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Five Reasons Why I love Google+

I have been using Google+ for while now, and I must say I love it. I am still on facebook, and I haven’t given up Twitter. I spend about the same time on Google+ than I do on facebook whereas I’ve reduced the time I spend on Twitter quite a lot.

Why do I love Google+?

  • I love its circles, In addition to the usual ones like Following, Acquaintances and Friends I’ve got Arts, Photography and Design and Influencers (I guess you could also say “important people who have something to say” but that would be too long). Everytime I come to google+ I can carefully choose what I want to read about, which informations I want to get. This brings me to
  • the amount of interesting stuff presented in a clear and pleasant way. Be it photographies (Aww, how many beautiful shots to look at!), links to interesting blog posts or videos (I’ve just watched a very funny commercial about Learning English).
  • I love hangouts (video conferences with up to 10 people). I’ve been into two of them (both for newbies), and I think we haven’t seen yet all the possibilities they can provide.
  • I love the way Google+ allows me not to have to deal with games (I think games are a really pest on Facebook!)
  • But I not only love Google+ for its way of providing information, I also love it for how it provides ways to communicate. Almost everytime I posted one of my photos or vector pieces I got helpful, encouraging and appreciating comments. I can scroll back in other people’s postings and post my comment half a day later. That may be more difficult with a growing number of users, but there’s always the possibility to click on a person’s profile looking for her posts.
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My first hangout at Google+

I joined Google+ some days ago and yesterday I had my first hangout. It was organised by Debbie Ohi, the blogger at inkygirl.com, and it was a hangout for all those who’ve never been before to a hangout (what’s the verb for that – who’d never hung out?).

It was a fascinating experience. Meanwhile I am used to skype, and I love it, but a hangout with 17 people is a bit different. Debbie was explaining the hangout screen to us, so she was speaking most of the time, and we others listened. But then she asked us to to ask her questions, and the situation reminded me of a classroom full with eager, “teacher, can you tell me” children, speaking all at the same time. So hangouts where you engage in a meaningful discussion would need some structure and discipline.

Actually seeing faces from all over the world is the part which fascinates me most. Of course the variety of dialects and accents is a challenge for a person who learnt English at school as a second language. Some participants spoke very fast so that I could not get very word they said. But in the case of circles meeting regularly I think I would adapt. (or ask to speak slower). Or I could hold a white paper in front of the camera with “Please speak more slowly”…

How the Internet helps me to grow

There are hundreds of blog posts telling you how to use social media and the internet in general for marketing yourself. No, I won’t add to that number with my post here. But I want to share two personal experiences which show how the interwebs helped me to grow.

  1. Skype. Every Sunday at 1pm Berlin time (that is 7am Michigan time) I meet with my dear friend Karen, and we talk to each other via video chat for at least 1 and 1/2 hour. I see her sitting at her computer, holding her cup of coffee in her hand while she sees me drinking a glass of water or some kind of lemonade. It is not only that my understanding of English and the capability to speak it rather fluently has become much better. We are also sharing each other’s culture – me holding a packet of German sweets or other German food in the eye of the camera, she showing me some hand lotion (which actually is also sold in Germany). The distance in miles between us is huge, but the distance between us two people is getting smaller every Sunday.
  2. Facebook. Facebook offers the possibility to found groups, and I am the proud member of a group called “Zazzle family”. Up to now there are only women in this group, and this may be the reason that the atmosphere in this group is friendly, encouraging and full of respect. Okay you might think, that’s nice, but nothing new. There are other places like this on the web. But there’s something to this group which makes it worth mentioning and praising: As you as regular readers of this blog might know I’ve got a shop on Zazzle. I’ve got my range of products with which I felt quite secure. There’s been one thing I’ve never done up to the present day: invitations. We in Germany don’t have that “invitation card industry” , and so I felt unable to create those kind of cards. However, today I took my heart into my hands and did my first one. There it was, and I did not know whether I had done it properly. So I posted it in “Zazzle family” asking for helpful advices.
    And they came! And a lot of encouragement, too, coming from people I’d never met in person, from all over the globe. What a wonderful experience! I am now ready to move on to more invitation cards and maybe try other things as well.
So whenever somebody talks about the internet mentioning the dangers of it and the way it makes people lonesome and unable to socialize I reply with those two experiences. It is not either bad or good, it is definitely both, and to me it has been a blessing.

How to find your way through Facebook newsfeed

I have been using Facebook for quite some time now – joined fan pages, made friends, even joined groups. I found such a lot of interesting information on subjects I am interested in: SEO and blogging, art and creativity, useful utilities, pages of German Universities (just now my university is thinking about the advantages of having a fan page, and so I am doing some research about it).

However I found it difficult to get through all these different newsfeeds, not to mention the various messages about someone who played a game and won something or wanted to win something. Another problem was the timezone – in order to get the relevant information from people living outside of Europe I had to click a few times on the “Older posts” button.

So I was very happy when I found the help for my problems (actually, I found it on the fan page of the Social@Blogging Tracker (I can only recommend this fan page – it is full of important information, and there’s a lively communication going on there): I put up lists. You can put up lists in Facebook like you can do it in Twitter, and so I put up lists for every one of my fields of interest.

I had to invest a bit of time in order to get every friend and every fan page in the right “container”, but now, that the lists are put up and working, I am so happy with it. Now I’ve got the impression that I am able to use facebook according to my needs.

Facebook and Twitter

After rediscovering my Tumblr I am now discovering Facebook and Facebook fan pages. In fact I built a Fan Page called ArtandMusic with the focus in my squidoo pages on art history, artists, composer and music history. But I am also showcasing art blogs, photos of paintings and drawings. Whereas my Tumblr is a rather accidental collection of web pages which are of interest to me, ArtandMusic is to offer bits and pieces to the public which is interested in those two fields. At least, that is my intention, and I hope to be able to deliver.

After this  piece of shameless promotion I want to share some thoughts concerning Facebook and Twitter, and I am very interested in getting your opinion on the subject.

  1. Whereas Twitter is loud and noisy Facebook is some kind of quiet conversation with dear friends. With Twitter you enter a pub, and you know a lot of people, and they are talking. You say “hi”, and there is an exchange of words, some of which are going a bit deeper, but then conversations turn to other subjects.  It is nice, and often you get a lot of interesting information.
  2. I have got the impression that Facebook gives you the chance to “dig deeper”, especially when you are following a fan page (or fanning a page?). You can re-read what somebody said, and you can comment even a day later. One of the fan pages I am a fan of is “The Writing Space“. If you hop over and have a look, you will see what I mean – the pace is much slower, but it goes much deeper than it would be possible with Twitter.

However, this is just my humble opinion. You are invited to join the discussion: Where are the differences between Facebook and Twitter, and what do you prefer and why?