On Tuesday, I noticed a small plea amongst the posts on my 'fellow bloggers' circle over at G+. What the heck were the numbers at the top of the Google Plus posts and how the heck did one work out circles? There was a response from another which admitted that commenter was also confused. I answered the question in a basic fashion, but realised there was scope to expand and explore this a bit further.
I know that not everyone in Blogville has converted to a G+ profile, or even if they have, make little or no use of the facility provided there. I have written bits and bobs about Google in earlier "etherwobblies" posts and I also know that several of you have good tech skills...or someone on hand to help if not. However, this was interesting enough for me to go ahead with the post. You may need to get a cuppa before we begin...😶
Firstly, let's be clear; whilst G+ can be considered in the 'social media' family of online services, it is not in the same realm as the Phizzog, Chitter, Snaparoo etc., although it does share some cursory similarities. If what you want is to be able to keep up with the gossip and nitter-natter back and for'ard with all and sundry, then continue with those other packages. As bloggers, though, particularly if on the Blogger platform per se, you would do well to update to G+ if you haven't already done so, and familiarise yourself with its main features. "Why?", you are asking… Well, in the settings of your blogs (the 'ratchet' symbol on the left of the dashboard), then again in 'posts, comments and sharing' tab, you will find at the bottom of the page the question as to whether you wish to share the blog to G+ profile, or not… provided you have converted to G+, of course. The main reason you would do this is to improve traffic to the blog. Using the automatic G+ post makes the post Public. Here's where it gets interesting though; if you select 'no' and opt, instead, to post to G+ at your time of choosing, it also means that you can choose whether it is on the Public area of your profile, or only available to one or more of your 'circles'. This is great for those who have sensitivity to security and privacy issues and are shy of 'strangers'.
Once you are on G+, whenever anyone 'plusses' or shares a post, you will be notified and know that they have visited, even if they haven't left a comment. You will see that notification alert on the top right corner of your screen, beside your profile mugshot. (This is assuming you are signed into Google, either on the dashboard or Gmail.) I use the G+ a lot when I don't have time to comment - but if you are not on G+, you may not know I have been sniffing around!
Enough of that, what are the key features YAM?!
PROFILE; if you are on G+ and elect to use it for Blogger, when folk click on your name in a comment you may leave, they will be directed to this page. It is important that you have, at the very least, got the links to your blog listed in the 'About' section, even if you don't wish to share much info about yourself. The reason folk clicked in the first place is that something in your comment interested them and they want to know more, so a little bio is useful and finding your bloggy ought to be easy. There is a LOT of privacy control in G+, so don't be afraid to explore it… but also don't hold back completely, or folk just turn and go away. On the profile page, all the posts linked to your blogs will appear, plus any that you have shared from elsewhere. It is here, too, that you can make a ...
POST directly into G+, such as a photo of the party you are at, or a comment on something topical… or ask a question such as the one in the link above! The figure top right on posts tells you how long since the post was made. It's shown in "h(ours)" until it hits 24 then becomes "d(ays)" until it hits the 7 and then becomes "w(eeks)". If you hover the cursor over the post, you will see that time figure change into two symbols; the square box/arrow will pop out a post to a single page so that you can obtain the URL; the three dots, will bring this drop-down menu of functions. Pinning a post to the top of the page can be useful if you want maximum exposure of a particular post for a while.
COLLECTIONS; you may have a hobby, or pet topic, or a side-line you wish to promote… do this through collections. Possibly you have a regular post on your bloggy ("Flower Friday" for example) which warrants some extra special attention. When you make a collection, it will then go onto the main stream of Collections (see the second tab on the left of the G+ page) where folk who are interested in flower photography may see it and decide to 'follow' you…
Now this post is getting lengthy. Let me leave it there for now and we'll pick this up again next week, discussing circles and whether to follow or not to follow etc. As an exercise, work on your G+ profiles, click through to the Google privacy settings page (at the bottom of the 'about' editing sub-page) and be comfy with that. Click on the 'Home' tab top left of the G+ page and find lots of posts to explore from folk you have followed; check out the Collections tab and see if any catch your interest. Click through to others' profiles and see what they are doing… here's mine for starters… what you see will be what that person has given permission to be seen.