I have shamefully re-posted this from Robert Scoble, of blogging and Building43 fame. It’s a pretty useful quick guide to getting started in Google Plus as there are no really useful guides out there yet and whilst it shares a lot of similarity to the look of Facebook that can be distracting and misleading as much of the architecture is very different and really rather powerful.
Google Plus could almost be Facebook Version 2 – which you have to think must be heading our way at some point. You can add me on Google Plus here.
Anyhoo, on with Robert’s useful post.
My tips for newer users of Google+:
1. Learn what circles are and how to put people into them. When I first started out I went crazy with circles, opening up something like 20 of them. That wasn’t very smart, it turned out. Now I’m back to seven. Simple ones like “friends, family, coworkers, geeks, VCs, tech press.” Etc.
2. Learn how to distribute content to circles, or public, or certain people. When you post here you don’t need to send it to everyone. You can send it just to people you’ve put in a specific circle, like “friends” or you can send it to a specific person, like me.
2b: Learn not to use your home feed as your main place to visit. Start a circle called “my home circle.” Now when you add people you can add them to multiple circles, but if you don’t want to see someone everyday you can keep them out of your home circle (unfortunately if you follow people they will always be on your actual main feed).
3. Find a few “seed followers” that you like to follow. Then look at who they are following. You’ll find lots more people to follow that way. For instance, I’m following 3,200 geeks, including most of the execs, tech press, VCs, etc. If those kinds of people float your boat, look through my list and pick and choose who you also want to follow.
4. Remember, posts with photos or video do better than just text posts, so see if you can figure out how to get other media in here.
5. If someone gets too noisy, let’s cover how to handle that.
A. Too many posts. Sometimes you’ll follow someone like +Chris Pirillo who posts a lot. What I’ve done with those folks, is put them into a “Noisy buttheads” circle. That way they don’t pollute all your other circles, although they still will show up on your home feed. Feel free to put me in that circle for now.
B. Too many comments on some posts. Some posts will go viral here. It won’t just happen to me. For instance, it might happen to you now that I’ve pushed you into 33,000 people’s view by resharing your post (more on that in a second). If this happens to just one post, you can click the drop-down-menu over to the right of a post and choose “mute.” You’ll never see that post again. This is a good way to get rid of some things that are cluttering up your feed.
C. Consistently high engagement noise (there are already about 50 people who are consistently getting high engagement, folks like me, Trey Ratcliff, Leo Laporte, etc etc) and for us you just need to segregate us into our own circle. Or just put up with that kind of noise (I enjoy engaging in a lot of rapid-fire comments).
6. Turn off email notifications, or learn to filter them with Gmail’s filters. I have turned them off. Too much email, too fast, especially if you get hit by one of the whales here (sorry for hitting you on the first day).
8. Try to talk about something other than Google+. Try to say what you’ll be doing with this. Post something original. Or, start a good debate about something that you care about. Etc. I’m really trying to do this because I’m getting bored with talking about Google+, but I see a lot of new people coming in here, so wanted to write down my thoughts based on my first 13 days.
9. Try using keyboard. J moves down. K moves up. I’m sure there’s others coming.
10. If you use Google Chrome as your browser, there are a bunch of extensions you should try.
11. Learn how resharing works. For instance, I took your original post and reshared it with my audience. Right now that causes some duplication noise (folks following both of us will see your post twice, once from you, once reshared from me) and there will be separate comments under both. Fragmentation is gonna be a problem until Google fixes that here. But resharing is how things are getting very viral. For instance, I just reshared your item with 33,000 people. Now, what if 10% of those reshared it with THEIR audiences? This is why things get crazy very quickly.
Again, huge thanks to Robert for this post – it made my starting out with G+ much simpler. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up Safari and install Chrome but, hey, time will tell.