Friday, March 8, 2013

Google Plus....the 'New' Facebook? / The Healthy Writer's Club

With Facebook seemingly facing a new privacy issue at each turn, it's no wonder that people would begin looking for new social media alternatives....and that's where Google Plus comes in.

That was one of the main reasons I started using G-Plus. I was concerned over Facebook's weekly 'privacy tweaks' and the fact that they tracked your browsing habits even when you weren't on your FB page. If I didn't have friends and family so reluctant to try something besides it, I would have cancelled my Facebook account years ago. For me, Google Plus wound up being the best alternative.

In my view, Google Plus is kind of like Twitter on steroids. <Flex!>

You can post a sentence, a paragraph, or even longer. There was a time where I was posting things I would consider "blog worthy" (meaning length-wise) on G-Plus, on a fairly regular basis.

It also allows posting links, pictures and videos. Anything you could post on Facebook, you can post on G-Plus and without all the little annoyances, such as "game spam". Google Plus has games, but all the requests, etc., are relegated to the "games" page and not your main "feed" or "stream".

The concept of "friending" is also easier and makes organizing a snap. Set up a circle, put who you want in there, and only they can see your posts as long as you post to that circle. You can also post "public" for the world (or, in this case, the cyber world) to see or to all your circles at once.

One of the best features is that someone can follow you without you having to follow them back and vice versa. Of course, if you don't want to follow someone who doesn't follow you, the Uncircle Uncirclers extension (for Chrome) can let you know who's not following you back...if it matters that much to you.

The "trick" to using G-Plus, if there is such a thing, is that you should use it as you use Twitter. Sure, pimp your stuff, but also take the time to interact with the people who follow you. That, needless to say, is the "social" aspect of social media. It's not just all about your book, your blog, or your writing. If you don't have time to comment on a post, the "+1" feature lets them know that, at least, you were there. I still look for the nonexistent "+1" button when I see other people's comments on blogs...

There are also a few handy Chrome extensions that can make your G-Plus experience all the easier.

Circle Count gives you more information than you probably want to know about your circles, who follows you, who has shared you in a circle, how many +1s you get, what's your best day and time to post, etc. It's extremely handy if you're interested in all the numbers.

Do Share gives you the ability to write a post, save it, and put it up at a later date and time...even if you're not there.

Facebook Disconnect stops Facebook, as well as third party sites, from tracking your browsing habits. As an added precaution, I log out after any of my rare visits to FB Land.

There's a ton more to G-Plus and, for the sake of brevity, I'm only scratching the surface here. For my money, Google Plus is every bit as viable as Facebook (more so, in my opinion) as a great social media platform.

If you find yourself over on G-Plus, drop by and say hi.

Friday usually means another installment of The Healthy Writer's Club where we post about fitness, eating healthy, working out, etc., from a writer's point of view. Unfortunately I don't have much to report on this week. If anything, I feel as if I took a few steps back as I haven't even been keeping up to date over at MyFitnessPal.

While I'm not discouraged, I'm a bit disappointed in myself and my total lack of motivation. Just this very evening, though, my wife sent me a link to something that really got her energized about eating better and developing some healthier habits. After I watch it, I'll post what I thought about it.

Are you on Google Plus?

If so, how do you think it compares to Facebook?

If you're not on G-Plus, why not?

How are any fitness goals you have coming along?

With that, I'll wish you all a great Friday and an even better weekend.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm on Google+ but I don't interact there much. I think that's just because I'm already stretched to the limit.
Still glad I never joined Facebook.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I joined Google+ this week, and have no idea what I'm doing or why! I get that it's like Facebook, but after that I'm lost!

Damyanti said...

I'm on G+ but somehow it doesn't seem as interactive as twitter, for example. I only post general, public stuff on FB, so privacy issues don't concern me much.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm on G+ but I haven't really explored it much. I'm interested in using it more, but just haven't really had the time to learn another site. Now I'm curious though after reading this, I need to give it more of a try.

Have a good weekend, Mark!

jaybird said...

I'm on Google plus but I haven't got a clue how to use it. I ditched my FB account a little while ago primarily because of the privacy issues (as well as a few other personal issues) Thought I would miss it but I don't, not one bit!

Have a great weekend Mark!

Morgan said...

I always forget about Google+, LOL! I usually link my blog posts on there, but I'm not sure how much traffic it gives me... It really easy and efficient.

