Adding People to Circles
Circles are the way that Google Plus keeps track of the people you want to follow. When you put someone in a circle, it means two things:
(1) Their updates will now appear in your stream. The default setting on your stream is to see everyone's updates, but you can also choose to just see updates from the people in a particular circle by clicking the name of that circle in the left-hand column.
(2) They can see your posts and updates, provided you chose to share those updates with a circle that includes them.
Bear in mind, a person doesn't need to have you in a circle in order for you to add them to one. They can choose not to see updates from you while still allowing you to see their posts.
Green Means Public, Blue Means Limited
When a post is marked "Public," that means anyone can see it, even people you have never added to any circles. The word "Public" on these posts appears in bright green so it's easy to spot. (Green means Go Out to the Whole World!) If you have decided to only share the post with certain circles, their names will appear underneath the post in blue.
Add Photos, Videos and Links Easily
To add media or links into your Google Plus stream, you can click the photo, video and link buttons like any normal person. OR, you can just find the link or the photo or video you want to post and drag it right into the Share box.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Save Time
Here's a quick rundown of some of the quick keys built in to Google Plus:
Space = Scroll down
Shift and Space = Scroll up
J = scroll down one post
K = scroll up one post
Q = jump directly to chat
Return = Start Comment
Tab and Return = End Comment
When reading any post, just hit Enter to automatically open up the comment box. That ought to save you a few seconds!
Mentioning Specific People
If you want to shoutout someone by name and make sure they see it, you can tag them easily. Just add a "+" or "@" in front of their name and Google Plus will prompt you to tag them. This will alert the person you have tagged that someone has mentioned them, and it will allow anyone who sees the post to hover over their name to get profile details, or add them to a circle.
Send Direct Messages
Google Plus doesn't come with a built-in direct message tool like, say, Twitter, but it's easy enough to make a message private between just you and one other person.
First, start writing a post as you ordinarily would, and just share it with the one person you want to message. Click "Share." Once you have shared the message with that one person, go to the menu on the upper right hand corner of the post and select the "Disable Reshare" option. Now, that person who received your message can't send it to anyone else. BOOM, instant direct message.
Find a Permalink for Any Post
Want to bookmark a specific Google Plus post for later, or just see a whole page of a post and all its comments? Just click on the time stamp on any post. It will take you to a permalink of just that single thread.
How +1's Work
When you're surfing around the Web, you'll see +1 buttons next to a lot of different types of content. Clicking these when you're NOT on Google Plus will cause the links to show up in your stream as shared content. So if you're reading a great blog post and want to share it with your followers, click the +1 button freely.
When you are actually on Google Plus, however, and looking through your friends' shared content, clicking the +1 works differently. It displays underneath that post that you have +1'ed it, and the person who made the post will see it. But it does not add that posted item to your own stream, or send it out to your followers.
You can share things you find on Google Plus with your followers or individual circles, but for that, you have the click the Share button, not +1.
If you +1'ed or added a comment to a post, you'll then get notified every time someone else comments on that post. As well, it continually will show up at the top of your stream, because Google considers each comment "new activity" on that post.
This can get tiresome after a while, especially if the original poster was someone with a large following who gets a lot of comments. If you've grown weary of seeing the same post over and over again, just go to the upper-right hand corner menu and choose "Mute This Post." This will tell Google Plus to stop bugging you with it even when there's new activity.
If you're tired of seeing the same post pop up repeatedly, just click on the menu in the upper right hand corner of the post, and select "Mute this Post." That will prevent your ever seeing this post in your stream or notifications bar again.
Simple Codes to Format Your Text
*Word* will put a word in boldface
_Word_ will put the word in italics
See Who Is Shared on a Post
Sometimes, you will notice the word "Limited" on posts from your friends. This means that they have chosen to share the post with some of their circles - and you're in one of those circles - but not with everybody.
By clicking on the word "Limited," you'll bring up a list of all the other people who can see this post. Enjoy the fun of knowing that you were included on something that not everyone else can see, and that these other people are your collaborators! Hooray for cliques!
Customize Your Profile
Google Plus has all the usual ways to customize your profile - adding photos, entering a bio and links, a section for "bragging rights," and so on. There is also a unique ability, however, to just customize your profile for certain other users.
When in "Edit Mode" on your profile, click on any section you want to change. Once there, you'll have the ability to enter new information, and you'll also see a menu reading "Anyone on the Web." Clicking this drop-down will allow you to select who you'd like to see this profile change - anyone, just members of certain circles, or even individual people. Then complete your update as you would any other change to Google Plus and click "Save." Then click "Done Editing" at the top of your profile and it's finished.
View How Others See Your Profile
When on your profile page, it's easy to take a look at how someone else would see you. There's a box next to the top navigation bar reading "View profile as..." Typing in another user's name will show you how that person sees your profile. If you have made any specific changes or customizations for that person, they will show up.
Who Can See Your Circles
Part of what makes the Google Plus circles system work is that no one can see which people you have added to which circle. So you can add people to just the groups that you want without having to worry about hurting their feelings or being too forward. To repeat, other people can see you have added them to A CIRCLE but they won't ever know which circle - what it's called, who else is in it, etc.
Normally, your profile page contains a list of all the people you have added to any circles. This information is considered generally "public knowledge" in the system and is shared frequently. It's very simple, however, to change that, and keep the other people you have added into circles entirely private.
To do this, go to the "Edit Profile" page. In the left-hand column, find the section marked "In
circles." ( will be your name). You'll see a number (the total people you've added to circles) and a globe icon. Click the globe.
This will bring up a box to let you customize who can see information about your circles, and what they can see. Unselecting the top box will make information about who's in your circles totally private. Checking it will allow you to share this information only with people in certain circles. You can also disallow anyone from seeing the other users who have added you to circles.
Add and Import Friends
So now you're pretty adjusted to how Google Plus works. But you need more friends!
Going to your main Circles page will bring up three tabs. Click the tab marked "Find and Invite" to expand your community. This will suggest people for you to follow based on who your friends and connections are already following. You can also automatically import your contact lists from Yahoo or Hotmail.
Notably missing from this list? Of course, it's Facebook. There have been numerous workarounds already proposed for bringing your Facebook contact list into Google Plus. There are a few Firefox and Google Chrome extensions, for example, that will do the job, including Facebook Friend Exporter for Chrome. It's also possible to export your Facebook friends directly to Yahoo Contacts, and then move this list over from Yahoo into Google Plus.
Get a Custom Short URL to Your Profile
Getting your own name or another short, customized URL that leads right to your Google Plus profile can be helpful. It makes your profile easier to remember and find, and it's also neater when sharing your profile through other social media services (like Twitter).
To sign up for one, just go to Google Plus Nick and lock in your chosen nickname. Better hurry...people are sure to be reserving the shortest and easiest to remember names first!
Export Facebook Photos to Picasa
Picasa is a photo storage platform owned by Google (and soon to be renamed "Google Photos"), and once your photos are stored there, it's very easy to share them in Google Plus. To move all of your Facebook photos over, you can use a tool called Move2Picasa. The application takes several hours to complete, but once it's done, all of your photos will have ported from Facebook over to Picasa. (They will still be stored on Facebook.) Unfortunately, you can not select which photos you would like to export - it's an all or nothing deal.
Get Indexed by SocialStatistics
The new site SocialStatistics is keeping track of data on Google Plus usage, and even has a leaderboard of the most popular Google Plus users. If you want to include your account in their system - and have a chance at making it to the leaderboard - go to the site and sign up. (It's right there on the first page.) All you need to do is copy your Google Profile number. This is the long series of digits in the URL of your Google Profile.
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