I found valuable.
In a comment:
Another element of my frustration is something I wrote about on Bonny Glen the other day. The stuff I shared via Reader was different from the things I share to G+, FB, Twitter. The latter tends to be newsy, informational items. The former, my Reader-share stuff, was often more personal, a lovely glimpse of someone’s day. It feels awkward and sort of invasive to push that into an info-stream.
Today Google introduced Google+ Pages, a way for businesses to join the social network and connect with customers. The new feature is currently available for select partners, but publishers can add the pages in the future.
In addition, the network’s “Direct Connect” feature will let people search for a publisher or author’s Google+ page directly through the Google search bar (the video embedded above shows you how). In the release, Google quoted a Robert Frost poem at Poetry Foundation: “we’ve still got lots of improvements planned, and miles to go before we sleep.” Below, we’ve listed the available business and brand pages.
Check it out: “For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face … organizations can learn more about Direct Connect in our Help Center.” (Via Simon Owens)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
I just launched my Inkygirl Page on Google+! If you're on G+ and are interested in Inkygirl updates, please do add me to your Circles! :-)
If you're interested in finding out more about Google+'s newly launched Pages, read this Google+ Post.
Above: Screenshot from a kidlit/YA Google+ Hangout I hosted this morning on my G+ Inkygirl business page. The doodle boy is by Ryan Estrada.
For some reason, I wasn't able to access the collar drawing/writing features (the top left of my screenshot SHOULD have links to those features). I was able to access them fine the last time I did a Hangout, so not sure what went wrong. BUT at least everyone else had fun experimenting with the collab tools.
Apart from that glitch, however, the main reason I can't fully recommend Google+ Hangouts for a public event yet is because there is currently no way for one person to moderate. If someone behaves inappropriately (I had someone expose himself in my previous Public Hangout!), there's still no way to kick that person out of the chat. You can block him, but that only means YOU don't see/hear him anymore -- everyone else in the chat will still see him unless they block him as well.
Still, it has great potential for creative collab with trusted invitees.
For the last couple of days I've been playing around on Google's new social networking site, Google+ and I have to say, I'm liking it a lot. Right now my favorite features are the instant photo upload from my Android phone and the way you organize everyone into circles. Some people might be in multiple circles, say, friends, family, writers, poets. Some might be in one all their own, like techies. You can choose to send your post out to everyone at once or just select circles. Another plus is that you can also post something and include someone via email.
Hangouts are a cool integrated video chat that worked great for me.
The UI is clean and intuitive. I think you have more privacy controls than on Facebook.
Right now it's a small population but I think it will keep on growing, especially when Google formally opens the doors. For now, if you have a Google profile set up and you want to come play, send me your Google email address and I can open a door.
Oh, and they also have a vanity url. I grabbed mine right away.
I’m going to post twice today: once about Google+, and then another one about ANYTHING BUT Google+ so as not to drive away my non-Plus-interested friends and readers here.
But Plus. A few more thoughts. First: if you’re trying to get in and haven’t yet, there are a few things you can do to help. At least—it sure seems like these things help, because everyone I know who has tried them has gotten to that magic Join button. But take my words with grains of salt; the efficacy of these suggestions is speculation.
1) Create or update your Google profile. If you have a Gmail account, you already have a profile: Click your name in the top right of your Gmail screen and you’ll see a link. Even if you don’t use Gmail, you might have created a Google account at some point—for Reader, perhaps? So check, and tweak it.
2) Ask me or another Plus user to add you to a circle. We can send you an invite by simply sending a G+ message via email, but those emails may take 24 hours or more to arrive. Don’t wait for the invitation: go directly to step 3.
3) Visit the Google+ website: plus.google.com. If you see a “we’ve exceeded capacity” message, try again an hour or two later. But if you’ve done step one, you will probably get in within 24 hours. Again, this is anecdotal info only: I’m seeing it happen frequently, so I’m passing the suggestion along, for what it’s worth.
Okay, so you’re in: now what?
You’ll quickly find that Plus’s “Circles” concept is a lot like Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Actually, it combines aspects of each, and once you wrap your head around the distinction between people you share with and people you read, you’ll find Circles are an intuitive and convenient way of organizing your various overlapping circles of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
For me, the shape Circles are taking is a distinction between “friends”—reciprocal relationships, people I follow who follow me back, most of whom I already have some kind of real-life or online relationship with—and people I “follow,” Twitter-style: people who don’t necessarily know me and have no real reason to follow me back, but in whose posts I am interested.
I love that Google+ is allowing me to make full use of those nuances. On Facebook, the friends lists are a pain to use, so I wind up posting everything to ALL my friends, and there’s a very complicated dynamic there with all my worlds converging. My relatives don’t necessarily want to be bombarded with my kidlitosphere links, nor do my professional contacts necessarily want to hear every adorable thing Rilla utters. (But my family does, believe you me.)
