Getting Started With Google Plus

Setting up your profile on Google plus (g+) is pretty straightforward, but it does take some thought. This is where people will learn a little about you; what you like, what your hobbies are, and what’s important to you. Take your time with it.

Gmail Account

The first thing you need to do is set up a gmail account. This is how Google will communicate with you about changes or updates they’ve made. It is also one place you will be notified of activity on your Google+ account.

Set up Your Gmail Account

Setting up Your Personal Google Plus Profile

Google has made the process of setting up your Google+ profile simple and user friendly. Follow the prompts to set up your profile, but be sure to take your time with the introduction. It’s where you introduce yourself to the world. It’s what others will read when they check your profile. They may read the other interesting tidbits as well like where you’ve worked or lived in the past, but really what’s of most interest to others is your introduction.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Personality: Don’t be afraid to show your personality in the introduction. This isn’t a formal letter or resume so relax and let your true self shine. Feel free to be playful and humorous – if that’s your personality. The idea is to create an introduction that attracts like-minded people so be yourself.
  2. Passion: If you’re passionate about using your power tools to build things talk about it. If you like to garden, bake, or ride ATVs include that. Talk about the things you love to do, read about, or spend time on. Others with similar interests will consider “circling” you, but only if you include your interests in your introduction.
  3. Other Profiles: Off in the right sidebar you’ll see other profiles. This is where you can add a link to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other accounts. One great thing about this is that some people may stumble upon your Google+ profile not knowing who you are, but they may have “seen” you on Pinterest and realize, “Oh, I know this  person.” It’s just one more way in which you can expand your community by connecting with people across various social media platforms.

Set up Your Google Plus Profile

If you want to set up a Google+ business page, you first have to create a personal profile. Click the link above to get started.

Everything about Google plus (g+) is pretty simple and straightforward and I really appreciate. Even managing how my posts are distributed and what I see in my stream is easy. It’s one of the reasons why I find myself getting on Google+ more than any other social networking site.

Control Who Reads Your Posts

When you send out a post you can decide which circle or circles have access to it. Having control over who reads your posts is one of the best things about g+. Your posts can be closed, open or somewhere in between.

Closed posts: A closed post is one where you’ve shared it with a specific person, circle, or set of circles and you’ve locked the post. When you lock a post those who you sent it to will not be able to share the post with others and they won’t be able to mention (+name) it to anyone you haven’t included in the original post.

Open posts: There are different levels of openness on g+, but a totally open post would be one where you’ve shared it publically and with your circles as well as with extended circles. Extended circles are the circles of those in your circles – kind of like friends of friends. These posts are also accessible to anyone who Google’s your name. So, it’s good to keep in mind that open posts are part of what make up your online reputation.

Somewhat open posts: Other posts may be for a specific circle, but if you don’t lock the post then it can be shared with virtually anyone on the Web – so the post may end up becoming a completely open post even if you hadn’t intended for it to be.

Deciding how open or closed your posts are will depend on personal preferences and the goals you have for your online interactions. Having open posts make it easier for new people with similar interests to find and circle you. If you’re building an online business or if you’re simply a naturally social person then having open posts might suit you. Similarly if you tend to be fairly private, you might decide that keeping your posts closed works best for you.

I like to keep most of my posts completely open, but I’m pretty social and I always enjoy meeting new people. There are exceptions though. If I’m sharing pictures of my nieces and nephews or other similarly sensitive information, then I simply lock the post so that only those I intend to see it have access to it.

Now that you know how to create Google+ posts and how to control who has access to your posts, it’s time to learn how to manage what you see in your stream.

Okay, now you know how to create a Google+ post and how to control who has access to your posts. So now it’s time to learn how to manage all of those posts flooding your stream.

Controlling What Ends up in Your Stream

Once you’re circling tens and hundreds of people you might begin to feel a little overwhelmed with the information in your stream. Remember, you will see every post all of those people in your circles create – as long as they’ve posted it publically or to a circle they have you in. This can add up to a lot of posts pretty quickly.

I remember not long after I joined Google+ I found that one particular individual I had circled had a habit of regularly posting a lot of strong-leaning political material – about six posts an hour. Although I agreed with much of what he posted I found that his posts sort of drowned out many of the posts from people in my other circles. I’ve discovered a few ways for dealing effectively with this type of situation.

  1. Adjust the volume: When you’re viewing your Google+ stream you will see your circles listed off to the left. Click on the circle with the “noisy” person is in. You will see the name of that circle appear at the top of your stream. Next to the name of the circle you will see a volume control. Move the control down to reduce the frequency with which you receive posts from that circle.
  2. Create a low-frequency circle: Turning the volume down on the circle that my political friend was in wasn’t a great solution for me because I wanted to hear from others in that circle more regularly. So, I decided to create a low-frequency circle. So I dragged my political friend out of the original circle I had placed him in and dropped him in my new low-frequency circle. I then deleted him from the original circle, went back to my stream and turned the volume down on my low-frequency circle.
  3. Delete the person: Another option is to simply delete the person. People don’t get a notification when you delete them – that’s not to say they might not discover that they’ve been deleted, but there’s a good chance that they may remain blissfully unaware of having been removed from your circles.

Knowing which circle to place fellow g-plussers in can be a dilemma, especially when someone circles you who you’re unfamiliar with. Do you circle them back? If so, what circle should you place them in? Who to circle back and what circle to place them in is another important part of managing what ends up in your stream.

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