Google+ so far

Remember when you were in college and there was that one hot guy (or girl) that you really liked, but he always liked other girls and even though you weren’t sure what kind of person he was because you didn’t know him that well, you knew if you only could get to know him/her, you’d totally hit it off?

Or how kids are like, “I WANT THAT TOY RIGHT NOW I WILL DIE IF YOU DON’T GIVE IT TO ME!!!!!!111″ although they were never interested in that toy before they saw someone else playing with it, so you’re all, “where did that toy infatuation come from?”

Well those examples are me and Google+. Oh man, did I want an invite and IN THE WORST WAY. I coveted a Google+ invite.

Late last week, Tara sent me an invite, but it was closed. The next day, Liz sent another and I was able to set up my profile.

And then I was faced with the first question everyone has when they set up their Google+ profile: What now?

After several days messing around on this new social media project (and yes, Google emphasizes it is a project because it spans all Google services, creating an environment more akin to how we share in real life), I am still not exactly sure what to do, but so far Mama Likey.

AT first, it feels like Facebook. There are posts. You share things. You add people. They add you. Then you hang out there a little more and it feels more like Twitter because you don’t have to add the people who add you, you can put them into categories (called circles) that feel like Twitter lists. But then you can share information with just certain circles, so that’s like a Facebook list.

Then you get tired and feel like quitting social media all together.

I stuck it out this weekend and found out a few things; specifically more about circles, the Droid app, instant uploads and just generally how I personally might use Google+.

First is the circles, the crux of what makes this project what it is. When you add a person, it gives you the option to put this person in a circle. There are existing circles when you sign up — Friends, Family, Acquaintances. I added one for Bloggers because the majority of people I know actively using Google+ right now are bloggers. You can add as many circles as you want. Circles can overlap. People don’t know what circles you have them in, but they are alerted when you add them to a circle of any type.

This is meant to mimic how you communicate in share in real life. If there was a blogger who was also an IRL friend, I might add them to both circles. I might add my coworkers to one circle and my boss to a second and all these people to a third circle for ALL coworkers, reflecting how there is some information I’d share with my work friends, some with my boss, and some with the whole department.

Now on to the Google+ lingo. If you enjoy a comment, article or post, you +1 it. You’ve probably seen this on Google search results pages (as well as blogs) for a few weeks. The +1 feature is akin to “liking” on Facebook. Although right now, I personally am not sure how that’s going to pan out (telling someone you plussed them sounds really off-putting, doesn’t it?), all you need to know is that this functions just like the “like” button on Facebook.

Another cool feature is Sparks. You add things you’re interested in reading and it pulls articles with those keywords from Google searches, allowing you to share with your circle. I personally do something similar to this with a Twitter list for celebrity gossip, but it’s the same idea — an RSS feed-lite.

I downloaded the App for my Droid and things started to make more sense to me.  The App allows you to add people to circles, view your notifications, check out your stream, add posts  and do pretty much everything you can do on the web version. It also lets you check-in (like FourSquare and Facebook places) and Huddle — or send a quick message to an entire circle at once. Another thing I like about the App is the screen that allows you to see updates from others near your location (which is a cool way to find out what’s happening locally and connect with local users.)

Instant Upload is a service I just discovered last night. Any picture I take on my phone is sent to a private Picasa album. At any time, I can choose to share this with my circles, save it or delete it. If you’re planning to upload a picture anyway, this is awesome. If you’re planning on sending that nudie pic to your significant other, it’s not, so make sure you’re going to turn it off if you’re of the erotic photography persuasion.

So why would you use this when you’re already on Twitter and Facebook? First, you’re already using Google products. I have a Picasa album, Feedburner feed, Gmail, G-chat, Google Analytics, Google reader and so on. Now when I go to Google, I look at the top and see my picture and a little red box that tells me I have new notifications.

(Welcome to Unproductive City USA, population, a million Google+ googlers.)

I’m sharing things I find on Google, so I might as well share them using Google+. It’s easily integrated into your Internet Stuff on the World Wide  Web.

