Class Schedule: Should I take Google+ or Gym?
Right now America’s brightest minds are contemplating the path to their education future. The road ahead is filled with hope and anxiety. What is the object of their emotional turmoil? The dreaded class schedule. So what are their hopes?
- I hope there’s not a lot of reading.[Sparks]
- I hope there are some beauties to distract me. [Instant Upload]
- I hope I get a good study group. [Circles]
- I hope I can find some guys who are serious about talking Gaga as I am. [Hangout]
- I hope there are some spontaneous girls who want to meet up for Fantasy Football on Sunday. [Huddle]
Whether you get it or not, 47% of Americans are now members of at least one social network compared to 26% in 2008. Google+ (Google Plus) is the new kid in social media class and has huge potential for becoming the spoiler to Mr. Zuckerberg’s big-man-on-(digital)-campus status.
Intro to Google+: The Invite
Let’s start with Google+ orientation. The first step is to receive an invite (most great social events start with an invite). If you don’t have one, I have invites for the first 50 people who give me a shout out (@DigitalWINN) and link to this post on Twitter.
Second, make sure you understand the new Google+ grammar. It’s not really a new language, but it is an “inside Google+ thing.”
Google+ 101: The Basics
Did you know that six out of seven American homes have broadband internet? We are consuming digital media like a mad virus spreading through a grade school cafeteria during flu season.
So instead of spreading your germs, start sharing great content you find across the web. Similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, clicking the “+1″ button on a page or blog post you like shows up in your Google+ stream.
As a student of digital marketing, it is extremely important to understand the significant SEO value of shareable content on a website. The number of times a page/post is “Liked” or “+1’d” now impacts the page rank weight of that page/post according to Google Panda.
Google+ 102: Master Your Settings
The next step in preparing to do well in Google+ is to master your settings. In the top right corner, you will see a silver gear icon. Open this tab to review your settings to make sure you receive the notifications in the manner in which you want to receive them.
The last thing you want is to accidentally share notes (Sparks) with your teacher and be sent to the principal’s office (added to someone’s “shares too much” circle).
Now that you have your settings and notifications set to your preferences, it’s time to expand your circle of influence.
Google+ 103: Creating smarter circles
Google+ Circles is designed around the premise that our lives are segmented in circle of friends. Some circles are exclusive; others can be overlapping. Sometimes you share different levels of details about your life depending on the circle of friends you are with. This is true for sharing in Google+ Circles, too. When creating your Google+ Circles, its important to understand what the four different types of circles are if you want to pass the Google+ test.
- Public- Anyone who has included you in one of their circles or anyone who views your profile, even if they haven’t added you to any circles.
- Your Circles- Everyone who is in at least one of your circles.
- Extended Circles- Everyone who is in a circle of someone in one of your circles.
- Specific Circles- Choose specifically which circles can see the post and which ones can’t.
For extra credit here is a great Guide to Working with Circle in Google+ by @AnsonAlex.
Google+ 104: Instant Uploads, Hangouts and Huddles
It’s no secret that Google’s main weapon for mobile is the Android platform. Google+ flexes its mobile muscle with the new Instant Upload. Similar to what Apple is doing with iCloud, Google+ Instant Upload offers an opt-in “unlimited” photostream with permanent photo archives as opposed to only the most recent 1,000 photos for iCloud. If Facebook is the new photo economy, Instant Uploads is positioning itself as a power broker.
What about Google+ Hangouts? Hangouts is like combining Skype (video chat) with YouTube (video sharing). Google+ users can create a hangout and invite friends to join in the video chat. It provides an instant private group video chat where sharing the funniest and not so funny moments of your life with your best friends is free. Many students may figure out that Hangouts is a great way to have a study video chat without having to leave the dorm room.
Need to form the best study group? Time to Huddle. My daughter is a powerhouse text messenger. Every month she averages over 14,000 individual text messages. Texting has become the primary means of communication for her generation. Google+ Huddles is a product that aims to streamline individual texts into messaging for groups. Rather than sending the same message to 10 different people, Huddles allows user to send one message to an entire group by pressing send just once. (Note: GroupMe and Beluga are other notable players in this space.)
Ready for your Google+ homework assignment?
Your challenge is to connect the digital network of Google+ to inspire new connections in the real world. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Close your computer, and think about a new way to do one of your daily routines, and share your idea with a friend/co-worker. [Spark]
For lunch this week, go for a walk at a nearby park/garden, and stop to soak in the beauty around you. [Instant Upload]
Strike up a conversation with someone new in a place that you frequently visit, and find out what they want to most in life. [Circles]
Invite two of your neighbors over for drinks or coffee/deserts to learn more about each other. [Hangout]
Get together with a few of your closest friends to plan a “smile party” for someone you know who is going through a rough time right now. [Huddle]