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I had a Google+ panic attack this morning.

I was driving along in the damp Houston morning heat, rocking out to some sweet tunes (which still won’t scrobble from Google Music on my G2x. Hello, Last.fm. Can you please fix scrobbling?), when I came to a red light right before entering the freeway. I hate this light because there is a guy who always tries to wash my windshield and it makes me feel awkward. I know. First world problems. But stay with me.

This morning wasn’t any different. Windshield guy was armed and ready to assault my glass -- which was, actually, pretty bug-riddled from my Austin road trip -- and I cringed in anticipation as he approached my vehicle. Before long, my vision was clouded with suds.

Then, something really weird happened. I found myself appreciating that he was washing my windshield without my consent any actual expectation of money in return. This guy was drenched in sweat and it was already almost 100 degrees outside. I reached into my wallet, pulled out a five, and handed it to the guy. I smiled, I told him to stay cool, and I meant it. (This is, like, totally unheard of behavior for me. I don’t roll my window down for anything except a cop. Houston gets pretty dangerous.)

Here’s where the panic started: as I drove away, feeling very proud of myself, it struck me that I’ve been in this “sharing mood” ever since I started getting really active with the Google+ community. And that’s legitimately nuts, that a website -- a social network -- could be re-framing my outlook on life, making me want to connect with everyone around me. What if Google is changing how I behave offline, too?

Once the Starbucks jitters wore off and I had a while to think more clearly, I realized I was just a little high on the thrill of starting a new job, and my windshield really did need to be cleaned, and I don’t like accepting services without compensating for them, even if they’re unwelcome at first. But the connection I’d made at first is going to bug me all day if I don’t act on it (albeit, a bit impulsively). I’ve said before that I think Google+ can change the world, but I’m not actually a raving lunatic, okay? This isn’t about Google, really. It’s about us.

I keep saying that Google isn’t trying to make the world a better place with Google+. But I want to make the world a better place, and I think we should start really thinking about ways to do that with this new tool. It’s obvious already that things spread like wildfire on this network.

So...in that spirit, please comment with an idea for how we can try to do good through Google+.

I’ll go first.

I don’t ever donate to charity because I’m never sure how my money reaches the person or people I want to help, or if it even does. If charities use the future business profiles here to really explain their own merit and detail precisely where and how their donations are being used, I’ll be a lot more inclined to give. I’m talking about a charity profile that would post rich media to demonstrate the reach of its cash by posting videos, photos, and personal stories. Are there ways Google could make this easier? Could there be “charity” profiles in addition to business and personal profiles? Is that a stupid idea? This is just the beginning of a brainstorm. I really look forward to seeing what else you guys come up with.
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Larry Colucci's profile photoChristina Trapolino's profile photoMichael Nardozzi's profile photoShanna Mann's profile photo
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Hmm. I'm finding myself being much more civil here than I might be in an email or a twitter snark. As for comments on my blog, well, I didn't get many. This feels like the time my mom made me go to my first boy-girl (Don't know why they call them that) dance. She was right. It was good for me.
 
I'm looking at getting people together for weekly speed networking hangouts so that we can all help each other as starting entrepreneurs, and build networks for the things we do...

I think that people like to deal with people that they know, and it's easier to trust someone you can talk to.
 
Most charity website will probably already list the way they spend money. I know we're trying to make a Better World Through Google (tm), but I thought I'd point that out.

As far as doing good through Google, I think that people like you who have a large following and respected opinions can do a lot of good by being proactive about finding quality content that people have to post and sharing it with the community. This gives those people who probably deserve it a voice that they might otherwise never have.
 
I have had an idea cooking around in my head that is far too complex for me to ever even begin to pull off. The only ones I could picture pulling it off would be Google and even that isn't likely. Not sure if this is the proper place to put it but oh well here it goes.

I know you all have seen ads for those dating sites. Based on 'deep compatability' and blah blah blah. Well why don't they have that for voters. I put in what I want in a candidate and the site spits out who I should vote for (party wouldn't even be a consideration on the service so it would be objective). Thats it in a nutshell anyway.
 
I like your charity idea! We could donate from Google+ using Google Checkout!

As for me, I just try to put my political and 2nd amendment views out there for anyone who will listen. Kind of the same thing I do in real life. I just want to educate people on the joys of firearms and individual liberties. I think that's doing good, but I guess that's subjective!

