Social Media Cafe

Image by Cristiano Betta via Flickr

Can you imagine how exited the midlife woman was to be invited AND get in Google+? Thanks to Gera for the invite, my much-anticipated entry was granted. Woo Hoo. Happy Dance. Bartender, a round of drinks for everyone, I’m in! Using Google+ for about a month now, I thought you might enjoy my Journey of Circles and an introduction to a few Google+ 2011 Top Women Bloggers.

The Google+ news from my favorite bloggers – Google+ Cheat Sheet, How to be Less Annoying in Google+, and 50 Bloggers Worth Following on Google+  had me raring to get in. Yet, and in part due to extensive reading and anticipation, my first impression of Google+ was not as expected.  In fact, after a few days of using Google+ I found it rather boring. What’s more, learning this first impression was common among my invites who were less informed bloggers – comments such as “Still trying to figure this out Kathy” and “I’m here, now what?” – was a perplexing parallel to say the least.

About My Circles

I knew Circles were akin to lists. By adding someone to a circle, his or her public activity shows up on your stream. My friend Mrs. Fours pointed out, everyone has the option to share with limits, as in a specific circle or user. In limited sharing cases, unless you have been included in that circle, you will not see those posts. Even still, the more people added to the circles, the more active the stream becomes. That sounds logical, right. Of course being a lurker at heart, I was a bit cautious about adding people to my circles. Why you ask? The last thing I wanted was a “facebook like” stream filled with meaningless shares and crazy notations. No wonder I was bored!

The Social Media – Blogger Circle

Those who write about blogging, social media, and techie type material were certainly the most active group.  Seeing as my “first impressions” originally developed via amazing bloggers – Gera, Jane, Ileane, and Kim – they were the first of the social circle. Instantly my stream was filled with Google+ posts and updates, blogging tips, wordpress information. While this information was grand and most helpful, my interaction was minimal. Most times, giving thanks was my only contribution to the conversation. I really have to get over this cautious, lurking old woman mindset.

The Food Bloggers Circle

Wanting and expecting more from Google+, the search for food and mom bloggers ensued. My first thought was a food blog circle would be quite active. By adding familiar foodies like Joan, I could perhaps safely broaden my circle through their circles. The food bloggers were easily located. However, I quickly learned this was a rather silent group. To date there are 28 in my food blogger circle yet, the “new found” food bloggers, like We Are HungryDUO  and Chef Lee Allison are who keep this circle active. My long time foodie friends rarely participate. Food bloggers have a tight niche nature, however my guess is an influx of foodie activity ensues when Google+ becomes public.

The Mom Blogger Circle

Thanks to my Twitter lists, I added a few socially engaged moms who really kicked up my Google+ stream, making it a more interesting social experience. Not only did these Mom bloggers shared content more often and engaged in conversation. This was the turning point for Google+ enjoyment and my becoming more social.

Increase Those Circles

The middle-aged mindset without doubt added to my cautious approach. However, the patient, steadfast midlife behavior reversed my first impression of Google+. Yes, it took awhile however finally I began reviewing other users’ circles to increase my own. Adding users, both men and women, who shared interesting posts, great recipes, and beautiful photography resulted in an interesting and fun Google+ stream. Aaahhh this was more in tune with my original expectation of Google+!

In addition to the wonderful friends I mentioned thus far, these women presented a new and interesting depth to the Google+ stream. Definitely add these women to your circles and/or rss readers, and visit their websites.

  • Heather Coleman – “Foodie with a passion for education, new urbanism, old homes, and politics.”

 

Shy and cautious in no way to approach Google+, my NEW advice is simple go for it! Immediately improve your Google+ experience by reviewing others circles to make new connections. Participate in conversations and share your great internet finds. Ask and answer questions. Newbies will be appreciative and more active too.

Google+ User Lists are another way to broaden your circles and connections. Here are a few I found to be helpful.

 

Oh and before I go, if you need a Google+ invitation leave a comment with your email and I’ll send you one.

 

Hugs n Smiles

Kathy

 


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