Mark Means said...

@Alex: I can understand can be a pretty big time sink if you get sucked in. Since I've been blogging more, my time on G+ has scaled back a bit.

@Annalisa: For me, I found it a lot easier to navigate around than FB ever was. Drop me a line if you need help with anything.

@Damyanti: It does seem that way until you interact with more people. It's sort of like commenting on various blogs. After a while, you start seeing the same people dropping by and leaving comments.

@Julie: It's very easy to get around there, so let me know if you need any help :)

@jaybird: I don't miss Facebook at all. Like I said, if I didn't have friends and family using it, I'd never go there again. Like I've mentioned to others, if you need help there, let me know :)

@Morgan: I (usually) link my posts there and I think it generates some traffic...not a lot of comments, but some and that's o.k. It all depends on how many people have you circled. I think I have around 2300 people who have circled me, but only a few of the bloggers I've circled have circled me's o.k though and that's the nice thing about it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm just getting around to G+ this week. I'm looking forward to exploring what I can do with it, but I haven't found the time.
Fitness plan in plodding along but once it gets warm out I'll do better.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I didn't know that FB tracked you even when you're not on the site. Thanks for telling us. G Plus is really good, I love the circles.

T. Drecker said...

I'm on Google+ but have no idea what it's about. And I've managed to avoid FB so far. With Twitter, a few forums and the blog, I'm already spending more time on the computer than I'd like. I need another me! :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Mark,

Thanks for the info on G+ I joined ages ago, but never really explored all the possibilities. This sounds like something I really need to get involved in, WHEN I find the additional time.

As for fitness. I am happy to see other bloggers/writers into fitness. I had posted many fitness posts throughout the year. I was doing them every other week, but I found it hard to find guest bloggers. So now I do it when I feel the need. With spring coming, I will do another soon.

Don't beat yourself up. You'll get back into it. Living in Florida is awesome. You have the opportunity to get out and power walk, jog, rollerblade, etc. I wish I had that. It's still freezing here in Chicago. BUT I am heading south to Florida next week and will be there for seven weeks. YAY!

What part of FLorida do you live in?

If you need a bit of motivation, I am INSANE about fitness. LOL. When I first started to write I had hibernated and put on over FIFTY pounds. Two years later I shed EIGHTY-FIve. Middle aged and unhealthy is not the wisest choice.

At least your wife is motivated too. That is awesome, you guys could do workouts together. Exercise is a lot more fun if you have a partner.

Eating healthy is a VERY important part too. If you cut down on the refined sugars, bad carbs, and processed foods, the excess weight will fall off.

I could just go on and on.. Sorry about that. LOL.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I need to do more with Google+. I'm still on Facebook but I've pulled a lot of my photos. Too much invasion of privacy there.

Mark Means said...

@Susan: There's quite a bit to it, but the basics are very easy. Like the say, 'Just a few minutes to learn, a lifetime to master'...or something like that :) I hear you on the fitness thing and the warm weather always of luck in that department.

@Sheena: Yes, the circles make organizing very of my favorite things about it. Like I said, that's why I always log out of my account as I leave Facebook, so they can't track me...(puts on tin foil hat)

@T: If you've managed to avoid Facebook, you're already leaps and bounds ahead of the game. G+ is fun but, yeah, it can really suck the time away!

@Michael: Yes -when- you get the time is the key there! I used to be big into fitness and lifted 4-5 times a week. I was never big on watching what I ate, but I really need to start doing that. Seven days down here in Florida? Awesome! I hope the weather is nice for should be. I'm down in Vero Beach, on the east (or Treasure) coast. Your weight loss is inspiring, great job on that and no worries...I always enjoy comments, regardless of length :)

Mark Means said...

@Diane: Yes, that's your best bet as far as Facebook is concerned...get all the info you can OFF of there. I'll have to do a follow up post about all the cool features of G+, like Hangouts and such.

Manzanita said...

A good review on G-Plus. Sounds OK but I'm too stretched to the max. I rarely visit FB and I'm too verbose for twitter. Blogging seems to agree best with my lifestyle.

S.P. Bowers said...

Thanks for the info on G+. I've been wondering about it. I'm not much for social media besides blogs but need to start feeling them out. I joined facebook two years ago solely to talk to one person. When the need for that connection goes away I will be hopping off faster than I can say.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm on Google+ but I haven't used it enough, or much yet . . . still getting used to it . . .I'll have to make a bigger effort there.