Edit: On the political note, though, I'd like to see more activism run through Google+. It seems like Google has given us a lot of tools that are well suited to starting grassroots movements. This is something we can all work toward.
 
Last.fm scrobbling always works fine for me
 
+Christina Trapolino Try the "simple last f.m." scrobbler app. The "official" one wouldn't scrobble for me either from Google music, but the "simple" one does, without a hitch.
 
+Cliff Roth I love your idea. but why would it be so complicated?
 
It's always magical to see what happens when the "Help" button is pushed, Pay it forward folks, don't wait for someone to have to get to the point in their lives where they have to be standing by the side of the road.
 
I feel like hugging you. Thank you, it feels good. 
 
Hi Christina,

Charities provide info in the Form 990s they file with the government each year. Guidestar.org gives easy access to these reports that describe governance, where an organization's money comes from, and detailed info on how they spend it. Look to their websites for the results they're achieving and visual story telling. It takes some exploring to be an effective charitable investor, but the info is out there.

Donna
 
I think it's because you meet people as people here: not as brands, not as talking heads. I can see people who I would never dream of talking to (and I'm not a shy person) being real, and vulnerable, and allowing me to see and interact with the G+ community in a really open-hearted way. And I think that just feels so good, that it carries over into rl.

But as blissful as this cyber-utopia is, I can't help but think "Constant vigilence!" on all our parts, to enable it to stay that way.

Great post, btw.
 
In addition to charities, there is a a whole army of non-profit organizations that should probably be treated somewhat differently than businesses.
 
The "charity" profile is a great idea. It's something concrete, and tangible. The whole mantra of just "paying it forward" or "doing good" always gets lost in its own vagueness. It's easy to say you're going to make a concerted effort to be a "better person", etc, but there's never any fully articulated way drawn up of what that "better person" entails. Maybe someone should create an archetype for some hypothetical idea, and actually create a G+ profile with all the characteristics they would embody or something like that. People can then continually reference this profile when they have done something that exemplifies this idea and what precisely it was.
 
I had to laugh when I read this. Nope,+Christina Trapolino- you're not nuts. I've been much less on autopilot as I navigate outside these days, and I've found myself more inclined to friendly exchanges with people I don't even know. And I wondered the same thing. I feel like I'm becoming my own social experiment :-) Thanks for putting it out there! Going for a run - looking forward to the rest of this conversation and people's thoughts on Charities Plus.
 
+Cliff Roth We have that kind in Finland, it's called 'Vaalikone' or election machine, in the internet. It's open before every major election. There a a bunch of questions that you answer as you think best and the system chooses the candidates that most think alike.
 
Thanks for this post, Christina....brought my first smile of the morning. It's great to see the responses and I have to agree with +Justin Weisman ... just sharing this post has to invoke a bit of 'do good' as I think it reinforces what many others feel too.
 
+Donna Svei, Recruiter, Resume Writer - that's a great tip, Donna. I agree that it takes some exploring right now, but I'm hoping that some kind of charity profile would take some of that work out of the equation for the investor. The less someone has to work to find your merit, the more people will be inclined to give. At least, that's how it would work for me!
 
I think there is actually a bit of a "community vibe" here which I certainly don't see on Twitter. Maybe a little on Facebook. You can see people actively banding together to take down spammers and enforce a degree of "appropriate" behaviour. (Or maybe I just follow nice people?)

Anyone used Plurk? I recall when that started, a similar thing happened. Some kid would get into a conversation thread and start acting like a punk ... and people would jump on him and shut him down. There wasn't any reporting or blocking. Just a general "show some respect of go away".

Well, to answer your question, I think Google+ and similar socnets are already making a difference, by empowering people to use their voice. And we now see activist organisations harnessing those voices -- like Avaaz and in Australia, GetUp. These have driven campaigns to collect names for petitions that have already had significant effect. (Maybe somewhat overstated by the organisations, but, meh, they have to promote like anyone else.

We had a situation here recently that illustrates this: a TV documentary exposed cruel practices in Indonesian abattoirs slaughtering Australian cattle. In the years BT (Before Twitter) this might have provoked a few letters to the Editor. This time, the socnets went crazy, and within 24 hours the Minister for Agriculture was suspending beef exports and starting an investigation. And that was before any organisation got into it.

