A GeekMom Guide to Google+ Part Three

In Part One of this series, we took a look at Google+ circles. In Part Two, we tackled privacy and profiles. Today let’s talk about the first thing most people want to know when they join a social network: how do I find my friends?

Finding people to follow on Google+

• If you click on your Circles tab, you’ll see a “Find and Invite” tab. I’ve heard varying reports of how useful this feature is at present. For me, it’s been great. The suggested users seem to be a combination of people I know and we have mutual friends who’ve put us both in circles, and names that are new to me but are in fields related to those of people I already follow.

Tip: I created a “New to me” circle which I fill with about 10-12 people at a time. I check in on this circle at least once a day, and if a voice grabs me, I may move that person to a circle I keep up with more often–Following, or Acquaintances (until I know the person better), or one of my topic-themed circles. This has been a fun way to encounter some interesting new writers.

• If you use Gmail, your contacts will be automatically imported to Google+. My Gmail contacts show up at the bottom of that “Find and Invite” window. Yahoo and Hotmail users may import their contacts as well. (You can even import your Facebook contacts via a roundabout route: Facebook to Yahoo to Gmail to Google+. This YouTube clip shows you how.)

Tip: Remember that you can include non-Google+ users in anything you post on G+. Add an email address in the Share window. (This is a great way to include, say, grandparents who’ve been missing out on the photos and hilarious kid quotes you post on Facebook.)

• Search by name, location, or keyword in the new Google Plus Directory.

Tip: Make it easy for friends to find you by filling in your profile page with lots of details! The more you share there, the easier you’ll be to connect with.

• Explore your friends’ circles. Not everyone chooses to display the “who’s in your circles” widget on his or her profile page, but plenty of people do. Visit your friends’ profiles and (if they display the widget) take a gander at whom they’re following. (Don’t worry–no one will ever see the names of anyone else’s circles.)

Tip: Many G+ users are helping other people connect by posting directories on their “About” pages.  For example, on my About page, I share the link of my Kidlitosphere directory: Google+ users who are children’s book & YA writers/illustrators/bloggers/librarians/etc. I’ve also included a list of other people’s G+ directories for homeschoolers, poets, steampunk enthusiasts, and more. Add your name to one of these directories and have fun exploring them for new folks to follow.

• Don’t forget to invite friends the old-fashioned way–drag them along! Look for the little red invitation button in the right-hand sidebar.

While I’m at it, here’s a list of GeekMom writers on Google+:
+Brigid Ashwood, +Natania Barron, +Judy Berna, +Kris Bordessa, +Sophie Brown, +Kathy Ceceri, +Ellen Henderson, +Kay Holt, +“Chaos” Mandy Horetski, +Amy Kraft, +Helene McLaughlin, +Cindy Ortiz, +Sarah Pinault, +Cathe Post, +Kristen Rutherford, +Andrea Schwalm, +Julia Sherred, +Ruth Suehle, +Nicole Wakelin, +Laura Grace Weldon, +Melissa Wiley, +Jenny Williams, +Patricia Vollmer, and don’t forget GeekDad +Ken Denmead!

What other questions do you have about Google+? Click here to read Part Four.