Mike Elgan's post on how to use G+

Cover of "Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters/Stri...
Cover of Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters/Stripes

The Google+ Ghostbuster’s Kit

The biggest downside to Google+ for those who know “The Secret” to using it, is that it’s as addictive as crack. The quantity and quality of content and interaction is overwhelming.

“The Secret” to using Google+ isn’t much of a secret at all. In order to unleash the awesomeness of Google+, you have to... actually use it! (Most of the “ghost town” critics don’t circle, don’t post, don’t comment and then (no surprise!) don’t get it.)

The gateway drug to full Google+ obsession is adding Circles.

Why? Because once you see the content and conversations people are actually having on Google+, you’ll get sucked in, and will want to respond, comment, share and plus-one stuff. You’ll become inspired to post more on your own stream. You’ll get invited into Hangouts. Next thing you know, you’re an addict, attending HIRLs and getting G+ tattoos on your face.

If you think Google+ is a ghost town, then you need my Ghostbusters Kit. Simply do these simple actions, and Google+ will be transformed into the hive of activity that it in fact really is:

Circle. OK, first thing you do is go to this page, circle it, then scroll down to add 10 shared circles that look good to you:


Now circle my League of Extraordinary Circle Friends:


Uncircle. Adding circles is great, but don’t think you’re stuck with anyone you don’t like. When someone repeatedly bores or annoys you, just uncircle them!

Search. What do you love? Travel? Sushi? Cupcakes? Dogs? Politics? Beer? Meditation? Food? Just search for the thing you love in the Google+ search box. After you search you’ll see a menu that says “Everything.” Click on that and choose “People and pages.”  It will give you a list. Just circle everyone on the first three pages of results.

Post. People think that posting is just about sharing. It’s also about attracting other people who are interested in the same things you are. Posting is the best way to meet interesting people on Google+. So post constantly and publicly. Over time, people will find you.

Experiment. Got a blog? Tell your blog readers you’re going to do an experiment. You’re going to move your blog to Google+ for one month. Give them a link to come join you for that month. Just try it and see what happens.

Here’s another experiment. Maintain ambient hangouts. Launch a hangout, invite everybody, then send the link of that hangout to all your family and friends on email, Facebook and Twitter. Leave the hangout running for hours. Try it!

Here's another: Send email from your Google+ stream. To address the email, enter a plus sign, followed by the email address of the recipients (no spaces) into your actual post. They’ll the email just the same, but then the conversation can take place in comments. Try it!

Block. Whenever someone offends, irritates, harasses, or insults you on Google+, just block them. There are 400 million people in the world with Google+ accounts, and there’s no reason why the tiny minority that you interact with should include people you don’t like. Blocking makes Google+ your own place.

Monitor. Always have your stream running on your desktop all day, every day. You can open it in its own tall, skinny browser window, and just let it run. Glance at it while you’re waiting for Microsoft Office to launch, or waiting for files to download or whatever.

Engage. Always take action on stuff. Someone tells you another user is awesome? Circle them! Someone says something interesting? Comment! Someone says something you agree with? Plus-one the comment! Someone posts yet another lame post? Uncircle them!

This Ghostbuster’s Kit will vanquish Google+ ghosts forever.

Please share this post with everyone who doesn’t get Google+, and dare them to use the Kit for one day. Don’t try to convince people that Google+ is awesome. Help them experience it for themselves!

(Pic props to Columbia Pictures)

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