So I really feel that Google+ etc can be and will be a genuine force for change and for good in the world. I hope that Google allows charities and activist organisations access to "business' profiles at low or no cost, because this will be a superb platform for them.
 
Promoting crowdsourcing. My last shared link was for humblebundle.com a business model that I totally believe in. Radiohead popularized it, I think it's a viable option for everyone in the creative commons.
 
don't know if its cause of G+ or am just changing for the better but i passed a boy yesterday during my lunch hour asking for a small donation. it wasn't much, but i ignored him. however, when i settled back in my office i felt bad. like i should have given him some money.

now i will make it my duty to find him today, and make that donation. time to start doing good and stop acting selfish. this is what this world needs right now. for citizens to start caring for one another and start forgetting about only them self
 
The obvious method is to use hangouts to teach in places where teachers are in short supply.
 
You know what, I guess you're right. I am also getting more social with the people around me.
This is really kind of cool!

But I think it also has to do with the world around us. So much bad things are going on. I think we want to connect to other people more and more, especially when they are in the need for something. The world is changing in a positive way because of all the negative things around us the last years.
Wow! That sounds almost fylosofic.
 
Christina, I've found myself being in a more "sharing" mood, too, and am glad to know others are feeling that. I also have the same issue donating to charitable organizations. I'm not stingy but I want to know where my money goes and I think many people feel that way. There are just a couple of entities I feel comfortable donating to and I generally give to individuals that I know need help of some sort. I've felt strongly that Google+ has the power to change a lot of things that are wrong in our world. How Google would go about implementing all that is something I've thought about but I have no good suggestions in that area. I like the charity profile idea, though. A lot. I can even see charity hangouts with Q&A sessions so people can get a better feel about an organization and how they spend their money.
 
+Yishai Kaminsky Because I would want to to know the voting records as well as the public statements of candidates (all candidates) so that it can be a more reality based system rather than a spin based one (in addition to the candidate supplied info). It would also have to be able to prioritize which metric I consider more important etc. etc. Not to mention know this for all major elections. That is many candidates. Not only that but it would have to be shown to be honest and not spit out a candidate who paid to be spat out etc.

+Jaana Nyström Wow really? Does it work good? Do people view it as objective and accurate? Does it include all candidates or only major party candidates?
 
"Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle"
Apply above tenet to every facet and action of your day wherever you can and reap the smile rewards. Also, +Christina Trapolino if you haven't seen the film Pay it Forward:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/

then definitely go out and get it tonight. Cascading happiness. Embodies exactly what you may be getting at or looking for in your idea. Get some tissues also.. :)
 
Well I think we all bring something to the space. I mean, I work in cancer early detection and keep up with my area. I also am thinking about starting juicing and sprouting for my health and these are things I am sure others may be interested.

Not that I am going to start going on about sun screen or micronutrients or breast, prostate, and colorectal screening. I mean that would be as bad as some with religious beliefs having to mention their beliefs in each and every post. BLAH. But, if I see a place where it brings something to the conversation then I feel like it would be okay to bring my experience to the table.
 
Because it costs nonprofits money to communicate, I'd like to see them get every ounce of leverage they can out of what they're already doing. 
 
+1 for Houston. I too ignore the window washer guys on South Gressner. Lately, at gas stations, I've been getting hit up with the "I have to travel to <insert state here> because <insert reason here> and I'm out of gas and money". At times I help people anyway even though I know their story isn't true (heard the same story too many times). Has G+ made me anymore inclined to donate to strangers? No, becareful out there +Christina Trapolino.
 
Use the connectivity of Google + to match experienced professionals/experts to those starting off on a career path. Evolve a mentor-mentee sort of relationship. Not charity but definitely 'giving'.
 
I would love to have charity and other non profits here on G+, with padronized contents, giving visibility to their campains, their actions and of course how well they spent the money they receive. G+ could make their communication easier, cheaper and richer. Christina, could you please suggest it to G+? For sure they would listen to you...

As for more ideas, I guess that if we share valuable thoughts we're doing what we're supposed to, as persons. And that could be anything: tips, help, free useful content, even nice words.
 
I haven't read all the comments, but in case this hasn't come up before. There's a website that does actually evaluate charities (I don't give to charities that I haven't vetted, either). It's called Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/). There's also a totally awesome way of doing good work, over and over, for small amounts of money that make a huge difference to the people you're loaning the money to via micro loans. I participate at Kiva.org, and I can't say enough good things about this organization. Please do check them out.
 
