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2012-07-11 Starting With Google Plus

If you want to get started with Google+, here is what I would suggest:

  1. Go on Google+ and work on your profile: add a picture of yourself and mention the topics you are interested in. Surround keywords with *asteriskes* to make them bold. You might say, for example: “I’m a gamer and love to talk about table-top role-playing games (RPG) such as classic D&D from the eighties and computer role-playing games for the Xbox (CRPG) like Skyrim.”
  2. Create a circle for every topic you are interested in. You might create a circle called RPG and another circle called CRPG, for example.
  3. Write a post for each circle. For example, write a short post explaining how you got into role-playing games and share it with your RPG circle; write a short post talking about your current Skyrim character and share it with your CRPG circle.
  4. Find a shared circle with people relevant to your interest. Add them all to your circle. (This only works on a desktop computer. As far as I know, the Google+ mobile clients don’t allow you to do this.) This is where the first few steps pay off: as these people get notified of you circling them, they might check your profile and your posts, trying to figure out which circle to add you to. If your profile is empty and you don’t have any posts up they won’t circle you back and you won’t be seeing their posts in your stream unless they post publically! Examples include the 6d6 Fireball circle (found here) and Harald’s circle.
  5. Post comments, +1 the ones you like, check out the profiles of people making interesting comments, check out the profiles of people leaving a +1 on your posts and comments and keep adding them to your circles if you like what you see.

When posting, try to keep the posts on topic and share them with the appropriate circles only. Check out this flow chart about sharing on Google+.

You’ll find that Google adds “What’s Hot” items to your stream. This sucks! Somewhere in the vicinity of these posts you’ll find a way to adjust how many of these posts you’ll find in your stream. Setting the slider to zero worked for me. ;)

Much later, you might want to install Chrome and check out the “Uncircle Uncircles” and “Uncircle Inactives” add-ons to prune your circles again.

If you have a web cam hooked up to your computer, look out for ConstantCon games via Google+ if that is your thing (it’s not for me).

Update: 2013-10-31 New Google Plus Usage is where I explain how adding a big ton of people to my circles ended up not working for me.

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