Second, I have a lot of personal information on Facebook.  I share lots of pictures of my son, stuff about work, family information and the like that I wouldn’t share on a more public venue like Twitter or even on my blog. I feel confident enough about my privacy settings to share more freely. I know a lot of you guys who read my blog, but not all. I have different levels of comfort with different people, so I see Google+ as a way to share in similar ways to Facebook (i.e. longer messages than on Twitter, shorter and more personal and instantaenous, unlike a blog), but without completely opening up.

Third, I think there is a lot of potential in business, especially teleconferencing and collaboration. Suppose you had a group of bloggers you’re working with on a new meme. You could email, G-chat, start a Facebook Group — or, if you all had Google+, you could each create one circle with just those bloggers. Plus, there’s the Hangout feature, a video chat for up to 10 people that could be a wonderful tool for teleconferencing and a great alternative to Meet Me or GoTo Meeting.

Maybe I’m naive  about all this, but it’s how Google+ makes sense in my head.

There are a few people who I’ve heard say hate Google+, but many of those same people haven’t posted anything or added many others to their circles. Like anything new, you have to use it to get use out of it — someone has to start posting, sharing and engaging so others find it useful. It may feel like you’re talking to nobody, but you’re actually performing a really important service to the community at large.

If it doesn’t work and isn’t going to work, it’s the early adopters who will determine that. This is the truly amazing thing about social media — WE make it what it is, not the other way around.

Pretty powerful, huh?

Are you using Google+? What do you like about it? Dislike? If you want to connect, add me (I’m crap at finding people).

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40 comments to Google+ so far

  • I’m loving it! I wish more people were active on it though! The mobile app is so awesome!
    tara recently posted..target tuesday #44 LINK-UP!

  • Okay…I needed this little tutorial. I got an invite and then I was like a deer in the headlights. Mostly because I keep my personal info on my blog private. So, I only “like” a few blogs on facebook but for the most part I try to keep things separate. I was afraid it would get all mixed up…..so you’re saying I can keep it all separate???
    I must face my fear…ack! Hold me…
    Best,
    Tina
    Tina recently posted..Back from the Land of the Midnight Sun

  • OK, I totally did not know what this was. I had been noticing those little +1 things though. I’m so behind.
    JM recently posted..Sleepzies…….

  • I’m sort of feeling like the girl who gatecrashed a really cool party and now I’m at the party, I don’t know what to do with myself?

    So thanks for this, I can see how it makes sense, it’s taking the best of Facebook and Twitter and Google, all in one big space!

    However, I’m feeling a little over-socialmedialized right now, so I haven’t had much time to mingle, am still a wallflower!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Good & Tasty: Buttermilk Chicken with Pineapple-Tomato Salsa

    • Amanda

      Yeah I have a lot going on with social media too, but I really feel like this is made much simpler because it’s on the Google interface…I can check it quickly while I’m searching. However, it does take a little more effort to actually go there and actively post. I’m also not 100% sure what I need to share there vs Twitter!

  • Stephanie
    Twitter:

    I really like the idea of the circles so not everyone gets everything. I still have to play around more. And so far everyone on there for me are on Twitter so to me it feels like two if the same thing. But as more people get on Google+ I think it will get better. Eventually my Google+ friends won’t be an exact duplicate of my twitter friends :)
    Stephanie recently posted..Rockin’ The Baby!

    • Amanda

      And right now we’re sharing the same information on both — once we know how it functions, I can see it becoming a place where we discuss posts/ideas more in depth than we do on Twitter (more like how I use Facebook)…if that makes sense? It’s all in its infancy so I just want to keep working with it and see what it turns into!

  • I really like it so far and feel that it has the opportunity to eventually replace the other forms of social media because it combines everything good about them into one venue. It’ll take a lot of time but I think it’ll be worth sticking with.

    I, too, coveted an invite more than anything and I, too, am now wondering what to do and how to fit it all in. I need a social media schedule, I swear.
    Mrs. Jen B recently posted..I Love Me And I Don’t Care Who Knows It!

