When Google+ launched during the summer of 2011, it was hailed as the next big social initiative – the website with the ability to dethrone Facebook. But, Google+ seems to missing in the bookmarks folder in many of our computers. Why do members of its bandwagon – which was overflowing in the summer – continue to jump out? And why, as journalism students, should we make an effort to build up a Google+ profile?
Simply put, Google+ is Google’s own social networking service.
It is extremely easy to join and navigate, and doesn’t suddenly change on us like Facebook. All you have to do is sign in with your Google Email account (or create one if you don’t have one), and boom, you can create your new profile. Everything you need to do this is on the main Google page along the top bar. After you log in with your email, you can begin to create your profile. This process is similar to that of Facebook’s – you add a main picture, your basic information (age, location, education, job, etc.) and even photo albums.
But what you can’t ignore is the ability to create “circles” and give them appropriate titles such as “close friends,” “acquaintances,” and “coworkers.” This may not seem too special, but you can select what activity you want the members of each different circle to see. You add someone to your circle by simply searching for them and clicking “Add to Circles.” Usually, the person will add you back. Then, these people appear on your “stream” which is similar to your Facebook news feed and shows up automatically every time you log in.
Journalists who are involved with Google+ have already taken advantage of “circles” by also using the feature called “hanging out” in accordance. Here, you can create a custom video chat room with as many people as you want. Sarah Hill, reporter at KOMU, has already taken advantage of this revolutionary video network. Her 4 p.m. newscast, which started in September, allows viewers to join in from wherever they are to video chat with her about anything they see as newsworthy. This new type of interactive journalism may be the future of journalism.
In addition to these features not found on other networking sits, Google+ has a search system that thoroughly searches over all 40 million users to give you exactly who you want.
Although your Google+ account may be the last thing on your mind to update, it doesn’t hurt to create a profile. Not only are more of your friends, classmates and colleagues on it than you think, but it’s another way to get an online journalism presence. And as a budding journalist, how can you pass up the opportunity to network and promote yourself?
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