Very awesome post. I give to my church. It would be nice to see charities identified. You may have something there. I could see G+ users encourage their Circles to donate to a particular charity and then highlight them with their G+ profile. That actually would be rather cool.
 
People with specific skills and a little extra time could use hangouts to teach those skills to others. Imagine being able to teach someone a skill that helps get them out of unemployment or into a better job. Maybe someone out there is bored or lonely and wants a new hobby to pass the time. Not only could the hangouts make them feel connected to others, they'd be doing something they're interested in. Win/win. The possibilities are endless.
 
I get hit with the people looking for money outside the post office of all places. I just say "sorry, don't carry cash" - which is true really. I use my debit card for everything and never bother with cash anymore.
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+Christina Trapolino :
Not exactly a charity,. but maybe Google+ pet adoption hangouts for animal shelters.
Post a day and time for the hangout with a picture and basic information about the animal, then those interested in adopting would join the hangout.
 
+steve Thomas the problem with the live exports ban, was that they acted too hastily so that the cattle were just left stranded and many farmers couldn't afford to keep the cattle indefinitely, and there was a real risk of them being forced to slaughter the herds of cattle even if they couldn't sell (or distribute) the meat (a really huge waste, if you think about the starvation in the world) , and then they just pissed of the Indonesian gov and very little had changed when they allowed live exports again.

http://www.news.com.au/national/federal-agriculture-minister-joe-ludwig-announces-end-of-live-export-ban/story-e6frfkvr-1226089173677
 
+Christina Trapolino Trabalhando, como colaboradora junto a um instituto (Instituto Semear Brasil), sem fins lucrativos e que agrega por sua vez outros órgãos voltados para pesquisa e ensino e considerando que a finalidade precípua do instituto é desenvolver a capacitação de profissionais visando o aumento da produtividade e qualidade dos seus produtos e serviços, gerar oportunidades de comercialização e criar novas oportunidades de trabalho. Vejo que a simples divulgação futura das atividades aqui no G+ já se torna uma vitrine excepcional para que seja otimizada não só a visibilidade do que se propõem o instituto de gerar estímulo a um novo pensar da sociedade, como também abrir novos canais diretos para novas possíveis negociações.
Refuto a idéia de doar pura e simplesmente acreditando fielmente que devemos aprender a capacitar o indivíduo para que ele venha a suprir suas próprias necessidades.
 
I now am less likely to drop kick puppies since using Google+. Today I merely tossed one into some thorned shrubbery.
 
I understand your hesitation towards charities. My small contribution would be a drop of water on a hot stone. That's why I like Kiva (www.kiva.org) because my contribution goes directly to one specific individual.
 
First, Houston is a safe place,over all. You just need to be aware of your situation (just like anywhere in the world)

Second, I think that what may be happening is that the group of folks here on g+ are for the most part positive in there interactions and this is rubbing off on you...you are feeding yourself into a more positive vibe from the info in g+, and as such, you are in a better place in the `real' world.
 
First and foremost, inspire people to do better. Clearly you already rock at this..

Something else that people can try is to help illuminate issues that are a concern and point out local ways to get involved.

It's often too overwhelming to take on all the world's problems. I'd recommend creating a "Local" circle with all the people that are in your local geographical area. Then as you find ways to help locally you can try to motivate this local community. Rather than just give money you provide the opportunity to contribute something more tangible and connect with local folks that also want to make a difference.
 
Here are Deise's comments translated for non-Lusophones and/or the too busy to use Google Translate:

Working as a collaborator with a non-profit organization (the Plant Brazil Institute) that unites other bodies working in the areas of research and teaching, and considering that the main purpose of the institute is to develop professional training aimed at increasing productivity and quality of its products and services, [I suggest we use G+ to] generate marketing opportunities and create new job opportunities. I see that the mere disclosure of future activities here at G + has become an exceptional showcase that is optimized not only for the visibility of what is proposed by the institute to stimulate new thinking in society, but also open new direct channels for possible new negotiations.
I refute the idea of donation; I simply firmly believe that we must learn to empower the individual so that they will meet their own needs.
Lori F
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Wow, just reading the comments is inspiring! +Christina Trapolino thanks for 1) giving the window washer some money, and 2) for sharing what your thinking. I work at a church in a small rural town. We have a group that tutors at risk kids, we have a drug/alcohol outreach that is going great (we are often the "meth capital of America" ), and a few other ways that we are trying to help our community. Small towns usually don't get very much help from state or federal governments so everyone has to pull together to help people. I would love to see what can be done with charities on here. Because it's easier to find people with your interests on G+ I imagine it would be just as easy to find a charity you would like to help.
 
