As we’ve seen with the recent posts going around, Google+ users are increasing like never before in the history of Social Networks. Some figures say we’ve hit 10 million already!! However, I’ve also seen that after signing up, most new +ers go idle and do not log back in to their account. This is certainly true of the 70% of my friends that have joined the network. Therefore, these massive numbers don’t mean anything if people aren’t actually using the network. This is also evident from the fact that I keep running into the same people in comment threads across the network.
The reasons behind this issue could be:
- 750 million people on the internet use facebook. They are well acquainted with the layout of facebook and hence trying out a new network means a transition with a learning curve. Upon joining Google+ they see an interface which looks similar to facebook in some ways but at the same time they do not immediately see where everything is. They click around for a minute or two and then log off.
- Early adopters of google+ have had a head start and that puts off the new +ers. A friend of mine that joined a couple of days ago saw that I already had 1000 followers. They feel as if the G+ community has already been formed which makes it tougher for them to join in. They don’t know who to follow. I can fully sympathize with them on this because in my opinion this is very much like starting your college one month late. Your classmates that came on time already got the chance to get to know each other and become friends. You on the other hand will feel left out and would need to do something extra to join the circles that have already been formed.
I’m sure there can be many other reasons to explain this issue and they’ll all vary from person to person. But the most important conclusion you can draw from all this is that there is a great need for a Google+ Starter Pack which will allow our new friends to join g+ at a run. That way they can integrate into the already massive g+ community as smoothly as possible and contribute to it as eagerly as the rest of us.
I’ve attempted to create such a starter pack for the benefit of e-mankind regardless of their background in social media. It is important to realize here that the starter pack should be concise, clear and very simple to use. Otherwise, too much reading will add to the learning curve that we’re trying to reduce here. So here it goes:
Dear Fellow +ers,
Hello and Welcome to the next sensational product on the internet! Google+ is packed with features to make your online social experience more enjoyable and manageable. This Starter Pack is designed to make you feel right at home with your new g+ social account. The guide is divided into five main sections:
Structure of G+ | Friends on G+ | Privacy | Who to Follow | Invite new Friends
Structure of Google+
When you login to G+ for the first time, you will be brought to the welcome page: http://i.imgur.com/IXYEe.png. At the top of your page you will see 4 buttons next to the Google+ logo. These buttons divide g+ into 4 main parts:
- This page is very similar to your news feed on facebook. On the left you can choose to look at different news feeds (streams) of your friends lists (circles)
- In the left sidebar you will see the Google Talk widget that you can use to chat with your friends. You can do 2-way video calls with it too.
- Again on the left, you will see a block titled Sparks. With sparks you can get interest-based content from the internet through google.
- On the right you can click the green button to start a Hangout. Hangouts allow you to have 10-way group video calls… Yes, you can have a video call with upto 10 people at the same time on google+ all for free!!
- You can share any type of media with the Share Box in the center of the page.
- This section of google+ presents you with photos of you and your friends arranged in a neat and elegant portfolio
- You can create albums here and share them
- All your photos are stored on Google Picasa where you get unlimited storage space
- Your photos are stored and displayed in a very high resolution and quality unlike facebook
- You can edit/tag your photos and add stunning effects to them from within google+
- Your profile page has everything about you
- The page is further divided into 6 sub-sections: Posts, About, Photos, Videos, +1s, Buzz
- Click on the blue Edit Profile button at the top right to begin setting up your profile
- Use the View Profile As field to see how your profile will look to other people depending on your privacy settings
- This section allows you to manage all your online social relationships
- The idea behind circles is that you share different information with different social circles based on your relationship with them in real-life. Google+ circles allow you to build the same relationships online
- In a way, circles are similar to friend lists on facebook but they are far easier to manage
- Create, edit, rename and delete circles from within this section easily
- Select, drag and drop friends into circles according to your preferences
Friends on Google+
- With google+ you don’t need to wait for someone to accept your friend request
- Simply move your mouse over a person’s name and add them to your Circles. Now, whenever that person shares content publicly or directly with you, you will see it in your Stream section.
- If that person also adds you to their circles, then they will see your content in their Steam that you share publicly or with the circle that you've added them to.
- So if someone is following you and you don’t know them, then you need not worry because you don’t have to add them to your circles and they will only see what you share publicly with the whole internet i.e. If you share something with your circles exclusively then they won’t see it.
Privacy on Google+
- Here on g+, your data is your own. You can download all of your content on plus thanks to the Data Liberation offered by google: https://plus.google.com/settings/exportdata
- You don’t need to follow people you don’t know and consequently they will not see information that you share exclusively with your circles or specific people.
Who to follow on Google+
Since g+ is still in field trial, you won’t find all your friends on here... but don’t feel let down by that. The beauty of g+ lies in its community which you can easily be a part of. Here are a bunch of people that you should add to your relevant circles to bring your Stream to life. These +ers share exciting content publicly that will enhance your g+ experience:
- Google+ Team:
- Google+ Tips:
- For LOLs, Giggles and Geekiness:
- Mouthwatering Photography:
How to invite your friends to Google+
- In your Stream section, in the right side-bar you can see the option of sending invites directly to your friends: http://i.imgur.com/PF0c9.png
- If you don’t see the above option, you can send invites indirectly by sending a message from google+ directly to your friend’s Gmail address. Once they get the message, they will be able to join. If they can’t then ask them to try again in a few hours and it will work: http://bit.ly/q7AMRV
That is all you need to know to setup a profile on Google+ and to become an integral part of the social network.
Optionally, if you’re looking for some further excellent #plustips that can fully exploit the power hidden in Google+ then I suggest reading the following posts:
- Google+ for the average facebook user - http://bit.ly/gb_fb
- Circles: Dividing, Nesting and Prioritizing - http://bit.ly/gpcircles
- Use tagline as a status message - http://bit.ly/nBhjaI
- Copy one circle into another circle - http://bit.ly/rh1AuS
I hope that helped you settle right in to the Google+ Community. If you found this guide useful, then please share it with your friends to help them out too.
If you have any questions or need help with any g+ features, please bug me anytime.
Note to fellow veteran +ers:
> Please leave all feedback regarding the starter pack in the original thread here. It’s hard to track comments on posts elsewhere. I will incorporate your suggestions into the starter pack as best as I can.
> If you want to be a part of the “Who to follow on Google+” section or know someone who should be, please leave a comment prefixed with #whotofollow and your suggested category.
> If you want to have your plustips included in the article, please leave a comment prefixed with #plustip and the link to your tip.