Google+: Handy Tips for Newbies

Jumping on the Google+ Bandwagon

 

There's a lot of people out there trying Google+ in the last week or two; I'm one of them, because I really want to see how G+ differs from and will possibly supersede Facebook (at least that's the buzz humming around it.) There's  lot of people migrating to it, and many people are hoping that it will start gaining popularity and phase out Facebook.

Google reports that over 10 million people have signed up for Google + so far.

So far, I like G+ better than Facebook.

I'm still using Facebook, because of the number of contacts I have there who haven't made the switch, but I love the convenience of having G+, Gmail, Google Reader and Google Docs all on one easy to navigate header bar.

I can't really call myself a techie -- I know enough to create a basic website, I'm comfortable with social networking sites,  and I do love me some gadgets. (If anyone has a Nook they're not using, please contact me for my street address, and I will bake you a cake.) My husband works in computers, I have tons of tech-geek friends and I keep myself fairly updated.

This is NOT an all-inclusive guide for the tech-elite; it's a quick tips guide for somewhat-more-then-casual users. There's large guides out there on how to use G+ to get the most out of it. I'm not going to focus on the super-duper fancy tech-wizardry aspects of it; I'm going to cull out tips for users like me, who are comfortable with tech and social networking, but who don't need to know the inner workings of the G+ beast.

 

These are some quick tips for apprentice G+ users.

 

1. If you get long-winded when writing posts, or if you are easily distracted, you can create a Drafts Circle and store your unfinished posts there.  I tried it out, and it was easy.

  • You just create a new Circle, title it  "Drafts" (or whatever you like, but "Sh*t I Didn't Get To Finish Because I Had To Do Something Else" is a little unwieldy).
  • Then you start a post.
  • Oops! Can't finish it now?
  • In the box where you can add the Circle(s) of people you want to share your post with, just delete the Circle(s) (the Friends Circle usually is added automatically by G+) and add your Drafts Circle and hit "Share."
  • When you have time to go back to finish and share the unfinished post, you just go to your Drafts Circle,  hit "View Screen for this Circle" and any unfinished posts will pop up in a box.
  • In the upper right corner of the box, there's an arrow; hit it and a drop-down menu will appear, one option of which will be Edit.
  • You can now finish your post and Share it.

 2. Don't love all the Notifications hitting your in-box if you have a post people are commenting like mad on? You can mute it.

  • On the sidebar on the Home page, go to Notifications and hit it.
  • Then, on each post you see, in the upper right corner there is a little grey arrow.
  • Hit it, and a drop-down menu will offer you a "Mute This Post" option.
  • This will make the whole post disappear, although you can go back and Unmute it at any time.

3. I like bold. I also like italics and strikethrough. You can use these on G+ posts, which makes me mad with joy, since you can't do this on Facebook, unless there's a Super-Sekrit Code I never got the memo about.

_ italic text _ ➜ italic text

* bold text * ➜ bold text

- strikethrough text - ➜ strikethrough text

_*italic bold text*_ ➜ italic bold text

4. Just like in Facebook, you can tag your G+ friends in a post. Just put a @ or a + mark in front of their name.  This creates a link to their profile, and will also let them know you tagged them. So try not to do this, and then trash talk them, because they will KNOW...!

5. If you post something, and you don't want people to be able to comment on it or share it, go to the arrow in the upper right corner of the box, and hit "Disable Comments" and/or "Disable Sharing."

6. My webcam is sporadically on strike, but once I get it fixed, I plan on playing around with the Hangout option, and seeing how it compares to Skype. You can have a video chat with several people -- if anyone has tried it, and has pros and cons to share, please comment!

7. Huddle: My cell phone is old-school, so I can't report on this, but I want to! It's a Google+ Mobile app. It seems like it would be a fantastically logical tool to use to communicate within a group of people: "Where do you want to go eat?" or "Who's bringing which dishes to the family dinner? Again, anyone who's used this feature, please comment and let us know how easy or difficult it is to actually use.

Please comment with any tricks and tips you have discovered that would make apprentice, casual G+ users happy!

I'm not a tech-pro, nor do I play one on TV, so comment on, my friends! Comment like the wind!



I used some tips from Steve Kovach's article "10 Things You Didn't Know Were Possible On Google+"  on the Atlantic website for this article, and also the user-compiled Google + Guide, which is long, and contains many, many tips, some simple and some more explicit for more complex functions. I used the Guide when I was first starting on G+ and it was extremely useful.

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