Speaking of, Google Translate really ought to be integrated into G+.
 
Hi +Christina Trapolino , my name's Poppy. I guess you can see that because it's right there next to this post, but since this is a formal introduction, I'm telling you anyway.

I found Google+, and am using it, partly in order to evaluate its use for the charities that I work with.

You see, there's a real network of nonprofit techies who jump into social media and look around to see how it can be used, and get familiar with it so that when our charitable clients are ready to join, we have some experience and can help.

Yes, charities are looking for ways in which they can become part of the Google+ community. It's going to be hard; in the nonprofit world, where everyone wears 2 or 3 hats, progress in ideas can be slow. Funding for education in new paradigms is minimal if at all - largely because anyone who wants to give charities money wants that money to go straight to the people being served, and aren't interested in funding ways for charities to learn new ways of serving people. So, while lots and lots of charities are interested in Google+, the shift to using media for a two-way conversation is still something we as a group are learning. It's there, it's growing, but it's very heavily centered in organizations that are large enough to hire a full-time social media staff person.

If you're interested in being part of the discussion on how nonprofits could use G+, I'd recommend that you seek out some of the nptechies online: +Deborah Elizabeth Finn , +Gavin Clabaugh , +Holly Ross and more. (check their circles and posts for lots of other names, those are just the ones I come across most often.)

--P
 
The world is as we are - if we can continue to bring out the best in ourselves on Google+, we will set an example for other online communities, for each other, for noobs, and if enough of us can elevate ourselves to a higher level of spiritual energy, for the world. Day after day, more and more people, all over the world, interacting in a civil and respectful and humane manner here, uplifting and reinforcing each other, will create a powerful force for enlightenment in the world, without anyone having to fix anything or make anything better. And that would be a kind of miracle.
 
Just a thought – it seems like one of the things that makes G+ such an engaging platform is the ability to interact with actual people. Joining a hangout with +Michael Dell is far more interesting than seeing an ad from his company somewhere. The Dell marketing division can be the best in the world and never achieve the kind of brand loyalty that can come from meeting the CEO and having a conversation with him, even in a virtual space. It makes him – and, by extension, his company – more relatable.

I think the same thing can happen with charities. Most people are wary of charities for the same reasons you mentioned, so groups like charity:water have come up with some truly innovative ways to provide more information about what's being done with the donations they receive, but even so, they're still just a brand. Spend twenty minutes in a hangout with +scott harrison listening to him talk about the reasons he started charity:water, and you'll see and hear the passion these people have for the work they're doing.

I think G+ can be used brilliantly to do good. And I'm excited to see someone start the conversation of how best to do that. As someone working for a non-profit organization, I understand the immense value of a personal connection in raising support for any kind of charity, and I think that will be the key to Google+Charities (thanks +emma rivera for that name idea!).

One way I think we can help is by doing exactly what you've done with this post. Open the discussion, get people involved and thinking about what they can do, raise awareness for organizations we trust and the problems they're trying to solve...

This is the first post I've seen asking how to actively use G+ to improve people's lives, and I'm really excited to see where it goes :)
 
hip hip hooray. I felt just the same this morning. I tell you all to leave your cars at home and cycle everywhere. I can do 100 Km a day. I'm sure your work is closer to your homes. Make the world a better place by decreasing the levels of carbon dioxide you and others have to breath.
 
I agree that there is something different about Google+. The signal to noise ratio seems ideal. It is true that some of this is because it is new and people are putting their best content and ideas out there, but the format and community have been actively shaping the conversation.

I think Google+ could be a powerful tool for charities. In the coming days/months, Google will need to decide how they want to handle this community segment. I volunteer for a couple different charities (animal rescue and literacy) and I can see how the + format and community could be mutually benefit from the inclusion of charitable organizations. Google will need to decide what the qualifications are for that designation if they choose to differentiate charities from businesses.
 
