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Mike Elgan on G+ as a blogging platform... and my solution to archiving your Google Plus "blog" posts
#evang+  

This is an excellent article by +Mike Elgan on why and how he uses Google Plus as a blogging platform (hat tip to +Vic Gundotra for the story).

I was interested but hesitant to begin a blog of my own and became enamored and inspired to try using G+ as a blogging alternative after reading +Guy Kawasaki 's eBook What the Plus -- in fact, my first "blog" post was a review of Guy's book, and in my review, I rhetorically ask Guy why he didn't include a chapter on how to use G+ as a blog and how G+ might even be blogging 2.0. You can read that post here: http://goo.gl/eWjr6

One of the weaknesses of using G+ as a blog that Mike points out in his +Computerworld article is the inability to archive past posts, which brings me to the solution that I devised for my own original posts. It's a bit manual and old-school but it works, and only takes a minute or two of time on each post that you want to archive.

I use a Google Docs / +Google Drive spreadsheet to archive my original posts. Here's what you do:

1. Create a new Google Docs spreadsheet document, with headings that you want to use. I use Post Date (the day I make the post public); Title (title of the post, which I put in bold typeface (using the * markup that both Mike and Guy recommend); Permalink (the long url that G+ assigns to the post and can be found in the drop down menu of each public post you create); one column heading for goo.gl shortened link (which I use to track my referrals from Facebook); one column heading for bit.ly shortened link (which I use to track my referrals from Twitter); and finally a column heading called Notes that categorizes the post (useful for sorting by category).

2. Make your spreadsheet public. Press the Share button in the upper right corner of the Google Docs spreadsheet, and select "Anyone who has the link can view" option.

3. Copy the link and shorten it using goo.gl or your preferred URL shortener. For convenience, I then took the goo.gl shortened link and renamed the spreadsheet with the URL shortcut. You can view my G+ archive spreadsheet here: http://goo.gl/fu4LQ

4. Make sure you put a link to the archive spreadsheet in your G+ profile so that visitors can view your archive of past posts (that is, if they happen to view your profile).

Now you're ready to start populating your archive spreadsheet. Here's what you do for each post that you want to archive. Note: I don't make a spreadsheet entry for every post that I create of course, just the ones that are original posts that I've written.

1. Create and publish your public G+ post as usual.

2. After it's public, grab the G+ permalink. Go to the drop down menu (looks like an arrow pointing down) at the top of the newly created post and select Link to this post option. Copy and paste the permalink into your archive spreadsheet in the appropriate column.

3. Fill in the other fields in your archive spreadsheet. You can customize these fields according to your preferences and style.

4. Include links to the archive spreadsheet and past posts in your new posts, as appropriate. This lets people read your other posts (particularly if they are in a series) or look at your archive, just as you would on a standard blog--in fact, it might be better than a standard blog since many blogs only allow you to see posts by post date. My method allows you to sort posts by the column headings in the spreadsheet.

It's not elegant or automatic, but it works. Speaking of... I have a post on this very subject entitled, It's not very elegant but sometimes you just have to use brute force: http://goo.gl/9qAk9

Let me know if you find this method useful and also what other tips and tricks have worked for you. Happy blogging err posting!
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23 comments
 
Wouldn't it be much easier to blog with blogger and share to Google+?
 
If this becomes an automatic feature I would drop my personal site and definitely move here.
 
+Vic Gundotra -- yes, you should. :-) And creating a board/notebook feature of Google that star or bookmark G+ posts in a dynamic way with visuals...photos/views would be awesome also.
 
+Bernd Baltz -- in my case, I was hesitant to starting a blog to begin with, in having yet one more thing to manage (website, FB, Twitter, Pinterest, G+ etc.). Since I was already on G+ and really liked how I could do basic formatting, editing posts, etc., that's when I got to thinking that G+ could be an alternative to a blog.
 
That's right. Start on Google+ is much easier than with a "real" blog.
 
+Shawn Handran -- did you ever think of archiving with +Springpad  It's got great features and public and private notebooks. It's social and you can customize your Notebook/boards on there and share the link to the archive on your website.
 
+Margie Hearron -- no I hadn't, I was not familiar with Springpad. Thanks for the suggestion, I will look at it.
 
+Shawn Handran I've been using Springpad for bookmarking for about a year, just tried it with saving a G+ post, seems pretty easy, all my stuff is private, so I haven't poked around with the public feature. Will be interested in what you find out with Springpad. Whole concept of using G+ for blogging is intriguing.
 
Wow nice article +Shawn Handran !
Your Gdrive solution is perfect to keep an index you can use in many ways, such as interlink your G+ posts, or as posts table (when you post a summary of your posts related to a particular topic), etc...
This post makes me closer to my decision.

I hope Google will let tasks, calendars, contacts be visible in our G+, something like WP sidebars: it would be great.

+Margie Hearron : you mean using +Springpad only to archive posts and create a posts index: is it?
Next: how can we maximize this Springpad notes?
 
+Ivan Ferrero  - you click on the notes and they get bigger. You click on fullscreen icon on the photo and the photo will go fullscreen. You can add text to the description at any time. You can tag the notes. You can bulk edit. Try it out. 
 
+Ivan Ferrero -- thanks! The post by +Mike Elgan  generated several other good discussion threads. I'm fascinated by the variety of ways that G+ can be customized and personalized. See Mike's post here to read of some other innovative methods (much more innovative than mine) that came out of this discussion (see the comments section):
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MikeElgan/posts/6SRdoZ8fv47

+Margie Hearron talks about using Springpad on this thread and here also: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108406755709472416416/posts/VxZ7Qesg4ha

And I see you found +Bob Williams 's post already.

Another good one is by +Pierre Johnson , which I reshared here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106008477048439103851/posts/DL1ZuaTcC9z

As you can see, lots of ways to do what you want with G+! 
 
+Pierre Johnson +Shawn Handran I created the hashtag "psychologistinmilan" , then searched my name + this hashtag.
I think it's enough! ;-)

Then I added the link to my profile ( http://goo.gl/tl6TL ).
If you go to the ink I created ( http://goo.gl/z34pY ) then you can see my name and the (mostly) unique hashtag.
I prefer this method because I can make my name appears: it's a brandng matter... ;-)

+Pierre Johnson I like your way to insert different G+ searches in your profile, so that it seems you have many blogs!
I was just wondering how to do it, because I write Italian and English, so that I have to separate my targets...
Can I copy your method? ;-)
 
+Pierre Johnson TNX for the lady method!

I see by adding more hashtags in the search we can have crossposts too.

That's nice: this makes G+ more than a blog.
I think about it as a net, where all points can be interlinked.

It would be great if G+ had a more seamless post search feature...
 
BTW: how do you insert photos in your G+ "blog" posts?
 
glos.si doesn't seem to respect Facebook permissions. I connected my profile to it and it is showing all posts of mine, even not public ones...
 
+Markos Giannopoulos we'll see: I'm looking for a way to streamline my social networks related to my business.

I want to try something else for my website: not the common blog...
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