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How do you keep up? Part 5: Google+ Communities

In the past few posts about keeping up, we looked at harnessing social media in the form of portals for sharing slide presentations, we looked at curation sites for current awareness, webinars hosted by practitioners and Pinterest as a new essential for making visual discoveries and organizing what you discover.

Recently, Google+ Communities have found their way into my heart.

The TLChat Community now has around 400 members and our new GlobalTL Community is growing fast with a major project kick-off scheduled for September 18th.  There are many other library focused Google+ Communities.  In fact, you can find one for nearly any other interest, profession or passion.

I set up Google+ Communities for my classes to encourage communication, peer review, reflection and for sharing news, events, and discoveries. They would be a fabulous solution for clubs, committees, your local and state organizations.

So, why bother with yet another social media platform?

Here are twelve reasons why this one is different:

  1. A Google+ post is structured to allows members to share images, links (which embed assets), videos (which usually play live within posts), ask questions, and schedule events.
  2. Google+ Communities are easily launched and joined and set to public or private–you can hide your Community from searches or allow people to find it and ask to join.  Many organizations have both public and private spaces. Private spaces facilitate small group leadership and planning
  3. A Google+ Community provides an immediate platform for asking and answering questions in the form of mini discussion forums.
  4. As a manager of a Community, you can easily create pull-down options for participants to categorize their posts and make more discoverable. (Hashtags within posts also work to make content easier to find. Some hashtags generate spontaneously.)
  5. Community owners can create multiple moderators and owners to share responsibility for their networks.
  6. Members of a community interact with posts by adding comments; sharing a post with other networks or Google Circles or individuals; or +1ing it to promote it.  You can see a list of the folks who interacted with any post.
  7. Google+ Communities play nice with Google+ Hangouts, one of my other favorite ways to network.  When you schedule an event in a post, you can automatically set up a Hangout.
  8. Google+ Communities play nice with Google Circles, so you can focus and customize messages for different groups of members.
  9. If you’re a Google Apps school, you can create Communities within your school account.
  10. They say that Google favors Google+ Communities, and its other products, in search results.  If you choose it to be public, your network’s activity is likely to be more visible in the typical search.
  11. Google+ is intentional.  It is removed from the extraneous personal content and collateral noise that many folks share on Facebook.
  12. Google+ Communities are authentic spaces, heavily adopted by business and major organizations.   National Geographic, for instance, established Exploration as an international community of people who share a joyful sense of adventure, a passion for exploration and discovery, a love of learning, and a desire to make a difference.




Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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