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Google Plus Noobs, Welcome! <3

I've gotten a few e-mails this week asking me what I'd tell new Plussers to keep in mind while exploring the network. So, new Plussers, here is what I think you should do (but always remember that this is your network and you should do what you want on it):

Fill out your profile!
(I added this right up at the top after some very clever commenters pointed out that I missed this one. I love being able to edit my posts on G+, by the way. Probably my favorite technical feature. Really.)

Who are you? Share as much or as little on your profile as you're comfortable sharing (the privacy controls are excellent), but please don't leave it blank! We want to know what you're about. Telling us what you like to post about is a good start, but you're free to make your profile into anything you want it to be. Tell us your favorite books or tell us your occupation. Whatever you want to share. Just share something!

Set up your Circles for reading and for sharing.
You know how Google starts you off with Acquaintances and Following and Friends and Family, etc? All of those are Streams just as much as they are Circles to share with. When you post things to the Family Circle, only the people in that Circle see the post. Great! Makes sense. But did you know that when you click "Family" in your Stream list, only posts from people in your Family Circle show up? Circles = Streams. Lightbulb!

This will make more sense as you get more familiar with the platform, but if you start thinking of your Circles as reading tools and not just sharing tools from the beginning, you will have a much easier time managing the flow of content you read. Make big and little Circles for reading if you want to try to categorize them. I have a free-for-all Main Stream and then lots of categories for more focused reading. Yes, it's work, but it's worth it.

Find awesome people and interact with their posts.
Add +Natalie Villalobos and +Tom Anderson to your Circles. Put them in your Main Stream. These two Plussers are truly interested in the community on the network, but it's not just the content they contribute that makes them great. It's about the conversations happening on their posts and their level of personal engagement with those conversations.

G+ isn't just about broadcasting or just about private networking. It's about interactivity and engagement, whether that's done in public or in private Circles. Public conversations here are amazing, and private sharing is kept relevant by the use of Circles.

There are a lot of amazing people to follow on G+, but Natalie and Tom are great hubs from which you can explore anything in the community that interests you, whether you're into geeky stuff (Tom's G+ posts led me to +Mike Elgan, who is one of my favorite tech writers now) or whether you're a foodie like +Alida Brandenburg, who I found through Natalie.

Use comment threads to direct your exploratory efforts!
The Google Plus Search feature is amazing for new users and I think a lot of us wish we'd had that about 90 days or so ago, but it's not your only source for finding interesting people. Comment threads on highly active profiles like the ones I mentioned above are a fantastic source for great new people to follow.

When you go to a Tom Anderson post looking to get in on the discussion, you might want to tear out your eyes because within minutes there are hundreds of notes from hundreds of people. But stick with it anyway. Skim. See a funny comment or something really thoughtful that catches your attention? Why don't you add that person to a "Potentially Interesting" Circle? When you're bored and looking for new content, that Circle will be unpredictable and ... well, you know. Potentially interesting. When you read something you like in there, add that person to your Main Stream. When you read enough stuff you think is lame from one person, take 'em out of your Circles. It's your show. Tailor it to your own interests!

If people you don't know Circle you, don't freak out!
Consider this a new source of "Potentially Interesting" people. You don't have to Circle anyone back, and you can read all of the posts they share with you in your Incoming Stream. Same principle as before: if they entertain or interest you, add 'em! If not, Google has ignore and block features.

If nobody Circles you, don't freak out!
And don't start spam-sharing your posts with people to beg for attention, either. It's kind of obnoxious.

When people Circle you, it means they are either interested in what you are saying publicly on your own Stream, or they are interested in what you might have to say in the future based on a comment you made or something in your profile. You are not obligated to entertain anyone on G+, but if you want followers for some reason, work for their attention in an authentic way. Interact with others, give your time to others, and others will want to return that sentiment to you. If you don't ever broadcast a single thing via your Stream but you comment thoughtfully on other people's posts, you are still the backbone of this community and your "Follower count" is irrelevant. I promise.

You don't have to post publicly, but if you do, try not to feed any trolls.
Don't waste your time with people who drive you nuts -- there are tons of awesome people waiting to interact with you elsewhere. Your public posts are your territory and you're free to set your own rules for how people behave in your comment threads. Don't tolerate anything you don't want to tolerate.

If G+ starts feeling like too much work, go outside.
We often get out what we put in, don't we? If managing your Circles seems too hard, consider simplifying them. If reading your Streams starts to feel like it's frying your brain, go get some Vitamin D in the great outdoors (but please wear sunscreen). When you come back, you might suddenly have a super awesome idea for a great public post (Tom Anderson once came back from floating in the ocean to tell us all about an epiphany he had...while floating in the ocean). Or you might have something particularly insightful to add to someone else's post. Or you might realize your Circles are set up in a way that's totally ridiculous and you'll find a system you like and everything will be epic from now on. Who knows? Taking a break and unplugging is really important, whether you feel legitimately overwhelmed or just a little frazzled from information overload.

