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5 (+1) Cool Things About Google+
By: Christine Geraci
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The subject of Google+ continues to ebb and flow on the stormy sea of digital debate. First, it rose as the welcomed antidote to Facebook. Then, criticisms mounted as people opened accounts but then did nothing with them.
And now, Google+ seems to be back in good graces, now that it’s open to the public, and so many people are ticked off about Facebook’s drastic changes to profiles and news feeds.
You’re likely taking it all in and forming your own opinions, but like the smarty we know you are, you don’t want to bail on Facebook just because people hate change. You want to determine for sure if Google+ is actually going to benefit you, and eventually, your organization.
Just like Facebook, Google+ isn’t perfect (we’ll get to that in a future post). But it does boast some pretty cool, well, “pluses,” that you should experience for yourself:
The +1 stream. You don't have to like a person (or eventually, a company), but you can like something they share. This is why the +1 stream is pretty awesome. Every time you +1 something, it shows up in a list tabbed on your Google + profile, meaning others are able to peruse it at their convenience. It's instant content curation, like your own personal RSS feed of stuff you find awesome. 
Creating your own exclusivity with ease. Circles feel easier to navigate than Facebook lists. You can swiftly curate different information for different people, first by dragging and dropping connections into different circles that only you can name, then simply selecting the circles you wish to share with when you post. Plus, you can post publicly without having to go back and reconfigure custom privacy settings, which is currently an annoying drawback to Facebook’s Subscribe feature.
The ability to edit your posts after you post them. Sounds pretty simple, but after getting so used to the “once you post it, that’s it” mantras of Facebook and Twitter, seeing an “edit post” option (located in the dropdown menu that pops up when you click the arrow to the right of your posts) seems downright ingenious. This should be good news for those who occasionally commit  typos (and except for the occasional cyborg, that’s everyone).
The "nearby" stream. If GPS is activated on your smartphone, you can peruse and connect with the public profiles of folks who reside within close proximity to your location. Finding out what people are up to in your general vicinity can be really entertaining, and you never know, it could even potentially reveal a local business or charitable opportunity.
Hangouts. Being able to see and chat with multiple people on video for free is huge, especially if you telecommute or if your business runs in multiple locations. Another cool thing about hangouts: The person speaking automatically gets to be the "big picture," while the rest of the group hangs out in smaller video screens below.
And one more cool thing about Google+:
It's not Facebook. In all fairness, it's only cool for now. This may change as people get used to the new Facebook and perhaps even discover they like it better. OR, it means that if you’re not currently on Google+, you could be behind the 8-ball. Best to learn to navigate Google + now, so that if and when your online community does show up, you’re ready. Because that would be a cool thing for you, and your organization.

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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