On Google+, you can easily target the audience of any post, making it Public (like a tweet with no character limit—visible to anyone who follows you as well as on your profile page) or aiming it at a specific circle, or even a single friend. You can even cc people who aren’t on Plus at all; they’ll get the post by email. (A feature I gather most folks are using lightly at the moment.)
Here’s a link to a post I wrote on Google+ th
I've been using Google+ pretty heavily for the past week. See the end of this post for a list of Google+ resources for newbies.
If you're just interested in my overall summary, here it is:
Even in its beta testing phase, I like the look and functionality of Google+ much more than Facebook. It's easier to filter the info that you read and share, using Circles. I love the Google+ Hangout video chat feature, which has huge creative collaboration and teaching potential, in addition to the obvious fun social aspect. In addition to the fact that Google is gradually integrating other services so many people use (Picasa and Blogger will become Google branded), I believe that the Hangouts feature is going to ultimately tip the scales in favour of Google+ when it comes to the whole Facebook vs Google choice.
Google+ is only in beta and I already love it.
Above: how I felt when I first heard about Google+. Did I really need to join ANOTHER social network?
But here are some detailed reasons why I like Google+ so much:
Compared to Facebook, it's uncluttered
I'm really hoping that Google+ keeps its current clean design. I know they will probably add Google ads at some point, but I don't mind this (just as I don't with Gmail) as long as they're not too obtrusive.
It's easier to filter information
I have multiple interests and follow people who focus on those various interests, including writing, illustrating, webcomics, board gaming, filking, techies, social media, digital publishing, iPads, and more. I was excited when Facebook added Friends' Lists, but then they not only buried them so they were a pain to find (whereas Google+ keeps them prominently displayed) but I couldn't share with specific Lists.
As a result, I find it nearly impossible to keep up with my Facebook stream since everyone's posts, pictures and videos come through in one huge, unending, gloppy mess.
With Google+ Circles, I'm finding it easier to keep up with posts from my different groups of friends and acquaintances, plus follow higher profile people who may not know I exist but whose posts I find interesting. I'm still finetuning, but here are some of my current Circles:
I'm sure that the Google+ people are working to improve Circle filtering functionality. I would love to be able to use Boolean filtering algorithms, like "everyone in Circle A -except- for the people in Circle B." I would also love it if Google+ added smarter searching and search results suggestions, so that I could look for particular topics within a Circle or group of Circles.
Compared to trying to sort through all the information and noise on my Facebook stream, however, I'm loving Google+, even in its beta phase. See my list of resources at the end of this article for some helpful info.
It's easier to share information
Because I have multiple interests and multiple circles of friends, it's sometimes a challenge to share information. Some people feel that the more people yo
A GeekMom Guide to Google+ Part One—the first in a string of Google+ how-to posts I’m writing for GeekMom. First topic: circles. (They spin me right round, baby, right round.)
In future posts I’ll be tackling profiles, privacy, and how to find your friends. If you have any other questions do please pop over there and leave me a comment!
Today at GeekMom I’m tackling Google+ profiles and privacy.
Here’s a first—a post I wrote on Google+ first and am crossposting here instead of the other way around. Just some musings about my love of meta-discussion and about introverts vs. extroverts. (The fact that I can write a 600-word post there is one of the many reasons I am loving it.)
A Twitter conversation yesterday got me thinking about why I’ve had such an urge to write about Google+ both [there] and elsewhere—both how-to kinds of posts and meta-discussion about the nature and uses of [that] platform vs. others. Two reasons struck me:
1) Some people, and I’m one of them, enjoy puzzles. When I dive into a new app, platform, or network, I get a charge out of poking around, trying to figure out the tricks, puzzling out the easiest way to do things. I enjoy reading other people’s puzzle solutions; I like the challenge of putting my own hacks into words. The puzzle itself is part of what attracts the early-adopter in me.
But I have plenty of friends who don’t enjoy the puzzle stage. My husband—a brilliant guy; this isn’t about brains—will be the first to tell you he gets irritated when faced with a new platform to figure out. Change energizes me; it annoys him. And if he clicks onto a new site and discovers it’s going to take a little time to find his way around, meh, who has time for that? He’s a busy guy.
He’s not alone; I have many friends who are turned off by the baffled-newbie stage that I myself find so exhilarating. (Of course you know this means THEY are the folks who stick things out, who finish what they start. Some of us are explorers and some of us are homesteaders. Both kinds of people help build a civilization.)
Well, here I am in love with this new terrain, and I want my friends to settle in here and help build a culture. If I can help make it more appealing to them by helping other explorers make clear paths, I stand to benefit by the arrival of excellent neighbors.
