Written by Kari Ausloos
Google+ may not be new to the social media scene, but many people (including myself) still haven’t gotten the hang of how or why to use it. I did a little research to learn exactly what is, and to my surprise I actually found it enjoyable to be apart of. For those of you who are still skeptics, here are some interesting features that highlight what Google+ is all about.
To get started, you must have a Google Gmail account to sign up. You then can fill out your profile with a few key details in your tagline, which is a brief description of yourself, and similar information from your other social media networks such as relationship status, occupation and education. You can add a cover photo and profile picture as well. Your profile will display members of your circles and circles you’re a part of.
Circles are probably the most interesting feature on Google+. It is like a combination of adding friends on Facebook and following people on Twitter. You do not need permission to start following anyone on Google+. You put all of your friends, family members, coworkers etc. into different Circles. This gives you more control over who sees your content.
You can create as many circles as you like and add as many people in them as you like. Google+ Circles allows you to share different things with different people. You may want to share a funny picture of your dog to your friends or share a useful link about your company to your professional contacts. Circles are an easy way to have control over who sees what, unlike Twitter where you are forced to share information with all of your friends.
Another fun feature on Google+ is Hangouts. This is a twist on the traditional group video chat. Hangouts allow users to video chat with multiple people in your circles. If you are invited to hang out, a post will appear on your stream or you will get a notification. The most interesting thing about Hangouts is that they are not closed. Anyone in the hangout can add another person to join so there is a chance for you to meet new people.
Other features include the home page, which is very similar to Facebook or Twitter where you can see the newest content that people in your groups have posted. At the top of the page are tabs of each of your circles where you can see their information. There is also an Explore tab that shows what’s trending on Google and a Photo tab that allows you to see photos you have added and have been tagged in. You can also edit photos here and add filters to pictures much like Instagram.
These are only a few of the features that make Google+ different from any other social media network. Go and explore Google+ for yourself and see what it has to offer.