    • Amanda

      Yeah, I hated Twitter when it came out, too! I’m sort of forced to pay attention to G+ because it’s right there in the nav bar on Google now. Once it is integrated into Hootsuite it’ll be all over for me…won’t be able to get away from it! I just hope it’s used for different types of information and conversations…not just another place to always pimp your blog (not that I’m opposed to that…)

  • Excellent, excellent post. Thanks for putting this into language we understand…here’s my question, though. I just signed up last night and I was notified that 20 peeps added me to G+ but I only see 2 peeps have me in circles on my profile, even though I’ve added them, I think I need to really spend some time figuring out this new platform. Bookmarking this and about to tweet!
    Theta Mom recently posted..Theta Mom is Rockin the Baby

  • I am so glad that the invites are open again. Ian and Liz both sent me invites because I was whining about it like a 2 year old. I had no idea what it was either but I knew I had to be involved. I am curious to see how this is all going to pan out. And listening to you talk about your Droid makes me want September 30th here already. That is when I can finally get my new phone and it will be a Droid.

    I love your ideas about connecting with bloggers on it. That is pretty much the only people that I have connected with on G+ so far.
    Jayme (Random Blogette) recently posted..Rockin’ The Baby: The Buck-Toothed Baby

    • Amanda

      Exactly how I was acting! I was all pouty and sad about it. I’m sort of thinking about it as a Facebook for bloggers, and I use Facebook for my friends IRL and bloggers who I am close with. I can’t imagine any of my family will be on G+ except my husband and sister, and I don’t think they will use that as much as they do FB. Putting it in these terms helped me understand it a lot more.

  • Like I texted yesterday, I think that for me, I’d only use it as a private group chat. But I see where you are going with your love, and I LOVE that you wrote this explanation. I tweeted it from both BBCD and EliRose.
    liz recently posted..To Me, These Hips are a Sign of a Life Lived

    • Amanda

      Oh I didn’t get that text! :( My phone has been hoarding texts I think. I think that’s one great use of it and something not really offered elsewhere. There is a lot of confusion out there still, so hope this clears up at least a little bit. We all help each other learn :)

  • I don’t hate it. I also can see a lot of the benefits you mentioned. But like so many other people, I’m feeling overstimulated in the social media world and, right now, I just feel like this is one.more.thing. to keep up with, you know?

    But, I do like the fact that it’s a mash-up of Twitter and Facebook – and all the best qualities of both at that, IMO. Although I’m confused about one thing – if someone adds you to a circle, but you don’t add them back, what does that mean?
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..Potty Training Can Wait

    • Amanda

      I found out today that if you haven’t added them, they don’t show up in your feed, but in a separate section called Incoming. You can then add them or just carry on. This is where it’s a lot like Twitter, because you can choose who you see, but others can see you. I think another benefit that Twitter doesn’t have is that you can have different levels of privacy…right now I think, “gee, wish I could tweet that, but XYZ would see it.”

  • This was great! I don’t feel as lost now. I feel like maybe I can actually navigate my way through Google+ now without getting lost. Thanks for sharing this! I’m going to plus it, or whatever you call it. lol

    Have a great day! :)
    Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud recently posted..Stats, Influence and Reach: Investing My Time, Energy and Heart in Motherhood

  • Cathy
    Twitter:

    Thanks for putting this in regular people terms. I thought I was understanding what it was all about but you really made it make sense. That said, not sure I’m jumping in just yet. I’m kind of on a social media hiatus, not wanting to put my whole life on out on the web right now. Do you think, if most of your family joined G+ you would eventually delete FB? I just don’t like the idea of having a million different social sites to keep track of.

  • Nina
    Twitter:

    Great post! So helpful. Thanks! I just started playing around with G+. I’m not quite sure how I’d use it differently than FB and Twitter. Also, I’m reluctant to follow the same people on all three because you end up getting the same links, etc, three times. Right?
    Nina recently posted..Not My Favorite Person: The Schnorrer

    • Amanda

      Actually I havent’ found that to be the case at all! I think once more people get on Google+, there will be more of the same old links, but as is it’s sort of refreshing to see what people are saying when they don’t have any other reason to share (i.e. when they aren’t promoting their blog, guest posts, products, etc.) It’s less noisy. I actually probably won’t use it to promote my own blog, I envision using G+ to share news, great posts, and share ideas with more than 140 characters.

  • I would “like” this post AND “plus one” it, too.

    (I am not off-put by the concept of someing +1′ing me. does that make me dirty?)

    Still. I do NOT have time right now to explore Google+. Sadly.

