I’ve been playing around in Google Plus for several days. I don’t know if someone invited me in (I never really saw an invite, but just noticed the day Google Plus was released my Google Toolbar changed.) I had the “different” toolbar for days before I even realized what it was and why it was different. I immediately set out to understand and build schema, and apparently I sent a mass quantity of invitations as I set up circles, because friends began thanking me for inviting them, and others were bombarding my email asking me to help them get in. I have tried folks, honestly I have tried. But I think the initial response was more than Google was prepared to handle. I gather they are having short spurts daily where more can come in. But honestly I don’t know. I’m not one to read up first either, but instead just dive in and hope to figure it out. Fearless, as I said in my ISTE SIGMS short talk, describes my approach to G+.
Very Similar to other networking tools
The “Home Thread” pretty much reminds me of Twitter and Facebook, though it has a really clean Google interface. Unlike Twitter, but like Facebook and Plurk, the comments/responses are threaded. You can add images, videos, and links there too. This feature is not all that new or different.
The “Circles” feature is nice. Initially everyone that asks to be in my network on G+ goes in the “friends” circle. It’s a default setting I think. But then I realized some I just absolutely did not know. So I put a few in my “Acquaintance” circle. I can use the acquaintance circle as a place to monitor and get to know these people that I’m not sure about it. Once I decide they are a contributing member to my circles, I will move them. It’s a nice circle to “try out” people. At least that is how I am using it. I’ve created circles for SC Educators, Librarians, Geektribe, DEN. SCDEN, Family, SCASL, and more… There is even one for my district and school. I may even create one that is for “students.” When I share something, I can select the circels I want to specifically get what I am sharing. COOL. I definitely think the circles feature has much potential.
Tonight, at the invitation of my sweet friend Joyce Valenza, I tried the Google Plus Hangout feature. Not sure of all the logistics but the potential is astronomical. I will be researching this feature some more, but in our little “hangout” session, I learned this:
- If you have a webcam equipped, your video will show up in the bottom of the main window. (You can however mute it if you are shy.)
- Whoever the dominate speaker is gets top billing video wise. The microphone I suppose determines the dominate speaker. But you can click on asingle person’s video and keep it as the main video. I would rather see who is tallking myself.
- When all speak simultaneously loud enough, the video just switches around (as if hunting for that dominate voice.) Yikes can you envision the passionate ones or the shouting matches?? LOL
- There is the ability to add chat on the side, as well as share a YouTube video. Maybe sooner or later there will be the ability to share other kinds of videos–remember this is still in the developmental stage.
- You can from the “Hangout” window invite circles or individuals up to ten people. (I suppose for an effective hangout, one would create a circle of ten, then launch the hangout and send the circle an invite. Otherwise your default group to share with gets an invite to join you. So I’m heading back to my circles to create one called hangout, and then I can drag the ones I want to hangout with in there and post it to my timeline.)
Obviously there is much more to learn, but it was fun to explore the hangout feature. It was an international hangout tonight too with Joyce Valenza (Springfield, PA), Chris Betcher (Sydney, Australia), Linda Nitsche (Chester Springs, PA , PA), Rob Darrow ( Southern CA), Judy O’Connell (Sydney, Australia), and Jenny Luca (Melbourney, Australia).
Here is a screenshot of our “hangout” this evening, with one sort of written over with words (she didnt want to be showcased sans make-up!!):