Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Google Plus Etiquette – The Do’s and Don’ts

A lot has been written about Google Plus and how people should use it, but in truth it is still a platform many people are still trying to get to grips with. It’s yet to really, fully establish itself (although it does have somewhere in the region of 20 million + users) but Google is tying it in more and more to many of its existing platforms. I personally love it and think it offers some key advantages over platforms such as Facebook andTwitter. Having become quite a big user of the platform i have learnt quite a lot and today i wanted to provide a round up of mine and others view of how to use Google Plus.

Guidelines on Posting Messages

As with any social space the key thing is to be yourself while being mindful of others. Audiences on certain platforms prefer certain types of content and communication methods and Google Plus is no different. If you are posting four or five things within a very short time period then this is going to annoy people. Why? Well, because you will dominate someones stream. This is probably the single quickest way to piss someone off on Google Plus. So avoid this at all costs.

The other big consideration is who you share your posts with. Google Plus is great because it lets you segment the people you share specific posts with. This means you don’t share things that won’t be of interest to certain people in your sphere. Remember if you are going to make your posts public then they will very much be this. Anyone can comment them. If you are tagging people in those posts makes sure you ask them. As they would also get public comments and responses.

A hotly debated feature of Google Plus is the ‘notify people about this post’ feature. If you select this then everyone in your selected circles will be notified. This is ok if it is a post for close friends but i would avoid it for any other audiences. This is another thing that will annoy your followers. You can also turn this feature off by click here.

Do’s: be yourself, share relevant posts with relevant circles, be creative, be respectful

Don’ts: notify every user of new posts, share all posts with all circles, post large number of posts in short succession, don’t be offensive, don’t post private pictures publicly
Guidelines for Re-Sharing

Re-sharing is a slightly trickier affair with accreditations and privacy. If you are re-sharing something that is already in the public domain then it is good practice to tag the post with some like ‘via +originalpostername’ and also provide a comment or opinion. This lets people know why you re-shared it and the original poster know that there stuff is being shared in good faith.

The area where caution is required is when you are considering re-sharing a post by a friend or someone in your circles who have only shared their post with specific audiences. There maybe a reason why they limited the post to certain circles, for example privacy. As a result you don’t want to be re-sharing this publicly as this would then mean anyone could see the post. It is sometimes difficult to remember this but is very important.

Do’s: Consider using +1 rather than a re-share where appropriate, re-share interest posts to interested circles, always accredit the original author

Don’ts: Don’t re-share private posts of others publicly, don’t re-share stuff without accrediting the original author
Etiquette in Hangouts

This really comes from my own experiences of hangouts but might not be applicable to all of them. The first thing is to ensure that you mute your microphone when not talking. This is because background noise can really disrupt a hangout and annoy other users. If you are not actively participating in a hangout you should also make sure you logout. This is because spaces on popular hangouts are limited and someone else can benefit from being involved. Other things include testing your camera and microphone before you login. This video about Google Plus Etiquette as posted by +Katerine Graman rounds it up nicely.

Do’s: Test your cam and microphone before hand, share your ideas, mute your microphone when not talking

Don’ts: Have loud music or noise blasting in the background, but in repeatedly, talk out of context

This feature doesn’t seem to be heavily used yet but i suspect it might do more with the recent changes to Google Local pages. If you have not come across these before it is when someone shares their current location through Google Plus. The FourSquare platform is currently much better at this but anyway the key thing here is to ensure that you only share your location with friends. Not everyone is going to be interested in your movements, especially people who don’t know you.

So as you can see there is nothing here that isn’t common sense. However people do often fall down on the smallest things. The main one i experience is over posting. I have unfollowed a number of people because of this. I could adjust my stream settings but frankly its not something i can be bothered to do for one person. If you want to read some other great posts on this i would recommend checking out JAANA NYSTRÖM’s post, Don’t Feed the Animals posts or Axel Kratel’s. All interesting reads and helped to form the basis of this post.