Google Plus for Non-Believers – Beginner’s Guide
Google Plus for Non-Believers – Beginner’s Guide
Don’t be ashamed of disliking Google Plus, or having no idea whatsoever what’s all the fuss about. Many of us have gone through that same stage of disbelief and skepticism. What is important is that you allow us to introduce this network to you properly – by explaining how to find friends and helping you manage your profile. In this article, we will go over some basics – making your profile appealing and finding who to follow and interact with. Since Google is offering Google plus registration on every corner, we will assume it is easy enough for you to create a profile. The question is – what to do next?
Working on your profile
Ok, you are looking at your blank profile, wondering how it is supposed to look like. Somewhere in the back of your head, a question about your real life friends and their probable absence is ringing, but we will deal with that as soon as we finish dealing with your profile.
Now, what’s the first thing you do after opening a new account? You add a profile picture. Your Google plus profile photo is 250 x 250 px large, so you are clearly visible. The main tip is to make it as interesting as possible, without overdoing it. Try to show who you really are on that picture. Look at these examples of profile photos. None of them is standing stiff, as if the picture was taken for an ID or something. But also, none of them has their drunken photo on their profile either.
Why is this important? Because your profile photo is the first impression people get about you. If your picture is interesting, you are one step closer to being followed.
This is what you use to show what you’re interested in. You profile picture should be you, and on this photo, which is 940 px long and 180 px wide you can let your imagination run free. The only thing you shouldn’t do is leave the default image, because this tells to other people you’re on Google plus for the sake of simply being there and doing nothing.
Fill in as much as you can, and the best thing to do is to fill in all the data, because this is a sign to others they can trust you. Google plus is different from Facebook in the sense that there are more people on Google plus who respect the opinions of others and comment the posts constructively. Show these people you want Google plus to remain a community where people trust each other and tell them who you are. The about section offers you the chance to say a lot about yourself, much more than you can say on other social networks.
Tagline – Describe yourself in a few simple words. You can place your main interests in the tagline.
Introduction – The name says it all – introduce yourself to the world. Tell them something you want them to know about yourself and about what you do, use your favorite quote or maybe even say something unexpected to draw their attention.
Bragging rights – Don’t brag too much. If it is not something really unique and special, consider skipping this section.
Places lived, home and work – You do not have to provide any exact address if you do not feel like it. It is good to provide a way people can contact you for doing business, but for marking the places lived, it is enough to mark the cities. Just create a geographic awareness of your whereabouts, because people often want to connect with those who are in their neighborhood, so to say.
Profile discovery – Make sure your profile is visible in search.
Other profiles – Make sure you link Google plus with other profiles, so that people can find you and engage with you.
Contributor to – Add all the web pages you contributed to in any way. A great feature of Google plus is that you can place as many links as you want in your profile, so use it to promote yourself and your work.
Links – Here you can add anything you want in the form of links leading to your favorites.
The other sections of the profile are something you can really do on your own. Choose which info you want to provide and provide it to your future followers.
Finding people to follow
While explaining this, we will be working with a circle organization model brought to us by Emilie Eggleston, which is quite useful and provides a good foundation for expanding.
Friends – Finally, we face the most common argument offered as an answer to the question: “Why aren’t you using Google Plus?” The argument is that none of the real life friends or family members are using Google Plus, and this makes the network boring. Instead of complaining about it, why don’t you see what great features Google Plus has to offer and introduce these features to friends, family and co-workers? You can use up to 150 Google Plus invitations. Use them to invite friends, family, and relatives. Once you get a grasp of Google Plus, you will stop wondering why you should bother in the first place and start inviting because you will know it is worthwhile. When organizing your circles, you should have separate circles for those you know in real life, like friends, family, co-workers, etc.
Interests – The greatest thing about Google plus is that it offers you the chance to learn all you like about all the things you like. This is what differentiates Google Plus from all the other networks. You can follow anyone and interact with them, as long as they keep their posts public, which most of the people do. Make a separate circle for each of your interests, in order to be able to remain well organized.
Where to find people who share my interests?
This is what Google Plus Search is for. You type in the keywords which pertain to your sphere of interest and use filters to find people, pages, posts, etc. Using hash tags will make it even easier. If you are interested in cats, #caturday tag is perfect for you. You can also see what’s trending on the right hand side, right on your home page.
You can add entire circles as well. People often share certain circles with their friends as well as the public. Many people compile entire lists of shared circles which they found interesting and share it further. You can browse for publicly shared circles in Google Docs.
Some of the people you should follow for tips, tricks and help about Google Plus are:
Your main stream can get clogged if you follow too many people and fail to organize your circles and dose the noise in the right way. The names of the circles and their purpose can vary, but the general suggestion is to allow every post by your friends and family to show up in your main stream. You can include a few other circles you consider relevant enough to be included in the main stream. The rest of the circles should be set to mute (the noise volume can be set by clicking on the streams of different circles and adjusting it in the upper right corner). When you want to see the posts from these other circles which you excluded from the main stream, go to their specific streams.
If you want all your interests in one stream, simply copy all the interest circles into one big separate circle.
Occasionally, you can increase the level of noise of certain circles in the main stream if there is anything specific in those circles you want to follow actively for a certain period of time.
Things to know and valuable features
Now, here is a list of all the features that are considered to be the advantages Google plus offers:
- Posts can be edited after posting.
- The text can be formatted as bold, italic or strikethrough.
- The number of characters is unlimited, so you can even use it as a blog.
- Comments and resharing can be restricted for any of your posts or pictures.
- You can control the volume of posts your main stream receives from different circles, but still see everything if you want to by visiting the stream of each circle.
- Hash tags can be used, which makes browsing the content way easier.
- You can keep track of +1s you give.
- Circles are sharable.
- Chat is extended across all services, and you can select who is allowed to chat with you.
- Downloading of your photos can be locked.
- All photos can be edited by an in-built photo editor.
- Photos can be uploaded from your smartphone via instant upload.
- Hangouts are a great way to communicate. Up to ten people can be included in a video conference and share documents and screens. If the hangouts are public, anyone can watch. Recently, Google even enabled the use of Hangouts for live concerts, with the option of adapting the sound to the type of hangout.
- You can play Google games.
- You can add anyone to your circles and interact with their posts, provided that they are public.
- No ads.
- You can use keyboard shortcuts for easier browsing.
- “/” – to search
- “J/K”- to toggle up/down posts
- <SPACE> – to scroll down
- Shift + Space – to go up the stream
- <ENTER> – to comment
- Tab then Enter to submit comment after posting
- Drag-and-drop feature – post by simply dragging and dropping links, images and videos.
- Control who can tag you.
- Reply to comments, without the need to leave the page you’re on.
This is just the beginning of uncovering the full potential of Google Plus. Once you get to know it, you will love it, because it is the most comprehensive and at the same time easy to use social network which currently exists. Bright future awaits Google Plus, especially because it is a network where people respect and listen to each other and share their thoughts constructively.
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