6 Steps You Should Take to Actually Start Using Google+
Many Google+ skeptics out there (myself included) have a tough time getting into the social network because it doesn’t seem like there’s enough content to peruse. Some have gone so far as to liken the site to a ghost town. Contrary to popular belief, Google+ can be extremely useful, and perhaps a welcome change from Facebook; you just need to share valuable content and fill your feed with the content you want to see. Here are 6 steps that will help you actually start using Google+ as the well-designed, useful social network that we know it can be.
1. Mass Add Users to your Circles: The problem for many Google+ users is that it seems like no one else is using the service. Just like with Facebook, you need to connect with a ton of users to extract much value. You can add many users to your circles quickly with the “Find People” option in the “Circles” tab. Drag and drop people into circles while the list regenerates with more users you may know.
2. Follow Publications and Users: Even more so than Facebook, Google+ can act as an RSS feed woven in with the updates from your friends. Chances are the publications you subscribe to and read have a Google+ account that they push their content to; the same goes with public figures and politicians. Soon you can have a news feed with the latest Techcrunch article, sandwiched between an article Rand Fishkin thinks you should read, and a picture taken by your friend at the Washington Monument.
3. Show ‘Explore’ Items on your Homepage: In the same way the last step adds content to your home feed, so will incorporating the trending posts happening elsewhere on Google+. To do this, go to the “Explore” tab and use the slider bar at the top to control how much of this content you want surfaced in your stream. Your feed will now feature the “hot” topics circulating in Google+.
4. Don’t Participate in a Public Hangout: If you already not a fan of Google+, participating in a public hangout may just put you over the edge. While the prospect of video chatting with many random users at once has wonderful exploration and learning potential, chances are it will just creep you out. INSTEAD check out some of the new, quality On Air Hangouts like the Catlin Seaview Survey underwater hangout!
5. Download the Mobile App: As social network usage migrates to mobile, having an app that functions as well as the site is a must. Google+’s app is not only aesthetically logical and appealing, it’s functional and fast; not to mention, it’s head and shoulders above the Facebook app. By comparison, Google+’s app is rated 4 ½ stars to Facebook’s 2 ½. The app also features an “Instant Upload” feature that automatically syncs all of your phone’s pictures and videos with a private album on Google+, where you can then share those photos with your circles.
6. +1 Things: +1 buttons are all over the Internet, allowing you to share content easily through your Google+ account. Sharing a piece of content by +1ing it also tells the Google+ community, and the Google search engine that this piece of information is valuable. When you build a reputation on Google+ as a reliable curator of Web media, you find yourself in more circles, and you become a source for valuable content.
This is a guest post from the Daniel Levine at Grovo.com, a field guide to the Internet where users can learn about everything from how to use Facebook to Gmail help.