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Google+ | The Starter Pack

As we’ve seen with the recent posts going around, Google+ users are increasing like never before in the history of Social Networks. Some figures say we’ve hit 10 million already!! However, I’ve also seen that after signing up, most new +ers go idle and do not log back in to their account. This is certainly true of the 70% of my friends that have joined the network. Therefore, these massive numbers don’t mean anything if people aren’t actually using the network. This is also evident from the fact that I keep running into the same people in comment threads across the network.
The reasons behind this issue could be:

- 750 million people on the internet use facebook. They are well acquainted with the layout of facebook and hence trying out a new network means a transition with a learning curve. Upon joining Google+ they see an interface which looks similar to facebook in some ways but at the same time they do not immediately see where everything is. They click around for a minute or two and then log off.

- Early adopters of google+ have had a head start and that puts off the new +ers. A friend of mine that joined a couple of days ago saw that I already had 1000 followers. They feel as if the G+ community has already been formed which makes it tougher for them to join in. They don’t know who to follow. I can fully sympathize with them on this because in my opinion this is very much like starting your college one month late. Your classmates that came on time already got the chance to get to know each other and become friends. You on the other hand will feel left out and would need to do something extra to join the circles that have already been formed.

I’m sure there can be many other reasons to explain this issue and they’ll all vary from person to person. But the most important conclusion you can draw from all this is that there is a great need for a Google+ Starter Pack which will allow our new friends to join g+ at a run. That way they can integrate into the already massive g+ community as smoothly as possible and contribute to it as eagerly as the rest of us.

I’ve attempted to create such a starter pack for the benefit of e-mankind regardless of their background in social media. It is important to realize here that the starter pack should be concise, clear and very simple to use. Otherwise, too much reading will add to the learning curve that we’re trying to reduce here. So here it goes:

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Dear Fellow +ers,

Hello and Welcome to the next sensational product on the internet! Google+ is packed with features to make your online social experience more enjoyable and manageable. This Starter Pack is designed to make you feel right at home with your new g+ social account. The guide is divided into five main sections:

Structure of G+ | Friends on G+ | Privacy | Who to Follow | Invite new Friends


Structure of Google+
When you login to G+ for the first time, you will be brought to the welcome page: http://i.imgur.com/IXYEe.png. At the top of your page you will see 4 buttons next to the Google+ logo. These buttons divide g+ into 4 main parts:

Stream
- This page is very similar to your news feed on facebook. On the left you can choose to look at different news feeds (streams) of your friends lists (circles)
- In the left sidebar you will see the Google Talk widget that you can use to chat with your friends. You can do 2-way video calls with it too.
- Again on the left, you will see a block titled Sparks. With sparks you can get interest-based content from the internet through google.
- On the right you can click the green button to start a Hangout. Hangouts allow you to have 10-way group video calls… Yes, you can have a video call with upto 10 people at the same time on google+ all for free!!
- You can share any type of media with the Share Box in the center of the page.

Photos
- This section of google+ presents you with photos of you and your friends arranged in a neat and elegant portfolio
- You can create albums here and share them
- All your photos are stored on Google Picasa where you get unlimited storage space
- Your photos are stored and displayed in a very high resolution and quality unlike facebook
- You can edit/tag your photos and add stunning effects to them from within google+

Profile
- Your profile page has everything about you
- The page is further divided into 6 sub-sections: Posts, About, Photos, Videos, +1s, Buzz
- Click on the blue Edit Profile button at the top right to begin setting up your profile
- Use the View Profile As field to see how your profile will look to other people depending on your privacy settings

Circles
- This section allows you to manage all your online social relationships
- The idea behind circles is that you share different information with different social circles based on your relationship with them in real-life. Google+ circles allow you to build the same relationships online
- In a way, circles are similar to friend lists on facebook but they are far easier to manage
- Create, edit, rename and delete circles from within this section easily
- Select, drag and drop friends into circles according to your preferences


Friends on Google+
- With google+ you don’t need to wait for someone to accept your friend request
- Simply move your mouse over a person’s name and add them to your Circles. Now, whenever that person shares content publicly or directly with you, you will see it in your Stream section.
- If that person also adds you to their circles, then they will see your content in their Steam that you share publicly or with the circle that you've added them to.
- So if someone is following you and you don’t know them, then you need not worry because you don’t have to add them to your circles and they will only see what you share publicly with the whole internet i.e. If you share something with your circles exclusively then they won’t see it.


