The question that KQED Science Interactive Producer Jenny Oh probably hears the most about Google+ is some iteration of "Why should I spend time on this?"
Oh recently joined us to talk about how she uses Google+ for KQED Science and to answer questions like that from stations. Here are a few reasons why it is worth taking a second look at Google+. It may not be the traffic driver Facebook can be, but it can offer other benefits. Plus, find the recording of the discussion and slides at the end of this post.
1. That Whole Google Thing
Google+ touches most of Google's already existing products. Think Gmail, Blogger, YouTube and oh, yeah - search.
This can lead to many benefits when people search for content you're creating. For example, you can have your photo appear next to an article you've written if you set up Google Authorship on Google+.
Useful links for getting started:
- Google's Google+ for Media presentation
- "What the Plus!" by Guy Kawasaki, plus a free daily tips email newsletter
- What is Google Plus User Guide by Martin Shervington
2. Find people into your topics on communities
Communities launched on Google+ in December 2012. KQED Science found some of the most popular science communities, and joined them to participate in discussions, share articles and find story ideas. You can also create your own communities, and use those to bring together certain people around specific topics and discussions.
Useful communities links:
- Search for relevant communities: plus.google.com/communities
- How Storyful, a news agency that discovers and verifies social media content, uses a Google+ community to work collaboratively with other journalists.
- PDFs of tips on getting started, finding your niche, and a checklist from Google+
3. Want to Hangout?
Hangouts allow for live video discussions that can have a low production cost. They also will automatically record and post to your YouTube channel. It is a great way to connect with the audience or present guests from a story for further conversation, Oh said. But be warned - they do take a little getting used to, so make sure to practice before using them for anything big.
Useful links to learn about Hangouts:
- PDFs from Google with best practices on Hangouts On Air, finding participants, and broadcasting it.
- PBS' Station Products and Innovation Blog shares some Hangout tips.
Bonus: Animated GIFS!
Google+ supports animated GIFs, a popular visual storytelling tool. You also can make easy (but not the best quality) animated GIF-like videos using Google+'s auto awesome feature, one of many free photo editing tools.
Google+ might not be for everyone, but it is worth exploring some of these features for future stories or projects.