+Shanna Mann sorry, I didn't see your post until after I'd commented (i thought i'd read them all too, hmm) or I would have referenced you. You pretty much said what I was trying to, only more concisely. :)
 
Using Charity Navigator as mentioned above (or similar sites), and reviewing a company's financials (and researching their supporters, beneficiaries, and amount spent on fundraising vs going directly to their charity) will give you a much clearer idea of their mission than any rich media ever will. As an example, the Komen foundation directs funds to Planned Parenthood (which many people do not know, thinking their money is all going directly to breast cancer research), and spends a huge portion (20%) on fundraising and administrative costs. Contrast that with the United Way (~10-12%). Certainly this is a good forum for non-profits to get their messages out, but it's not a panacea. Facebook also has handy "events" that can be used to get out the message for charities about fundraisers...
 
I feel very similarly to you about charities and wanting to know where my money goes and who it goes to. That is why I am a particular fan of the charity called the Uncultured Project. You can find out most of what you need to know from his YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/up

He is committed to connecting donors directly to the people their money helps through social media platforms including videos. I have to say it really makes a difference to see EXACTLY who your money went to help.
 
I try to donate to local charities in my own community. Being able to see the benefits firsthand is even more satisfying to me. And in times such as the present when I can't contribute financially, I give my time which is just as important.
 
The best venue for hangouts would be Hangouts for Charity.
 
I'd love to see Charities go first as beta-testers of a sort...they could work out some of the kinks that businesses will experience...but as a bonus it would give them a moment in the sun as the first non-individual Plus users.
 
yeap sharing the content would help if shared across the network. as an artist point of view i can now use google to help people in need or lost on their art endeavor, as im already started today my art tips and will be posting some of my live stream painting sessions replays so that it can also help the community or it can attract more people to the art world
 
Here is a GREAT charity that just might break your heart:
http://www.cci.org/

"Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, CCI is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs, and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship."
 
+Christina Trapolino Just wanted to add that I've experienced a similar phenomenon. I agree that G+ is creating a positive environment, and that the atmosphere is starting to bleed over into real life.
 
Google + demonstrates in a visual way how connected we are as technologically savvy humans; however, our connectedness has always been much deeper (whether you believe it or not) in shared energy. G+ not only amplifies the power and potential of positive energy, it also greatly assists in the spread of positive (+) E. This is a platform designed for intelligent people (who I believe better understand the import of passing around +E in strengthening the greater, global mind). It is no surprise that G+ is an asset to creative types and an amplifier of that creative energy (which comes in more forms than just art, charity and selflessness for instance).

Be G+ (google positive) share the love.
 
Well, not sure if Google+ is necessarily changing the way I act. But I have found myself wanting to connect to people I normally wouldn't when I'm out. Especially after seeing the mass, good conversations, I've had with people on G+. I think Google would like to think they are making the world a better place, and in general I think they are starting off on the right foot, no matter what some may say or think.
 
(somebody else needs to comment on this thread -- I don't want my lack-of-coffee grumpiness to be the last word here)
Maybe it's just the lack of coffee this morning, maybe it's not enough sleep, but the cynic in me is shouting that all of this good feeling is temporary, and shortly after Google+ opens up to everybody it will degenerate into the same dreck that you see everywhere else... I think the reason things are so polite, so tolerant, and feel so family is because we're a self-selected sample of people who are desperately yearning for something better than what has been available to us previously. We're all motivated to make sure that g+ works -- but once the rest of the world can come in with us, we're going to find ourselves outnumbered (yet again) by people who want to play Farmtown, Cityville, Mafia Wars, and other Zynga dreck, and the people who want to retweet Justin Bieber's or Kim Kardashian's latest juicy tidbits. I also suspect that great charity multimedia presentations will be most likely to appear from the "charities" that keep the most money in their own pockets and pass on the least to those we wanted to help... you can probably surmise that I was not excited to read the rumor that Google+ was going to open up to everyone in less than a week (I hope that was just a rumor)... sorry for being a wet blanket... I think I'll go make some coffee now...
 
+Christina Trapolino - I wonder if your 'new' attitude could be inspired by something of a renewed faith in people and that engaging with a stranger can be rewarding that I'm certainly finding is the experience here at G+. It's all too easy on the Internet to come across rather unpleasant people or attitudes and as a result it's easy to become rather cynical about random people. I keep wondering if at some point it'll all change and the swarms of unpleasantness might start cropping up, but perhaps there's something to be said for a) stripping away a degree of anonymity, and b) the way circles are organised and the type of interaction that's promoting. I certainly still find G+ an encouraging and exciting place to learn, laugh, discuss, debate and also just get in touch with a friend.

