This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

March 6, 2014

The easy way to get started on Google+

If you've recently joined Google+, you may be wondering what you need to do. Circles? Hangouts? Do you need to do these things? Luckily, the answer is no.

I use Google+ every day. I started on it when it was *by invitation only* and, like all software, it was much simpler then. And, like all software, what you need to do is usually only the tiniest fraction of what is there. As a software teacher, I call this *simplifying the workspace*. So here you go:

• Ignore circles. The web is a public place, and as we've all learned on Facebook, whatever is done to protect privacy will go out the window at some point. If you don't want someone out there to ever see that photo of your dog, don't post it. If, on the other hand, you're like me, and think that everyone in the world should see your dog, then keep your settings to public. The web is a public place, like driving down the freeway. You're an adult, you know how to behave.

• Ignore hangouts. If, at some point you feel the need to do video chat with people, it will be there. But right now, ignore it.

• Complete your Google+ profile. Get a decent picture of yourself. Write a short bio (you can probably use most of what you already have on Linkedin). No, you don't have to answer any other questions about if you're looking for a relationship, etc. This isn't a dating site. Here is Brad Hall's Google+ profile.

• Create a business page if you own a business. This is the point where Google+ really starts to shine. Remember that people will be searching Google for your business, so be sure to make it easy for the *Google bots* to index you. My business is drawing cartoons. Here is Brad Hall's Google+ business page for cartoons.  By the way, use a different icon for your business page. I use a cartoon of my famous *Peanut Butter Surfing Guy*. If your face is important to your business, for example if you are an actor, model, real estate agent, etc., then use your face. Otherwise, use something that shows your business. If you trim palm trees, show a palm tree. This will also help you to easily keep your business page posts separate from your personal posts.

• Create a hobby page. Google+ has different options to do this. I used a *business page* to create +Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images , which allows me to share my hobby of collecting old photos of Phoenix. Yeah, it's just for fun, but it keeps me involved with Google+. You can also join, and create, communities. Google+ is a place for people with mutual interests.

That's really all you have to do for now. You don't need to post stuff every day, but you do need to have a presence there.

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