Own your experience.
This is your network. Google made the tools, but you are the driving force behind the site. How you use this platform is up to you. Experiment! Play. Be social. Be creative. Enjoy yourself. Don't take anybody's crap, and always remember that words on a screen can't hurt you unless you let them. Inspire someone. Help someone who knows less than you, especially if you don't usually like doing that. See how much appreciation and interaction you get back for it. People are fundamentally good -- I don't care if you disagree -- and so far, this network has only proven that to me over and over. I hope it does for you, too.

When in doubt, ask!
:)

What advice would you give a new user?
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39 comments
 
teach them about the games button
 
Organize your circles from the very beginning. Don't worry about what you name each one or how many you have. Only you can see your circles so try and be specific..It will help tremendously as your Google+ network grows..
 
Some good advice here as usual +Christina Trapolino. One issue I think many people have coming to an open network like this is a bit of 'social network anxiety'.

Trying to build a following on a new social network is not the goal one should have, providing quality content is. If you build it, they will come!
 
+Daniel Treadwell - I agree! Building a following shouldn't be the goal, but I don't know if I'd say that providing quality content is the goal, either. People will figure out what they want after playing some, but for a lot of us this place is mostly about interacting. If you gain a following because of your level of engagement, awesome! If you don't have anything to post in public but you still want to interact, you can do that here. I love that about G+.
 
Thanks for another great post +Christina Trapolino , I think you've covered all the basics.

I would add that even if you have no intention of posting Public, you should write a little about yourself on the about page, so that people have something to go by, if they want to circle you.
Serg B
 
is there a way to show posts in my news feed in another order ? i don't want any post to slide up after each comment :(
 
+Christina Trapolino, I totally agree. There are so many usage models provided by G+ from those seeking heavy engagement, to others that just want to read, to those that just want to interact with people close to them. In my comment I was simply addressing those that were looking to be circled primarily.

+Søren Dalsgaard Brath definitely touches on an important topic. If you are wanting people to circle you be sure to give them an idea of who you are via your about page.
 
/facepalm

I knew I meant to say "fill out your profile." I'll modify the post a bit soon to include that. Silly me!
 
Another great post about google+.

Thanks to you +Christina Trapolino for all your help and great insight over the last two month. You were one of my first people to circle and your in there ever since.

And thanks to +Ryan Crowe aswell. 
 
Great resource for newbies. Especially the order of tips makes much more sense.
 
Very good advices, thank you for this useful post to share! I like your advices, especially this one : "G+ isn't just about broadcasting or just about private networking. It's about interactivity and engagement". This is why I love G+ ^__^
 
thanks good advice, need more peopple on G+ ;).
 
how long have you been on G+ for Christina?
 
I've been here since June 30th, so I think I should give her tips.

Tip 1: Leave Google+ and never come back.
 
wow!
well i like the differences between g+ and facebook, yet some of the things that just make sense are on both
 
Well, Josh, of course you're entitled to your opinion. Of course, you are not entitled to having that opinion taken seriously.

(And what happened to the "Block" option here?)
 
can someone start a hang out? I wanne test it :)
 
Thanks for the mention, +Christina Trapolino! +Rob Grega is definitely more the foodie between the two of us though. I'm more the brains behind Table for Ten. ;)

There's some great info for new users here. Thanks!

There are a few things I would add, but most notably I would encourage people to try the Hangout feature, since it's one of the things that makes Google+ so dynamic and unique, and it seems to have endless potential. I've met some of my favorite Google+ members via Hangouts (perhaps my very favorite of all, +Ahmed Zeeshan, who I met when we both happened to hop in our very first Hangout back in launch week- which also, btw, happened to be via the fabulous +Natalie Villalobos!), and I think Hangouts really humanize the experience. It takes social networking to the next level. It was also the feature that totally changed my mind about Google+ and convinced me to fall head-over-heels in love with it. :)

If you're shy, just turn off your mic and/or video!
 
So true, +Rob Grega. And your brains are very sexy, as well. ;D

We need to get you an apron that says, "My eyes are up here, thank you."
Brian H
 
My advice would be: explore your friends' connections.
 
Agreed, +Bryan R !

I think friends should trade reading Circles like mix tapes. That's why sites like group.as are so cool. They let you curate publicly by any categorization you like.
 
How do I edit my profile via phone app.. My computer crashed so I can't get on and do my profile? 
 
I've shared this post and also linked it on both my tumblr (www.seriouslyboring.com) and my facebook account. Hopefully it'll attract some new faces. Great work! Btw +Leo Laporte is a great person to follow. He's a tech journalist, podcaster and a huge supporter of everything (or most things) Google. 
 
How do you find time for a life if your posting articles on here all the time??
 
Always read your stream by circle. Stream navigation: press the j key to Jump over a post (the fastest way to skim); k key for bacK.

Don't follow gurus. Go read their posts via their profiles. If they aren't following you, you will only ever see their public posts anyway.

Stop worrying about your Facebook friends and make some new ones.
 
This is excellent advice, Christina. I plan to share it with my sister, who just joined. thanks!
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