    Maybe when the kids go back to school?

    By then, you’ll have figured it ALL OUT and help me through it, right?
    (pretty please…)
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me obsessed.

  • I’m on it and I seem to be interacting on it more than I do on FB, but that might be because it is new.

  • I’m still trying to figure it all out. I love and hate that it links to previous google profiles I had. The link to my picassa albums definitely threw me off, even though they’re only visible to people I had previously invited to view them.

  • NOOOooooo…..my eyes glazed over in the second paragraph. I guess I should be interested and if I do get an invite I’m gonna scoot back here to read this excellent tutorial, but I don’t care for facebook, don’t do it ‘right,’ had like, 55 messages from friends who guess thought I hated them b/c I never looked at my page so never replied. Oops. I am a Luddite who doesn’t tweet, and i drew my line in the sand with loving email and a blog…this dinosaur lumbers along happily…followed you over from Kelly…

    • Amanda

      I’m happy to give you an invite if you’d like! You know, I think you might enjoy this…it’s the best of Twitter and Facebook and fits well with your blogging. But this isn’t my typical post, usually it’s a lot more silliness ;)

  • Great article Amanda. I like Google + so far but like it so much more now that I have the app.
    Jessica recently posted..Then and Now

  • I’ve just started playing around on it but I wish they had an app for the iPhone as that is where I do a lot of my stuff from.
    Jessica recently posted..VlogTalk: Save My Ears

  • 3 people have told me they were inviting me…hmmm, take a hint Lance.

    Darren Rovell, Cnn and ESPN business reporter tweeted today that google+ looked like a facebook killer more like a twitter killer.

    I really like twitter and really dont like facebook. I am wondering what is better to promote my blog, your blog, and my friends blogs – the twitter or this google+?

    thanks for the post amanda…very informative
    Lance recently posted..She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

    • Amanda

      I think you’d love Google+, then. I really feel like it’s the best of both worlds. I think that as far as just promoting your blog, Twitter will be the way to go because right now it’s easy to retween and extend your message…however, I think that’s mainly because there are so many platforms to work twitter (Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc)…I don’t think Twitter would be what it was if it was just web Twitter. I’m a stickler for the 140 message thing, so I like Facebook because I can post longer messages, and Google+ lets me do that…and have conversations that are an easier to follow thread than on Twitter. I just am fascinated..there is really so much potential.

      And I’m totally inviting you ;) Just so you can’t have that as an excuse to not try it! ha!

  • While I’ll admit I’m intrigued, I refuse to join. (at least for now, I said the same thing about Twitter and you see how that went)
    It’s not that I have anything against Google+, it’s just keeping up with all these modes of social media is exhausting.
    Though I did like how informative your post was. If I ever do give in and join I know where to come for help!!
    Angie@MamaInsomnia recently posted..Rockin the Baby

  • This definitely makes sense. I’m finally on Google+ but to be quite honest, I’m so over indulged in social media I think I need to let this one sit for a bit before I tackle it! ;)
    Kimberly recently posted..My Parenting Song

    • Amanda

      WHY can’t I find you then? I think more people will jump in after it can be integrated into Twitter, etc…and once people find out what the hell we’re doing there!

  • Wow. Uber impressed you took the time to figure out another realm of social media. I can barely handle Twitter. Or keep up with my blog for that matter. I’ll probably be on the sidelines of this for the next few years and by the time I get on board, something new and more fabulous will there.

    • Amanda

      No, by the time you get on board all the kinks will be worked out and it’ll be running much more smoothly. Just promise me you’ll get there before the games do ;)

  • I just got on yesterday, and so far I haven’t found too many people. I’m working on it though! It seems like it could be awesome if more people get onboard and get active! I totally added you too :)
    Lisa recently posted..Ten on Tuesday: The holiday edition!

    • Amanda

      yay! I’m glad! I think if we all mess around with it, even when it feels awkward, we’ll figure it out much faster…I’m learning new things every day with it. Either it’s really cool or it’s a novelty…time will tell.

  • [...] of articles which are being written about it and tweeted.  For example, here’s a great post on Google+ at It’s Blogworthy. And once again, need an invite? Let me know.  I’m feeling all sorts of generous.  And if [...]

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