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To @ or not to @? When and how to name drop in social media

Imagine for a moment that you are at a party, standing in a circle of people and exchanging stories. You start to tell the one about the time your friend John, who is across the room, fell into the lake on a fishing trip.

You have a choice to make. Do you say, quietly, “See that guy over there? That’s John, and one time when we were out fishing…” or do you exclaim while waving him over, “Johnny, come here. We’re talking about your infamous fishing incident…”?

In the cocktail party of social networking, you face this choice every day. When you mention another user, do you write his username, which acts as a tag and a link, or do you just reference him by his real name? Read more

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Google’s +1 button adds sharing ability

The Official Google Blog
Google’s +1 button will soon enable users to share a page directly to their Google+ circles, increasing its ability to drive traffic. Since the button launched in June, it has functioned only within Google Search by highlighting pages you or friends had +1′d. Now it will also function much like the Facebook “Like” button by creating a post in your social network stream. Websites don’t need to do anything special to take advantage of this, but they can modify their page code to specify the headline and description Google+ should use when linking to it. Read more


What Google+ can teach news organizations about innovation and launching products

The launch of Google+ has gone as well as anyone at Google could have hoped. In its first few weeks it passed 10 million users (perhaps 18 million by now) and has a lot of positive buzz. In the news business, we can do more than just cover this as a tech story — we can learn from it.

The business strategy behind Google+ — and the way the company handled the launch — is an example for news organizations to follow. Google is not a news company, of course, and so the parallels I draw here are not perfect. But Google is an information company, and it is trying to building communities and launch new online products just as most news organizations are.

Here are five things Google got right that can translate to the news business. Read more


Google shuts down TV station’s Google+ account

Lost Remote
Missouri TV station KOMU adopted the new Google+ social network early and experimented with using its group video chats (called “Hangouts”) during newscasts. But Google deactivated the account, saying it’s not yet ready for businesses to join the network. A pilot program for business profiles is in the planning stages; one report says business profiles may be open within two months. KOMU New Media Director Jen Reeves and others complain that Google is enforcing its business profile ban unevenly, sometimes leaving one competitor up while taking another down. || Related: News organizations with unofficial profiles can download and back-up their data in case Google deletes them. || Also: What Google+ means for news and what’s missing. Read more


How to set up a virtual writers’ hangout using Google+

Using Google+ Hangouts, writers can now create their own virtual hangouts to carry out writing exercises and converse with others about them.

Author Mary Robinette Kowal says the goal of these writing hangouts is “to have a little bit of socializing to break up the process of creation.” They can also help make the writing process a lot less solitary.

The process for setting up a Google+ hangout is simple:

  • “Put up a post saying that you are going to have a writing date at [x] time OR just spontaneously open a hangout.” [You can install Google Voice and a video plugin for the hangouts here.]
  • “As soon as the hangout is open, place a comment on it that states that it is a writing date and what the parameters are.”
  • “Suggested parameters: ‘We’ll chat for fifteen minutes.
Read more

Google+ accelerates business profiles, as news organizations join early

Google is speeding up its plans to develop an official way for news organizations and other businesses to interact on its Google+ social network. In this early trial phase, Google+ only supports personal profiles for individuals, but many news organizations and other brands (including Poynter) have joined anyway as the network quickly gained momentum with users. Some speculate the network may have 10 million users, heading to 20 million by this weekend. A Google executive now says it will pick partners next week to test official business profiles, while continuing to deactivate the unofficial profiles that have sprung up. “Thousands upon thousands of businesses” have applied to join the trial program, Christian Oestlien wrote. After the trial, business profiles should be open to all later this year. Read more

0 Comments finds that Google+ is great for viral sharing

Inside Breaking News
Cory Bergman of’s Breaking News shares observations from using the new Google+ social network to distribute news. Among the lessons: People love to reshare posts to their friends, even more than they like to comment on them. This is “an early sign of how viral stories can rocket throughout the network,” Bergman writes. On some Google+ posts, Breaking News has seen Facebook-level engagement, despite having just 1/25 the fans as it has on Facebook. Also, unlike Facebook or Twitter, Google+ allows you to edit your posts, which means a news org can update as a story develops rather than having to create multiple posts. || Earlier: 3 missing pieces for Google+ as a news platform. Read more


The 3 missing pieces for Google+ to become an influential news platform

Google’s new social network debuted this week with several new concepts and communications tools, including a potential game-changer for online news called “sparks.”

Sparks are topics that a Google+ user designates an interest in. Google uses sharing activity, +1 recommendations and search algorithms to offer personalized content for each spark.

The home screen of the sparks section, where you can pick some popular topics to follow.

It’s quite different than anything Facebook and Twitter have offered. Sparks don’t just tell you what your friends have read, they tell you what you ought to read. It’s a serendipity engine, and if executed well it could make Google+ an addictive source of news discovery.

But right now, it’s a great idea with imperfect execution. That’s to be expected from a project only a few days into a trial phase and nowhere near finished. Read more


Google+ sparks interest in new system of news discovery

Google’s new social networking service, Google+, creates new ways for people to discover news and other content on the Web.

The Google+ logo.

Google announced the product Tuesday and has opened it to a limited group of initial users. Additional people will be invited over time, as the company tries to build anticipation while working out any bugs.

Although most of us can’t play with Google+ just yet, company representatives have talked with tech blogs about its plans and released screenshots and videos that give a good idea of what’s coming. Each user creates groups of friends, called “circles,” to enable more control over who sees each shared item. And Google+ gives them new communication tools.

What it does

The most interesting aspects for news organizations are the “stream” and “sparks.”

The stream functions a lot like Facebook’s news feed — a flow of information shared by your friends. Read more

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