Google+ people: Who are they? A friend recently commented that the only updates he sees on Google+ are from me and NASA. How can that be if Google+ is the second most popular social media site? Why is the image of Google+ as a virtual ghost town so hard to shake? How can you find active Google+ people and become one yourself?
As with any social network Google+ won't be very interesting if you aren't following people who are active on the site. If you aren't seeing many updates on Google+ you need to circle Google+ people who actually use Google+ now. And if you aren't posting to Google+ because you don't think anyone is out there you may want to try circling some more people first.
Circle and be circled
Maybe you set up a Google+ profile a while back and circled a few people. Maybe those people never really got into Google+. If you aren't seeing enough activity on Google+ it's time to circle some more active Google+ people.
Start with the icon on the left side of the screen that says "Find People." Click on it. There you will see suggestions based on your Gmail contacts and your extended circles (that is, people circled by people in your circles). If your Google+ profile includes school and employment information you will get suggestions based on those too. Clicking on people's names will bring you to their profile pages where you can see how active they are on Google+. If they updated their profile pic in 2011 and haven't don't anything since they shouldn't be a priority for circling.
Do you want Google+ people to circle you back? Make sure that your profile is filled out (including a profile picture) and that you have made a few recent posts to make you look interesting enough to circle. Then be social. Giving +1s and posting substantive comments is a good way to introduce yourself on Google+.
Join a Google+ community
Google+ communities can be created by any user on any topic. Joining a community will be a source of Google+ posts on a topic you find interesting and will make you aware of Google+ people who post interesting content who you might want to add to a circle to follow their posts outside of the community. Also, if you post interesting content and participate in discussions within the community other people may become interested enough to circle you.
Have your friends and followers follow you to Google+
If you get a new address or phone number you let people know. The same should go for a new social media account. Let people on Facebook and Twitter know that you are using Google+. The people who bother to go circle you are likely to be active Google+ people who you can circle back as well.
If you don't want to share an incomprehensible profile url while Google is slowly rolling out custom ones, you can use Gplus.to to turn something like https://plus.google.com/u/0/107662409301731682759/ into something like gplus.to/KimZDale, which is much more memorable.
Circle people who post like it's their job (because it is)
If what you want is content, follow Google+ people that post like it's their job (because it is). More specifically, don't follow people on Google+, follow media sources. Newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, blog communities like ChicagoNow and other media sites post content regularly to Google+. Not sure if your favorite site is on Google+? Type its name in the search box at the top of the screen. Search is very good on Google+. It is the a social media platform run by Google, after all.
If all else fails...
This the second post in a series to help people get started with Google+. The first post was about how you only need one Google+ circle. However, there are good reasons to have more than one Google+ circle. My next Google+ posts will describe how to decide what circles to make.
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