2) Thinking about this, it hit me that for me, liking something is a social act. I enjoy everything more when I can talk about it with others. I don’t think all people are wired that way—actually, I think this may be a chief distinction between introverts and extroverts. For some people (again I hold +Scott Peterson up as an example), liking something is a private, inner experience, not at all dependent on the involvement of others. In fact, if too many other people start enthusing over the thing too, that can actually diminish the introvert’s enjoyment. For the extrovert, it’s the more, the merrier.
(Let me make it clear that I LOVE and admire introverts. I married one, didn’t I! And my passel of vert offspring is pretty evenly divided between intro and extro. I have shared Jonathan Rauch’s Atlantic Monthly article, “Caring for Your Introvert,” far and wide.)
For years I have looked at the introvert/extrovert distinction as having mostly to do with what drains you & recharges your batteries (as described in Raising Your Spirited Child). Some people get recharged by social contact with others; some people get recharged by time alone. In the past I have described myself as an extrovert with a strong introvert streak because I do need a fair amount of time alone to read and think and write.
But what struck me yesterday, pondering the G+ meta-urge, was that even in my alone time, what I do is social. I read—but even as I&rs
Our massive list of writers on Google+ has almost reached 400 accounts today. To help all these new users, we’ve collected a number of promotional tools for writers and publishing professionals on Google+.
First of all, if you want to interact with other writers or readers on Google+, add your name to our Writers on Google+ directory. Make sure your profile is simple, direct and concise. Consult Twitter Profile Mistakes Writers Should Avoid for some general advice.
Next, follow this link to create a shortened, easy-to-remember version of your Google+ URL. For instance, the service converted this GalleyCat editor’s Google URL from a long stream of letters and numbers to this handy URL: gplus.to/jasonboog.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Morgan Mandel,
I don't know about you, but I spend lots of time on social networks. I joined for promotional purposes, but it's turned out a place where I've made lots of genuine friends I really care about. Though I've never met these friends, they've become a part of my life.
Although Facebook has a few recent quirks I don't care about, such as trying to force the chat feature on me and making me reset to unavailable when I sign in, it's so far my favorite.
Second is Twitter, where the comments are short and easy to read.
Fast on their heels is Google+, where I can add friends in special circles to keep them organized in my mind, then I can send comments to the public, or choose one or more of the circles with which to share.
If you want to link up with me on any of these sites, you can find me at:
What about you? Where are you? Name up to three social networks you spend time at and make sure to leave your addresses so we can find you.
Killer Career now at
99 cents on Kindle
Coming soon is
Blessing or Curse
I've been compiling an "add yourself" list of literary/publishing people on Google+. Short URL: http://bit.ly/GP-LIT
To add yourself to any of these lists, just go to the appropriate list and make a post. Feel free to include a URL. You an always edit/update your listing later on. Do spread the word to others on Google+, thanks!
Note: Please don't ask me to add you to the lists -- I purposely made this an "add yourself" directory for easier admin. :-)
By: Sandra de Helen
Blog: de Helen's bits
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, Binge Press
, Invert Sugar
, Blue Roses
, business cards
, Add a tag
I am busy lining up a director for my New York reading of Blue Roses at the Dramatists Guild Friday Night Lights series on October 28, 2011 at 6pm. Stop by if you are in Manhattan that evening. The play runs between 60-75 minutes. You can still make your 8pm show.
I will have finished a first draft of the sequel to Blue Roses by then, which I can pitch at will to anyone who shows interest, and maybe to strangers who will listen, just for practice. (Pitching your story is critical if you're a writer who wants to get produced.)
On the poetry front: I received a late night email from Binge Press and Productions. They want to publish my mini-chapbook "Invert Sugar" of lesbian poems. I'm quite happy about it. They produce these minis, not to make money, but to promote poets. I'll receive 50, fifty!, of these little charmers, plus 100 broadsides of one of the poems from the book to promote myself, and they will sell as many as they can at places like the AWP, book fairs and readings.
Serendipity much? I'll be giving away books and broadsides at my reading, won't I? And handing out business cards, of course. Speaking of which, my new cards sport ALL my social network info: google+, Twitter, blogspot, Facebook, website, email and cell. What do you include on your card?
Google+ Hangouts now supports smartphone video chats and will allow participants to record their video sessions–two powerful features for virtual book clubs and writing groups.
The mobile video chat feature only works on “Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras” with Apple iOS support under construction. You can download the mobile app in the Android Market now. If you want to make some literary friends on Google+, check out our Writers on Google+ directory.
Here’s more about recording video hangouts from Google: “Just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re ‘On Air,’ up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast … We’re starting with a limited number of broadcasters, but any member of the Google+ community can tune in. In fact: we’ll be hosting our very first On Air hangout with will.i.am on Wednesday night, September 21. For more information visit will.i.am’s or my profile on Google+.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.