Three Easy Steps to Start Using Google+! (Highlights)

As a new user of Google+ there are three items of “Housekeeping” that you should take care of before you jump in. The first thing you should do is Edit Your Profile , every section and in every tab. Permissions have now been expanded so that you can define each section independently of another, so you need to adjust those to suit your online privacy needs. You control your privacy on your profile. One example now is that you can turn on the email feature and choose which of your circles can see and use it. (More on circles in a moment)

Next, click on Google+ Settings from the Gear icon on your Homepage here, and adjust your email and other settings you will find there. While there, glance at the other settings, and you’ll notice too that the Help section from the Gear dropdown is OUTSTANDING!

Next, you go to your Circles. Circles will be very important to you, as they are used not only for who you wish to post to, but also who you wish to read from. Adjust your current “contacts” in those circles as you wish, and create any new ones BEFORE you start adding people since adding people to your circle of contacts requires you put them in a circle. You can change the circles and the people in them at any time, and you can put someone in more than one circle, but this will give you a good start and familiarize you with how they work. Notice that anyone you have blocked previously, is now in a Blocked circle! So you can review that and maybe make adjustments there. Looking for your friends, family and contacts at Google+ ? Click on Find and Invite - this will populate each time starting with people you may already know from your Gmail and Google. As time goes on, it will continue to populate with suggestions from your contacts' circles that you may know as well. Just drag them to the circle of your choice. If they have a mail icon showing, that means they aren’t here yet but you can still add them to a circle now and when they come, they’ll automagically be in the circle you want them.

Circles are limited to 5000 PER circle, as well as 5000 TOTAL of all circles.

Finally, make sure you are using an “actual” name on your profile. Initials, symbols, characters, words, sentences, numbers, etc can flag your account. This is not just for Google+. Names are now required on all Google profiles. If you have a nicname, there is a section for that as well. One of the great features here is that you can mention someone in a post by typing either @ or + and then the actual name, and you will see a list populating as you type to add them to a post or comment. Google's Name Policy here:

Now, you are ready to post something! Notice that if you post TO any of your circles or to extended circles, this will be depicted as “limited”. That means those that your post was posted to CAN reshare within their circles. If it’s an innocuous post, share it publicly so that others can share freely. If all you post is limited and can’t be shared, others will have to post it manually and you don’t get credit for the post, and you deserve credit! If it’s personal, choose a circle. You can also NOW turn off reshares by locking the post as well as turn off comments, by using the dropdown feature on every one of your posts.

If you have any questions, just post them! Everyone here is more than happy to help. Currently you will see a LOT of Google+ Tips and Tricks being posted by everyone, so watch for those. Remember - Google+ is still in Field trials and there is a great Feedback feature for posting any issues that can’t be resolved by asking, or use it for making suggestions once you become familiar with how things work. It’s probable that there are some features you will not be seeing yet due to these being Field trials, (like vanity profile urls) so be patient. Google is listening!

Anyway, this will get you started. Enjoy!

Google+ Tip - If you wish to bookmark posts here, just create an EMPTY circle, name it Bookmarks or Notes, and then share it to that empty circle. You can then access it later in the left Sidebar where your Circles (filters) are listed.

Please feel free to share this via the "Share feature" on Google+.

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