Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Insider Tips from a Google+ Early Adapter (and maybe even an invite or two!)

I know a lot of you use Facebook, but I always forget to add things there. I'm getting better about that, but I really prefer Google+. 

Why I like Google +:

I feel they respect your privacy more than Facebook. You have a lot more options about including location services or not and who and how to share items.

Google+ does NOT let companies have Google+ accounts just for PR. In fact, they have already banned some users for trying to spam.

Google+ Circles

On Google+ you create circles of people you know, like this (here's a few of mine):
Parenting/Family (mostly the other Mom bloggers I know)
Random Smart People (eclectic list, from scientists to cartoonists.)

It's really easy to create circles! You just make up names for your circles, and add your contacts.

Cool Stuff You Can Do With Circles

You can Share things! Share with any circle, or several circles, or pick a certain circle (like Writers), open it up and choose just a few people to share something with (like maybe only the Science Fiction writers). 

The top of your Google+ page has icons to post, share links, share photos or even play games! And you only see game updates if you click on the game link, so you don't have annoying invitations to help this person or that person water ten plants

+1 stuff, which is basically the same as 'liking' on Facebook.

Make MORE circles, for special stuff! I created Movie Reviews and Book Reviews circles, for instance, and polled people I know about them. Now, any time I write a review of a movie/book on my blog, I send it to the people who let me know they wanted to be on those lists. That keeps me from spamming the heck out of everyone with stuff they don't really care about.

I'm thinking I might create another circle just for Mac stuff too. Apps, software, iPad tips, Mac shortcuts, stuff like that for the non-windows users in my circles.

Google+ Stuff Only the Cool Kids Know

In your stream, navigate down with j and up with k. You'll go to the next post or comment.

When you comment on a post someone has made, you can use formatting!  
  • To make a word bold, put asterisks around it: *word* becomes word
  • To italicize, put one underline on either side of it: _Name of Book_ becomes Name of Book
  • To strike out something: -stupid thing- becomes stupid thing.
  • To reply to or mention a specific person who is on Google+, try this: 
  • Type + and then the name of that person, for example: +Darth Vader. As you start typing their name, your contacts come up and you can auto-complete with the right name, which becomes a link. So that's cool. Has to be someone you know on Google+. What's even more cool is the linked name (it won't be underlined, btw, just change color), informs them that you mentioned them in a comment!  A friend used this the other day on an author's name and he showed up  in the thread to talk about his book!
There is a little grey arrow to the right of posts. I think it is ridiculously hard to see; don't know why they made it that way. You can mute posts, block people or report abuse if necessary with that. Hopefully, you won't use it much. 

If you want to get blocked by me: Come on to me in a really creepy way (my first block). Continuously post everything from status reports to incredibly common internet memes until you fill up my stream completely (block #2). Make a point to share every little detail publicly when you are sick and have disgusting bodily fluids leaking from every orifice. Yes, this really happened (block #3, of the post only because this was a nice guy whom I can only assume was delirious with fever at the time). 

Otherwise, we're good.

Extra Stuff to Make Google+ Even Better

If you absolutely must have FB: Google+ Facebook* (puts everybody together all in one social place!) Also, make Google+ look like Facebook.

Google+ Ultimate* allows you to +1 from anywhere on the net.

Add Twitter to tweet from your Google+ stream:  Google + Tweet (IE, Chrome, Firefox)

Hang out with friends and record yourselves! Screencast-o-Matic lets you record from your browser on Windows, Mac or Linux with just one click, and it's free for recordings up to 15 minutes long.

If you have an invite and haven't tried Google+ yet, you really should! 

Also, if you need a Google+ invite, leave a comment with your email below this post. Maybe I can hook you up.

*I use Google Chrome as my browser because my boys taught me that it is lightning fast compared to every other one (yes, even Firefox). The * items are Chrome extensions. You can probably find them for other browsers, too, though. 

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