Plus, I'm still stuck on facebook because like you, most of my friends and family hang out there.

Mark Means said...

@Manzanita: I think that's my main problem with Twitter, too...I talk too much, lol :) I'm beginning to enjoy blogging much better which explains my lower traffic on G+ these days.

@S.P.: The can be good for connecting with a wider base, if you have the time to put into it. Yeah, cut the cord if you can! :)

@Tyrean: Yeah, doesn't that stink? I've put quite a few things up on FB about moving to G+, but no bites as of yet.

Mark Koopmans said...


I'm on G+, (this is my second time!) and I'm keeping this post for future reference!

I'm good - right now - with Twitter and Blogger and struggle to keep up with these two :)

But, thanks for the info :)

meradeth said...

Good tips on G+. I use it occasionally, but probably ought to more. It really has some strong features!

Mark Means said...

@Mark: Yeah, I know what you mean,I like Twitter, but rarely go there as blogging here and at Wordpress takes up a pretty big chunk of my time. I might do a follow up post, next week, and discuss some of G+'s cool features if I can make it interesting enough.

@meradeth: Thanks and, yes, it does :)

Livia Peterson said...

I'm on Google+, but don't use it that often. I use Facebook a lot because that's how I keep up with my family and friends. I know there are some privacy issues, but they haven't been bothering me. Maybe I should re-consider?

Livia Peterson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. J. Joachim said...

Okay, so I have to tell you, Pinterest is trying to do what FB is doing. Yesterday, I had the worst time declining that they could follow my every move, track my web interactions and leave cookie crumbs at my expense.

The fact is, I have a pin button up on my toolbar (the earlier version that doesn't do all this). I don't want a version that "watches" me on the web. Unfortunately, I may run into trouble with this. Seems I'm getting sporadic errors when I pin, since declining the new button. If it becomes too much of a problem, I will likely delete my pinterest account altogether, because my web activity is none of their darn business! If I want to pin, I'll pin. If I don't, I won't!

Sadly, this will likely have a huge impact on my crochet sites...those postings have done really well on pinterest. Such a bummer they're trying to be such busy bodies!

Thanks for all this extra info on G+...I enjoy it, but don't know a lot of the ins and outs there.

Carol Kilgore said...

I belong to G+ and to FB. I do more on FB because I was there first and I just don't have time to learn something new right now.

Mark Means said...

@Livia: Totally understand and, as I mentioned, that's the only reason I ever log in is for family or friends. I'm not sure as to the extent of their privacy issues, but I'm just not comfortable with them tracking me to "tailor" ads for me.

@M.J: Ah, that stinks. It does sound like they're starting to go the way of FB, which is a shame. I've never used Pintrest and it sounds like some good reasons not to start :(

@Carol: I understand that, too and have a lot of friends (as well as family) say the same thing.

Mel Kinnel said...

I joined G+ when it first started and used it daily at first, but then I slowly forgot to get on since I was so active on everything else. A month or so ago, I got on and noticed there was hardly any activity on my timeline (is that what it's called?). It was like a ghost town which is weird because I circled a ton of writers on there. I went to several of their profiles and found that hadn't posted anything in awhile like me.

Maybe I'll give it a try again and circle some new folks like you who are active.

Jolie du Pre said...

I'm on Facebook and getting sicker and sicker of it by the days. Many of my author friends have received temporary bans for sharing too much. (So Facebook encourages you to share with their share button, and yet, you can get banned for sharing too much.) It hasn't happened to me yet, but if it does, and Facebook gets too crazy, I'll leave Facebook for my other social networking sites - such as Google+. Google+ and Twitter don't do the crap that Facebook does. I don't need a "Big Brother" social networking site.


I hope you do better with exercise next week. I'm disappointed with the way The Healthy Writers Club is going. Ninety five percent of the bloggers don't seem to exercise consistently.

I'm not one of them. Exercise AND writing are both major parts of my life.

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

I'm on G+, but I don't like the lag in communicating through it. The communications would come up in my email before they'd show on the discussion. I do like FB a little bit better, but I don't use my FB for writing interactions too much.

klahanie said...

Hi Mark,

My human is on Google + and we find it slow and ponderous. As for Farcebook...the only good thing about it is that one can read my human's fascinating profile updates.

