Posts tagged Google Plus
“Hang in there, creepy guys! She’ll love you some day!”
[Insert ad for Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear here.]
So it’s real: Google+ is open for business–not just with people (using their real names), but with brands as well.
After months of delays, and pulling down the brand pages that first went up, Google has announced that companies, nonprofits, stores, and other organizations can establish pages on the new social network. Now you can +1 all of your favorite brands–once they’ve decided to have a Google+ page, of course. And with Circles, you can organize them in whatever manner you can imagine–just like with the individuals you (presumably) already follow in one form or another.
So now that brands from Angry Birds and the Dallas Cowboys to Save the Children UK and H&M are on Google+, you can find yet another place to interact with your favorite organizations. And those brands have another chance to connect with their customers–and to deal with feedback, good and bad.
What does privacy mean in an age where so many of us share everything in public? If you don’t want everyone to know everything, here are a few things to take a look at:
Geolocating and photos
First, check your camera. As this Webroot post explains, newer cameras include geolocation info in the metadata. If you don’t want people to know where you are, turn that feature off. And if you’ve got a smartphone, for these purposes I’m including that in the category “camera.”
You’ve probably seen your Facebook friends (including me, if you’re friends with me) post status updates about changes to privacy settings. Go look at them again and make sure that what you share is going only to those people you want to see it. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see “Account” with a drop-down arrow. Select “Account Settings” and then go through each of the categories on the left to make sure that you’ve properly limited access to your account. Remember to remove apps you’re not using. Then go back to that drop-down menu and select “Privacy Settings.” If it seems like you’re repeating yourself, that’s okay–it’s good to be thorough. Do this on other sites you use, too. The organization may be a little different, but the overall issue is constant.
One of the circles on Google+ is “Public.” I think it might behoove Google to come up with another label for that circle, because any time you choose “Public” rather than “Friends” or “Acquaintances” or “People who also have lhasa apsos” (or whatever circle names you’ve invented), that post is going to wind up searchable via Google’s main page. What happens in Google+ may not stay in Google+, so don’t select “Public” unless you’re okay with the whole world seeing it. Because they just might.
Geolocation games and services like foursquare and SCVNGR can be a lot of fun, but pay attention to who knows where you are. It’s not that hard to track someone’s movements throughout the day. When that’s not just a pattern but real-time, it’s worth thinking about how much of that you really want to share, and with whom. Remember that kid in junior high who you thought was your friend, but turned out to be the jerk who stole things out of your backpack? Chances are good that many of us still have one of those friends–we just haven’t realized it yet. And do you know everyone they know? It’s not paranoid to keep in mind that you don’t actually know everything about everyone–so why does everyone need to know everything about you?
Start with the idea that it’s possible for people to find you and your words and photos. And then consider how much you want to hand to them directly. It’s a personal choice–just make an informed one.
Photo by Quasimondo, via Flickr.
So, do we like this kid? I’ve gotten an invitation, and am trying it out. So far I’m not sure if I’m posting anything, but I do like the ability to choose my audience–it’s nice to know that I can separate my contacts and target materials to specific “circles.”
Right now I’m finding it a little lonely; I don’t know that many people who have gotten invitations, so I’m not finding a lot of interaction yet. Then again, I had the same “problem” when I first joined Facebook in 2007–and that certainly has solved itself.
One of the things I think is really appealing is the fresh start. I like the history I have on Facebook, but I’m intrigued by the idea of getting to reconceive how I post, organize, and share photos, for example.
Even if Google+ isn’t ready for businesses, there seems to be a lot of potential here. I say we hang out with this kid and see how things shake out.