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August 8, 2011
Google+: I (CIRCLE) You, You (CIRCLE) Me
I have three Facebook accounts. I have one for my liberal family and friends and another for the conservatives. I must keep them separate — or there will be blood! The third account is for following marketers that I find interesting. This means that I either have to log in and out +of my accounts constantly or have three computers on at once. I am lucky in that I have three computers, plus a chair with casters. To the person who actually invented chairs with casters, please accept my most sincere gratitude.

Now with my Google+ account I can keep everyone in one place, but still separate in their own circles. The fun part is naming the circles. I created “Left-Wing Lunatics,” “NRA Members,” and, for the Tea Party segment of my conservative contacts, “The Terrorists.” They’ll never know!

The social aspect of Google+ is relatively easy to pick up rather quickly, even for a beginner like myself. But Google+ — even in its current beta trial — has so many more useful features to explore.

One of the premade circles provided on Google+ is “Following,” which I am using much like my third Facebook account. I can search by name, find another Google+ user, and move him/her into that circle, after which whatever they post shows up in my “stream.” (Guy Kawasaki and I are like best buds, even though he doesn’t know me from Adam.) This is the area of Google+ that is most valuable to me. Content! Original content is shared by the people that I follow, and when they share content from others the +Name link allows me to easily explore new sources of information and add them to my “Following” circle.

“Sparks,” much like Google alerts, allows you to instantly access news and views on whatever topics you choose. I typed in “social media,” “marketing management,” and “gardening” to name just a few, and those streams are accessible with just a click of a button on my home page.

Many of us have been sharing tips on how to use this new social platform. For instance, a photographer friend learned that Picasa is better than Flickr for uploading photos to Google+.  To boldface a word, use quotes (“Word”); to italicize use _Word_. I have already attended two webinars on “Google+ for the Novice” that were extremely informative, but there’s tons of information on the Web that can help you get started. For beginners, Mashable has a great list of 10 Hints for New Users. More advanced users will learn a lot from PCWorld’s 40 Google+ Tips and Tricks for Power Users.

And if you want to know who to follow, or who everyone else is following, Alltop’s Pluserati provides the definitive list.

For now, those of us fortunate enough to get a Google+ account during the periodic openings are having fun learning how to navigate the site and some new technical skills, but many marketers are impatiently waiting for the main event promised by Google after the trial period is over: branded business pages.

I am just happy that I don’t have to constantly roll around my office on the chair with casters.

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Rhonda Wenner is a Very Old Advertising Person who has been there, done that, and seen quite a bit.
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