4 Easy Steps to Build an Engaging & Educational Google+ Experience

1. Add many people to your circles.
2. Share your thoughts
3. Join communities
4. Engage in conversation.

This simple four step recipe quickly builds engagement in Google+. It helps you connect, share and converse with people you don’t yet know who share your interests. It’s not for helping you stay in touch with friends and family (Facebook), and it’s not for reading and discussing the latest breaking news (Twitter). It’s for doing what Google+ excels at - sharing with, learning from and building connections with others.

The key is to avoid the Google+ ‘ghost town’ syndrome caused by having too few people in your circles. The  trick is to get noticed in all the ‘noise’ so that your feed becomes active and you can start to enjoy the sharing and conversation that follows. It helps to share publicly, as this greatly increases the number of people likely to see your posts, but the most important single factor is the number of people in your circles - the more the merrier!

Here, in a little more detail, are the four steps to help you make a success of your Google+ experience:
1. Add lots of interesting people to your circles and many will reciprocate and add you back.
2. Share your thoughts or post links to the thoughts of others you find interesting.
3. Join communities that interest you. Post in those communities and more people will add you to their circles.
4. Give others feedback and they will reciprocate. Add comments and +1 the posts and comments you enjoy. 

Points 2, 3 and 4 are self explanatory, but point 1 needs elaboration because Google+ makes it much easier to add connections than Facebook or Twitter - provided you know how. To get things started with a bang, add whole circles of people at a time. (Make sure you say a few interesting things in your own posts first so people who check you out find you interesting!) It’s possible to add almost 5000 people quickly using this method! Many people will reciprocate and add you back. Once they see your posts they'll reshare them and more people will start adding you to their circles. You can start pruning your circles later after your following has grown and your stream becomes active. The Chrome extension ‘Circloscope’ lets you identify and uncircle people who are inactive on Google+ or people who haven’t reciprocated your circling.

My three preceding Google+ posts include shared circles of people I’ve gained insights from about 21st century education, one of the interests that brings me to Google+. You can go to my Google+ profile stream to add these circles yourself and immediately gain access to the thoughts of a wide range of interesting educators. You can also find shared circles quickly and easily by simply entering “shared circle” in the Google+ search field. Scan the results and add the circles that interest you. There are other ways of finding Google+ shared circles too. Here is a massive Google spreadsheet of shared circles http://goo.gl/pHjUm covering an extraordinarily wide range of interests.

If you’ve got 150 people in your circles, then Google+ is unlikely to be a satisfying experience. If you’ve got 1500 people in your circles, engagement will build, but why stop there? There’s a world of interesting people on Google+ and Google will let you add up to 5000 people. Join multiple communities, engage in conversation, make connections! You’ll be surprised what you learn and how much fun you can have.
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