As for how to use G+ for good, well discussions like this are a great place to start. Like +Ari Bancale I would certainly start with promoting good causes and neat ideas, like the Humble Bundle (www.humblebundle.com), but beyond that it's hard to know how much promotion would work. If someone had a 'charity' profile to promote a certain charity would you add it to a Circle, or just visit once to see what they do?
 
I wouldn't worry about it Christina, sounds like you just have a better outlook on life now, I don't think that's a bad thing.
 
I see G+ as a perfect platform for organizing immediate widespread action. "Virtual Flash Charity Mobs" so to speak. It's a a great sign that we have so many positive beacons here on Gpoz. I.e. the one's with the widest circle spreads seem to be the one's promoting the strengths of Gpoz the most.
 
The best healing in the world happens when a person suddenly feels heard.
 
+Gene Ouye - I understand your fear, actually. I was worried about the masses storming in and smashing sandcastles like gleeful children, too. But then I started realizing how much Circles make that sort of irrelevant. If Google+ has 20+ million users, and even if a quarter of them are active at all, that's already a huge test. Yes, we all have Google+ in common, and yes, we all know someone who knows someone who knows someone in tech (uhh, who doesn't?), but even 5 million people are not interested enough in each other to be actively following each other's posts every day on the Internet.

This is why I keep reminding everyone that you don't have to Circle back your followers. Doing so is simply not necessary for any reason. As +Mike Elgan has pointed out, the Incoming feed largely nullifies any sense of obligation (you can still read what your followers share with you at any time by clicking "Incoming" above Notifications in your Streams list -- and you should, when you're looking to extend your Circles and find new, interesting people).

It's important to Circle people you actually want to follow because your Streams should be about your interests. You can use a Circle to "hold" people, or set up Circles only to broadcast to, but if you're looking to mold a community around yourself on Google+, you do that by mostly following the kinds of people you want to read. You can always branch out with the Incoming feed.

This creates a network where people are reading and discovering the kinds of ideas they want to find. You have the power to filter out what you don't want to participate in. That means the screaming masses cannot infiltrate your Circles without your permission.

Isn't that kind of exciting, even to a cynic?
 
+Nathanael Card YES! Wow, interactive TED would be amazing. +Dan Ariely posted short videos corresponding to his book's chapters on his profile. It's inspiring and pragmatic at the same time.
 
They will eventually make it here... on FB I follow a bunch and it is a good place to reach a bunch of people that might be inclined to help. It is another form of gathering volunteers from all over. From monetary donations to helping spread the word it is a good place for them to be.

I actually saw it happen in the city I live. Someone posted about the people (homeless) living in Tent City and there was a major influx of offers to help, donations, kids going there to help out. Many people are willing to help but it is hard sometimes to channel that willingness. Kids are very group driven and it is a very good way to gather their support, awareness, enlist their help for those types of causes.

The same happened when there was a flood here. FB became the perfect platform and you have no idea how many people used to find out where help was needed and you saw people from all walks of life filling sandbags, pilling sandbags, helping strangers move their belongings.

You saw that with the Iranian elections and now the Arabian Spring... many people got involved in the best way they could. There is a whole lot of good, beautiful people out there and this is a good way to find them.
 
+Christina Trapolino Actually, you're right... I'm feeling more chipper after reading your observation, and I still haven't had any coffee this morning... :)
 
I used to like Google+ for similar reasons but in the latest episode of True Blood I learned that vampires are entrenched within Google and I have many doubts ..
 
donorschoose.org is a site like what you're suggesting. They're pretty up-front about how much of the donation goes to administrative costs, and you get to read about the projects and decide who to give to. I love it and even donate monthly. I'll keep thinking on your question...
 
