Google+ launched on June 28th, 2011. I personally joined roughly two weeks after on July 14th. Like many others, I have been exploring and figuring out what Google+ is all about. As a person working within the social media space, I wasted no time in diving right in. After aggressively using Google+ for roughly 2 months, here is what I have found to be useful ways to brighten your Google+ stream into an awesome enriching social experience.
Step 1. Find Cool People to Circle
What makes social networks FUN is people. The more people you are connected with on a social network the more FUN you have. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and even the antiquated Myspace would not be FUN if it wasn’t for people. One thing that you have to keep in mind is that Google+ is not like any other social network. If Google+ was just like another social network I don’t think it would have a long term chance of survival, but that’s another story. I have noticed that some people have a difficult time figuring out Google+; specifically, Facebook users. Facebook was built around colleges to connect you to your friends and classmates. Google+ on the other hand, was built around the social web, which gives it more of a public party rather than asking permission to join a party. With that said, if you’re a long time Facebook user, venture out of your circle of friends and start following (circling) people that share the same interest as you.
I have many interests just like any human being. Some of my interests include technology, business, social media, music, art, games, and everything else in between. What is great about Google+ is you can find the most interesting luminaries and experts in any of your interests and follow their posts so you can always be informed of the latest news within that social space. Don’t just circle one person within your interest, circle as many as you can find.
In order to help you find people that share and talk about your interests here is a couple of Google+ directories that I have come across that have been invaluable tools for me. Google+ currently allots 5,000 total people in your circles. There have been talks of Google lifting that ceiling, but until then, you got a lot of circling to do!
- findpeopleonplus – I believe this is one of biggest, if not THE biggest, Google+ directory out on the web. As of this post the directory has 16 Million people and you can simply type your interest like “Felting” in the search box to find people that Felt! By the way, there is currently 1,912 people that felt in that directory.
- http://www.gglpls.com/ – This is another directory that I used. I liked this one because you can click on a tag and it gives you a list of people with that same tag. Naturally, you can search for any tags to find people.
- http://gpeep.com/– This one is brand spanking new. I like this directory because of it’s niche focus of “leaving a pitch or deal” to connect and find social professionals on Google+.
- http://gpc.fm/ – This site is pretty cool because if you go to the “Hall of Fame” section it has a cool mosaic of the top Google+ users. I have found it pretty handy.
- http://www.recommendedusers.com/ – This site has a beautiful, simple, and familiar layout to Google+. It has some basic curated sections to find people and it won’t overwhelm you with too much information. Great for starters.
Step 2. Organize Your Circles
After you have circled a lot of people you want to make sure that your stream is manageable. Once I got a couple hundred people in a circle my stream was updating way too fast for me to keep up. I then decided that I would organize my circles to cater to my needs. According to Dunbar’s number I began to limit 150 people to each of my circles. Miraculously, I found it to be the magical number to allow me to view my stream in a conceivable manner. Each time my circle gets above 150 I go back in and re-circle the people in them. Each time I do this my streams become more focused on my interest. Below is a screen shot of my current circles. It is a perpetual work in progress and I’m sure my circles will change as time goes on.
Step 3. Rinse Lather Repeat
Like I said before, Social Networks are FUN because of the people. Humans have that innate ability to adapt to their surroundings, which means that everything is constantly changing around you. A person that you circled today may one day decide to never come back. An interesting Google+ contributor may one day constantly share the most annoying things. While you are on your path to make your Google+ stream kick ass don’t be lazy about it, after all, you are the only one that sees your streams. Take your time to review and get to know the people you circle. Google+ has allowed me to connect with some brilliant people. It has given me entertainment, education, new friends, and news. Put some elbow grease into your circles and hopefully Google+ will provide exceptional value that no other networks have yet met.
P.S. Don’t forget to circle me +Howard Huang