Privacy on Google+
- Here on g+, your data is your own. You can download all of your content on plus thanks to the Data Liberation offered by google: https://plus.google.com/settings/exportdata
- You don’t need to follow people you don’t know and consequently they will not see information that you share exclusively with your circles or specific people.


Who to follow on Google+
Since g+ is still in field trial, you won’t find all your friends on here... but don’t feel let down by that. The beauty of g+ lies in its community which you can easily be a part of. Here are a bunch of people that you should add to your relevant circles to bring your Stream to life. These +ers share exciting content publicly that will enhance your g+ experience:

- Google+ Team: +Vic Gundotra +Natalie Villalobos +Matt Cutts +Bradley Horowitz +Frances Haugen +Toby Stein

- Google+ Tips: +Jacqueline Passey Mason +Mickey Mellen

- Influential: +Robert Scoble +Ben Parr +Tom Anderson +Brian Swetland +Pete Cashmore

- For LOLs, Awesomeness and Geekiness: +Chris Pirillo +Felicia Day +Alida Brandenburg +Randall Munroe +Chris Cho +Wil Wheaton

- Mouthwatering Photography: +Trey Ratcliff +Thomas Hawk +Lauren D Rogers +David Hunter +Colby Brown +Terje Sørgjerd

- Celebrities that actually post: +Alyssa Milano


How to invite your friends to Google+
- In your Stream section, in the right side-bar you can see the option of sending invites directly to your friends: http://i.imgur.com/PF0c9.png
- If you don’t see the above option, you can send invites indirectly by sending a message from google+ directly to your friend’s Gmail address. Once they get the message, they will be able to join. If they can’t then ask them to try again in a few hours and it will work: http://bit.ly/q7AMRV


That is all you need to know to setup a profile on Google+ and to become an integral part of the social network.

Optionally, if you’re looking for some further excellent #plustips that can fully exploit the power hidden in Google+ then I suggest reading the following posts:
- Google+ for the average facebook user - http://bit.ly/gb_fb
- Circles: Dividing, Nesting and Prioritizing - http://bit.ly/gpcircles
- Use tagline as a status message - http://bit.ly/nBhjaI
- Copy one circle into another circle - http://bit.ly/rh1AuS


I hope that helped you settle right in to the Google+ Community. If you found this guide useful, then please share it with your friends to help them out too.

If you have any questions or need help with any g+ features, please bug me anytime.

Cheers,
+Ahmed Zeeshan

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Permalink to Post: bit.ly/gpstarter
Google Doc version:


This article is also available in the following languages:
Spanish - bit.ly/gpsta_ES (translated by +Carlos Medina Gallego)
German - bit.ly/gbsta_DE (translated by +Christian Losert)
Finnish - bit.ly/gpsta_FI (translated by +Jaana Nyström)
Afrikaans - bit.ly/gpsta_AF (translated by +Eugene Niemand)
Malay - bit.ly/gpsta_MAL (translated by +Naim Omar)

If you wish to contribute a translation for another language please read this post: bit.ly/gp_trans


Other Google+ articles from me:
Google+ | The Etiquettes - bit.ly/gp_etiquettes
Google+ | The Early Adopter's Guide - bit.ly/gp_early
Google+ for the Average Facebook User - bit.ly/gb_fb
Circles: Dividing, Nesting and Prioritizing - bit.ly/gpcircles

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Note to fellow readers:
> Please do leave feedback. It helps to improve the article and starts a healthy discussion.
> Please feel free to re-share the post.
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Opeyemi Gentle's profile photoFisher Zinyoni's profile photoclinton trigg's profile photoMarc Stephan Nkouly (McStean)'s profile photo
62 comments
 
Wow... just wow! Thanks Ahmed; I'll be passing this one on!
 
cant wait to read and see what is bogging my fanny down...
 
