This Is Not Facebook
I've been noticing that over the past few weeks that quite a few people have been migrating to here from Facebook, which is great! Welcome to all of you! To help your experience here, I'm going to help you by explaining what G+ is and, most importantly, what it is not.
I'll start with the latter. As you guessed from my title, this isn't Facebook. What I mean by that is that Google+ isn't the place you come to reconnect with old friends, people you knew (and didn't give a shit about then either) in high school, or people you hung out with in college. For the most part, those people aren't here. They're on Facebook, and despite the fact that Zuckerburg and company regularly disregard their privacy, think they're too stupid to make choices for themselves (EdgeRank), and show a general disregard for anything they'd want to see done with the service (instead catering to advertisers), they're comfortable there. They're not going anywhere.
So, if you come here, try to find some of these people, maybe find a few, make a few posts and don't get any feedback, you're going to go right back to Facebook complaining that G+ is boring.
You will also have missed what Google+ is about. To sum it up as simply as I can, Facebook is where you connect with old friends. Google+ is where you find new ones.
See that search bar at the top of your screen? Unlike the site on which you're accustomed to spending your time, the one here is actually useful.
Interested in poetry slams? A quick search up there (https://plus.google.com/s/poetry%20slam
) will show you who else shares those interests. Photography? No sweat (https://plus.google.com/s/photography
). Harry Potter? Twilight? True Blood? Pottery? You'll find it here.
Take a few of those people that share your interests. Add them to your Circles. Interact with them. Post things here about the things you're interested in. The more you do that, the more you'll start to see where G+ shines, why it can do what no other network before it could do so very well.
And for God's sake, fill out your profiles!
Really can't stress that enough. If you circle someone, chances are they're going to check your profile (I always do). If there's nothing there telling them why they should circle you back, it's likely that they won't. It really doesn't take all that long to type a few lines about who you are and what you're interested in. Feel free to see mine as an example (someone can see that and know exactly what I'm about without ever having to see a single post from me).
Oh, and don't be afraid to comment on the post of someone you don't know. People make posts public for a reason; to encourage interaction with as many people as possible.
Let me give you a couple of people to add to a Circle to get you started. +Natalie Villalobos
is a given; she's a Community Manager here on G+, and will always keep you in the loop on cool things that are happening around here. +Daria Musk
is another one to keep an eye on; she's practically the Official Singer/Songwriter of Google+.
The more you're here, the more you'll meet people that you find interesting and decide to add them. The more you interact with them, the more fun you'll have here.
Edit: Oh, can't believe I forgot this one. DO NOT ASK HOW TO WRITE ON SOMEONE'S WALL!
There is no Wall. This isn't Facebook. Leave that mentality behind. You cannot post anything on someone's page. If there's a post you want them to see, tag them in it, and it will appear in their notifications.
2nd Edit (4/27/12): I'm re-posting this because I have a few things to add, mostly involving Hangouts. While many of us use this feature a lot (I'm in no less than three Hangouts daily), I've noticed some of you seem to be scared of them. Trust me; don't be. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by just jumping in and meeting people. Even if the Hangout isn't necessarily 'about' a particular subject, just jump in!
Here, I'll even help: http://goo.gl/NJUQP
Pick a Hangout, and join it. Just go for it, give it a shot. It's not like you're doing anything useful today, and besides, what have you got to lose?
Edit: Oh, people, this should help you out a bit too. Any Hangout that isn't On-Air you can join from most mobile devices with a front facing camera. That includes the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s, and just about any Android device with a front camera and an Android OS of 2.3 or higher. I've become fond of joining Hangouts from my Evo 4G.
That's all I got for now, so again, welcome to Google+, and I'll catch you all later.
Edit (6/9/13): Since this post has apparently been resurrected, thought I should add a bit about Communities. That feature takes everything I've said in this post and pumps the volume considerably. You can come to G+, search for a community that matches your interest, and instantly have a vibrant stream that's just what you want to see. Personally I'd recommend the +Geeks of the Round
),but I may be a bit biased. You absolutely
should join the Google+ Discuss Community (https://plus.google.com/communities/115758385206378551362
) though; if you need help or have questions about G+, that's your first stop.