Highered: Don’t Jump into Google+ Just Yet

Google+

Little by little, it seems Google is reaching into everything. Their latest project, Google+ brings them back to the social realm after Buzz and Wave were less than game-changers.

What is Google+?

Simply put, Google+ is a social “project”–Google has yet to call it a social network, even though everyone else is. Like Facebook, Google+ allows you to connect with people you know and share content with them. Its stand-out feature is the Circle. Much like Facebook’s friend lists, Circles allow you to connect with people and categorize them by affinity. After adding people to your Circles, you can selectively share content with them. Google+ also offers a video chat feature called Hangouts, as well as incorporation of the “+1” button you’ve likely seen around the web.

Who is Using Google+?

Currently, Google+ is open by invitation-only. The good news: Anyone you know on Google+ can invite you by email. Ask around and you might have an invitation before you know it. My own personal observation is that a lot of people interested in social media are playing around with Google+, and that Gmail users are more likely to jump in than folks on other email platforms.

Should You Be Testing Google+?

By all means, get in there! Play around. Send feedback to Google about your experience. Think of ways to Google+ can enhance your other social media activities. If you need an invitation, feel free to email me at alainag@umflint.edu.

Should Your Department Create a Google+ Profile?

The short answer is no. Not yet. Google is only allowing individuals to create Google+ profiles. A corporate version of Google+ is in the works, but only a handful of companies have been accepted into a trial at this time. Further, non-individual profiles are actively being deleted. If you decide to create a Google+ profile for your department or program, you do so at your own risk. With Google+, just like any social media application, it’s important to strategize–and follow the rules!–before jumping in.

Alaina Wiens
New Media Communications Specialist