+Gene Ouye Quando G+ estiver aberto, evidentemente irão se juntar toda sorte de interesses, mas, aposto na estrutura criada com filtro bem ajustado que canalize esses interesses pertinentes. O benefício maior que hoje temos a dispor é justamente a quebra da barreira inicial para falar e fazer-se ouvir. Creio que a equipe do Google+ estará sempre atenta a moldar, conforme se fizer necessário, o direcionamento que melhor perpetue o que inicialmente está sendo aqui proposto que é o de estimular a reflexão de todos que somem para resultados efetivos para toda uma sociedade. Oportunismo, +Patrick Knauer sempre ocorrerão, assim como pensamentos individualistas, mas temos aqui uma rara oportunidade de não mais ficar apenas sonhando com um mundo melhor, uma sociedade mais justa e um mundo cujas relações não passem de utopia.
Hoje, ainda em fase beta já temos essa mescla de interesses e assuntos e facilmente já se torna perceptível onde cada um pode e deve concentrar sua atenção. Particularmente acho interessante, salvo excessos de um e outro, transitar por diversas linhas de conduta que mostram uma diversidade que, se bem trabalhada, pode resultar sim em melhor profundidade. Dar acesso aqueles que sequer visualizavam outra possibilidade que não as que as redes sociais impunham como sendo normais e que todos nós, apesar da superficialidade não reagíamos.
+Ben Chatterton pode me auxiliar aqui novamente rsrsrs
 
+Deise Lemos Almeida translated, again: When G + [officially] opens, of course it will combine all sorts of interests, but I bet the structure is being fitted with a filter designed to channel relevant interests. The greatest benefit we have today is precisely to break the initial barrier to speak and make themselves heard. I think the G+ staff will always be ready to shape, as deemed necessary, the direction that best serves what has initially been proposed here, which is to stimulate the reflection of all, which adds up to effective results for all of society. Opportunism, Patrick, will always occur, as well as individual thought, but here we have a rare opportunity to no longer just be dreaming about a better world, a fairer society, a world whose relationships are no more than a utopia.
Today, still in beta, we have this mix of interests and issues and it has become easily noticeable where each person can and must focus their attention. Particularly interesting, I think, is that, excepting a few, we follow principles of good conduct, showing a diversity that is well crafted, and can result in better depth. [G+] provides access even to those who envisage another possibility other than that imposed as the norm by social networks which we all, despite their superficiality had not [yet] reacted against.
 
+Ben Chatterton -- thanks for the translation. My Spanish isn't good enough to understand what +Deise Lemos Almeida wrote without significant assistance from translate.google.com, and it wasn't able to help me much :)

Deise, I hope you are correct. I believe that g+ has the potential to be great, and I look forward to seeing more features in it to support altruism.
 
+Christina Trapolino this article I just came across mirrors almost exactly what you are talking about here and expands upon it nicely. I particularly thought it touched perfectly on that line between personal experiences and group social experiences. Especially in light of our new G+ environment... :)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kingsley-dennis-phd/world-conscious-evolution_b_901287.html

"A new narrative is emerging, one where each person is integral to the larger picture; the journey of each one of us being a part of the journey as a whole. And a new story is emerging that tells us that the possibilities are open for humanity to engage in creating its way forward, consciously, and with harmony, balance and respect to all systems. This new human story gives us a renewed sense of meaning to our lives and makes us want to "wake up" each morning and each moment to this great enterprise."
 
Interesting how I put your post right into my own perspective. When you write about giving to charity so that you actually know how the money is being spent and that is reaches its destination I can't help but think of crowdfunding.

There are a lot of crowdfunding websites out there that use different methods to make your dream of "knowing where your small investment/donation went" true. Also charity websites that let you track and actually communicate with the people you give your donations to.

My personal "how to use Google+ to change the world"-project is building a community around the website www.LibraryToday.org that I am creating for the benefit of libraries (or more accurately the patrons of libraries) around the world. This type of website or platform as I like to call it does not work without a strong community behind it and that is what I am trying to achieve by using Google+.

Further more, I must point out +Christina Trapolino that by posting excellent information on Google+ all the time you are already making a difference. With your advice it is people like me who learn how to use Google+ better for our "make the world a better place"-projects. Thank you.
 
Thank you. This post, which I read a few days ago, inspired me to use Google+ as a platform to speak to an issue of justice that is very personal to me. Shares and re-shares could be an exceptionally powerful tool in raising awareness of social (and in my case, criminal) justices issues.
 
Funny, I've actually found myself engaging the world in a much more + ("positive", yea I know...) way. I can really only attribute it to my interaction with new found friends, topics, interests of g+.
 
I would love it if your positive outlook would rub off on me. Hope you eccept my friend request.
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