And Twitter, I constantly forward my blogging friends postings to it. So guess where your post will be in a minute.

Pawsitive wishes, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I never joined Facebook, so I can't say how it compares; I do have a Google+ account, but that's only because I was setting up another Google account and the sign-up process drove me into it. It's just a shell right now.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Robin said...

Thanks for this info on Google+. I have never looked into it. I have a FB account, but I got really fed up with it back in December and just quit it. I didn't destroy the account, but I stopped using it. I needed a break in order to make a decision about it. I do always log out each time I use it. Hopefully that curtails the "tracking." I really don't like all of the crapola that Facebook does... which is part of the reason I left...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

No, I'm not on Google+, and I don't know that I will be. I'm already "on" Facebook and Twitter and pretty much ignore THEM; I don't need the pressure of having to ignore something else. But who knows?

Elise Fallson said...

I'm on G+ too but I interact more with other writers on fb. G+ is where I'll post some of my blog posts but that's about it, there seems to be less interaction on G+ but I think that'll change. I don't like the fb privacy issues so if everyone wants to convert to G+ I'd be fine with that!

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

I think G+ is the place to be. There is so much more you can do on there than FB. I've just recently started using it more and like what it has to offer. I have an FB account but rarely use it- I haven't really ever liked FB. Great post- nice to meet you :)Best

Nick Wilford said...

Well, I now know much more than before about G+. Thanks for the education! I just joined, pretty much by accident while setting up my new phone. Now just need to find the time... I'm on FB but do next to nothing on there, hopefully I can get into this more.

Mark Means said...

@Mel: Thanks for adding me, Mel :) The easiest way to get traffic going is to just find and follow people who interest you. Leave comments and +1s and, eventually, you'll start seeing a bunch more activity. Good luck!

@Jolie: Yep, FB is tres' screwy..another reason I avoid it like the plague. I hope to do much better this week on my exercising's all about priorities for me.

@Nancy: Yes, I know what you mean, but that aspect doesn't bother me as much as my concerns about FB's privacy woes.

@Gary: I mean...Penny...thanks for pinch hitting for Gary and commenting. I'll have to find Gary on Twitter...another place I don't go very much :) Both of you take care and wishing you much pawsperity...

@Golden Eagle: Well, at least you dodged the FB bullet! :)

@Robin: You sound like me in regards to FB and, if you decide to go with G+, look me up :)

@Susan: LOL...I can't argue with that logic :D

@Elise: Once I "branched off" from just following writers, I began to find my stream filling up more and having more interaction. I still follow some of my NaNo pals from two years ago :)

@Rebecca: I couldn't agree more...G+ -is- the place to be. Thanks for dropping by and great meeting you too :)

Mark Means said...

@Nick: Thanks and glad you liked the info. I may try to do a follow up post about some of the other features in the future, so keep your eyes peeled :)

kmckendry said...

I am on Google+ but I haven't used it very much. I didn't realize FB tracked all your browsing history. Thanks for sharing.

Nickie said...

I keep thinking about switching to Google+, but it's so hard to leave FB because, as you pointed out, EVERYONE is on FB. Even my grandmother is on FB!

Their privacy policies do concern me (like photo ownership... yeah, their policy stinks). I'll have to try being a little more active on G+ and see where that takes me.

On the fitness side -- when I'm feeling unmotivated, I remind myself how much better I feel after a solid workout. The workout usually wins :)

michelle said...

I'm on Google+ but have NO IDEA how it really works. My techno-challenged brain doesn't allow for it. But your post has been quite helpful. Now if I go through your explanations step-by-step, then maybe I'll get more use out of G+
I'm also on FB but I haven't posted any photos there. I use FB mainly for "liking" and meeting new writerly friends. I also use it to share book reviews, follow "writerly events" and share new blog posts. That's about it. There are probably loads of other useful features that I'm unaware of.
These sites are great networking tools but also a MAJOR TIME SUCK. I think that time management becomes an issue when you are busy on these sites.

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm on Google +, but aside from my blogs being posted there, I don't interact much. I'm too busy on Twitter and Facebook.

celeste holloway said...

I'm glad you posted about Google plus. I have an account, but I haven't played with it enough to navigate my way around. I do agree with you about FB. It's really getting out of hand and kind of scary. If I didn't have so many distant friends and fam on there, I'd delete my account. I had no idea they still tracked our browsing while we were off the site.

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