What’s the fuss with Google Plus?

If you know me at all, you know I adore social media. If you don’t know me, well, now you know :]

I find the whole aspect of “social networking” absolutely fascinating – when used correctly of course.

I believe that each social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) all have different pros and cons. These sites also have different groups of people who use them (in both the right and wrong ways).

Think back to the days of Myspace.com. I first made my Myspace profile when I was in middle school — way before every middle school-aged teen had a cell phone or one with a camera. This was way before the days of digital cameras in every family as well. I remember I didn’t even have a default profile picture on my Myspace page — for a while it was tennis-star Andy Roddick because, at the time, that was my favorite picture. Myspace came and went pretty fast, never really taking advantage of “networking.” It was mostly younger kids who had profiles and they just used it and abused it for keeping up with gossip and friends.

Facebook was still quiet around this point, and towards the middle/end of high school I found myself making a Facebook account. I don’t even have to go into explanation as to how quickly and successful the site became. I will say, however, that it is used to make new friends, get to know new friends better, creep on … EVERYONE and keep in touch with old friends. As you know, almost everyone and their mother (literally) has a Facebook account and everyone is sharing pretty much everything. It spread like wildfire, almost to the point where many people are beginning to hate the site because of the amount of ridicule the people on the site produce — that will happen anywhere though. Then of course there are the rumors and stories about how businesses can pay Facebook some big $$ to gain access to someone’s private accounts for hiring purposes, etc.

Then came Twitter (my personal favorite). During my freshman year of college I went to a communication seminar up at Progressive Field where public relations professionals spoke to a large group of us about the importance and positive direction of social media. They absolutely ADORED Twitter and could not stop talking it up. At the time, maybe only two of the people in the entire room had an account and they highly encouraged us all to go home and make one immediately. They stressed the importance of staying professional, showing some personality and meeting new people on this network. This all is why it has become my favorite; you don’t have to personally know somebody to follow them or even to converse through Twitter. Better yet, it is so easy to find local professionals in the field you want to pursue. It works as such a plus (and THIS is why I love social networking); you get to become acquainted with people whom you may end up meeting, working with and needing down the road.

OK, so back to the title of my post: What’s the fuss with Google Plus? (G+)

Think about Google.com … powerful, the best and most used search engine online, growing in talent and abilities, right? OK, now mix that with all of the traits of social media – status updates, picture posting, blog posting, friends and networking.

Google Plus is synced with your Google (gmail) account, which means on your homepage (think Facebook’s homepage), you can access your gmail email account, your calendar, your G+ profile, your G+ account and Google’s search features all while interacting with your friends, or as G+ calls it, your circles and seeing their status updates.

Instead of just accepting or denying every friend request sent, you can pick and choose what “circle” you want each person to go to. The strength of this concept? Hiding stuff you don’t want certain people to see. For instance, your mom gets a G+, simply put her in your “family” circle and when you post your status update about what you did last night, you don’t have to share it with that circle. There are also circles for friends, acquaintances and the option to create your own (i.e. sorority sisters, coworkers, people I hate, etc.) This way, you can pick and choose who can see what on your profile.

Some critics are saying our lives are on social media overload, while this is correct, old ones fade out (example: Myspace) and new ones perfect flaws and step in.

Right now, G+ is on a trial. It is invite-only when it comes to making a profile. Solution? Ask around, find a friend who already has a profile and ask them to send you an invite.

It will definitely be interesting to see where this goes. Google is so powerful and such a smart and capable engine that there can be many great things that come from this new line of social media.

Hope I helped somewhat illustrate this new trend!

Keep cool in this weather! :]

-samantha

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