By the time you read these lines I’ll be gone. We just aren’t working out anymore. You make my social media experience an unorganized cluster. I just need a simpler way to manage my digital footprint. Thankfully I have found Google Plus…
My Social Media Footprint
I’m a very busy husband, father and teacher. I do not have a lot of time to spend checking my social media as I once did. At the same time I also did not want to completely disengage from social media. I enjoy reading what my friends and family are up to on Facebook. I love connecting with other educators on Twitter. I hated having two separate social media footprints, and accounts, to manage. Google Plus gives me exactly what I want. One social media account to rule them all…
The Circles of Life
I tended to use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. I would share pictures and information more of a personal nature over there. With G+ I share information of a more professional nature. I rarely crossed over those self drawn lines. But lately those lines have started to blur.
When I first connected with Brad Waid, Drew Minock and Todd Nesloney our relationship was professional. We mostly shared our blogs, professional links and resources. Twitter was our primary social media that we connected on, but Google Plus also played its role. When that all started to change and the 3 started to become my friends I welcomed them into my Facebook Friendom. They were now able to see pictures of me with my family, read more personal updates of my life and connect with me in a way that was both personal and professional. But in order to accomplish this I had to manage 2 separate social media accounts.
With Google Plus Circles I have the ability to separate my personal from my professional, or combine those that fall under multiple categories with one social media account. So Brad can see all of the content that I share with just colleagues and also some of the more personal information that I would only share with friends and family. He, like Drew, Todd and others are in multiple circles of mine. When I share friend content those in my friend circle can see it. When I share colleague content, those in my colleague circle can see it. Those in both circles and see both sets of content.
No More Friend Request Stress
Facebook friend requests have always left me feeling a bit nervous. Most everyone has a Facebook account, including your colleagues from work. When I received a friend request from a work colleague it always felt like a drama creating moment. Deny the request and risk hurting the colleagues feelings. Accept the request and risk sharing too much information with those that you work with.
G+ eliminates the friend request completely. With G+ you add people to one of your own circles. The person being added, or circled as it is called, has the choice to circle you back, or not. When some one circles you and you do not circle them back then all of your public content can be seen by them, but none of the content that you share with your friends, or colleagues, or other circles can be seen. I like this as it adds a Twitter feel to the network. I can circle somebody who may share a lot of resources publicly. There is no pressure for them to circle me back. I can see exactly what I need to see.
However I can take my G+ experience a step further and just add them to a professional circle. This way when I share my own resources I can target a specific group of followers and invite more opportunity for them to interact with my content. G+ allows me to share to as many circles as I want, including all of them if I need to.
So if a colleague, or administrator, circles me, I don’t have to feel any pressure to circle them back and yet they can still access any content that I choose to share publicly. No hard feelings this way and in my opinion everybody gets something out of it.
I also like how I can customize my experience more with G+. There are a lot of amazing communities that have been created around topics that interest me. Some communities are open to the public and allow anybody to join, while others are private and require an invite. The way that G+ organizes these communities and the extra functionality of allowing me to set alerts for each individual community that I belong to is an added bonus. I like being able to receive push alerts for a specific community delivered to my email and mobile device while leaving others for me to check into when I have the time to do so.
Google Plus and GAFE
I’m a huge advocate for teaching students more about digital leadership and responsibility. Social media has to be part of that lesson and I can think of no better platform to teach students on that G+. If you are on a Google Apps for EDU domain you have the ability to create an entire social media walled garden. There is no better way to teach our students than to use the actual tool. With GAFE schools can close G+ down to the outside world and only have it accessible to those that have school GAFE accounts. This gives educators a social media sandbox to train students in. What better place for a student to make a mistake than in their school’s social media sandbox that is monitored by teachers and other learning professionals?
Since G+ is part of Google I now have one account to rule my life. I’m addicted to my Google Calendar (GCal) and when I use one of the best features of G+, Google Hangouts (think Skype but so much better), I can schedule them from either my GCal, or in G+. Either way adds an appointment and a direct link to the Hangout. This keeps me on task, and better organized and only having to remember 1 password.
So Long Facebook
G+ is everything that social media should be. I can use it like Twitter by circling those that share resources, or challenge my thinking. But I get more than 140 characters to interact back with them. I can use it like Facebook and only make content available to my friends and family. And I can use it professionally to share out links to my blog, resources, or other media that I want to have a discussion around. I can do all of this with one platform, that requires only one account.
So today marks the day that I announce on my Facebook page that I will be leaving. I will do what I rarely do and share my professional blog with my friends and family in hopes of convincing them to make the move with me. I hope that all of them do, just as much as I hope that you do as well. The more people who use G+ the better it will become. I hope to circle some of you real soon.