This is great! Resharing this ASAP! :)

One thing you might want to mention is that you can select multiple friends to add to a circle by single-clicking each one, and then drag them all at once to a circle. Much faster than dragging one at a time.
 
I can't figure out how to Share this from my phone, but I will when I get home. (I left the house! OMG!)
 
+Lauren D Rogers +Rami Taibah thank you for your suggestions. I've added them to the post.

@everyone else: please feel free to post more #whotofollow suggestions along with categories. This post can also serve as a platform for anyone looking to have their work appreciated.

As for improvement suggestions for the starter pack, I will add them in batches as they pile up. For that reason whenever you re-share please ask for the comments to be posted on the original thread. thanks
 
+Natalie Villalobos +Toby Stein You guys should do this as a screencast/video, like the one you did for Huddles. I'd have done it if I had the right gear.. watching is always easier than reading :)
 
Everyone compares G+ to Facebook. I think that's a mistake.

I think it's more like Twitter, except it has threading and unlimited char count. Especially since G+ lets me follow whomever I want without their OK. So I use G+ like I do Twitter. I follow folks who are smarter and more artistic than I am.

Perhaps describing G+ as a place to join public communities rather than a place to chat with friends and family would better serve new users and G+.
 
good point, Martin. I will include my favorite ones.
 
I'm a firefox user so please excuse me if I support the mozilla work once in a while by talking and posting 'bout it cause it's been great!
 
This is definitely a great resource. Thanks for the write-up.
 
+Mark Lastiwka haha well spotted. going to add him straight away!

EDIT: ah bugger.. it's not letting me edit it. I've probably exceeded my edit limit for the day or something
 
+Ahmed Zeeshan Great concise post. In case you haven't seen this yet #whotofollow visit http://group.as
It allows groups to be created and you can find resources of who to follow based on your interest. It is slowly catching on. It doesn't seem to refresh as often as I would like but it helps you find people to follow.
 
+Adam Cohen Wow that is an excellent site! Thank you for sharing it. I will re-share it publicly to get the word out.
 
Thanks for the mention +Adam Cohen.

+Ahmed Zeeshan Great write up, it is extremely informative! Keep an eye on the site as there are many updates on their way (it is currently only 3 days old). Thanks for the support.
 
Afrikaans Translation is done & published for this one
 
+Eugene Niemand Thank you so very much. You are no less than a legend to me now :) I will link to it in the original post and credit it to you. Thanks again!
 
http://group.as/ has now undergone the first major update. You can now easily create your own groups on the fly when you submit a person. This was the most requested feature so we are happy to see it being rolled out.

The site is also sporting a new look whilst still maintaining the original look and feel that was simple and easy to work with. Check out the new ALL GROUPS cloud and see the most popular groups being populated.

There are still many updates ahead but we are thankful for your support and encourage any feedback you can come up with! Thanks again.
 
+Jaana Nyström Oh wow. Thank you SO much! This is great. I've added your translation to the article. If you're planning on doing the other ones too then the spreadsheet for entering your translation into is here: bit.ly/gp_translations

Again, please accept my deepest gratitude for your work.
 
Thnx this is so informative!!!!!!
 
If you are looking for the Top People to follow, here is the directory of G+ directories:

http://brief.ly/gplus.dir/

That is 15 sites in one link!

Probably a good bunch of people for all your tastes.
 
Great article... I wish I came across this when I was trying to figure Google+ out.
 
+Ahmed Zeeshan I have placed a link to your post in my profile page to help convert my Facebook friends. A great resource for Google+. I will title it "Google+ Guide".
 
Thanks..you might want to add Jeri Ryan to the Celebrities, many of us have had very nice conversations with her, she is great!
 
thanks, this is really a clear, concise guide, now I can get excited about G+
 
Thank you +Dea Irby. Google+ is indeed an excellent platform and I'm glad I could get you excited about it :)
 
Ahmed dude good job...and thanks for guide us...
 
Wow ahmed dat impres me i love dat thanx alot
 
As i am a poor man seeking for help may yu please help me thos wh are willing. I am,a zimbwean. For more contact me pliz
 
would like to know how to get back to welcome page for I am interested in sparkle. 
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