Getting Started With Google Plus

Some folks were asking me what to do once they got into Google+, and so I shot this quick screencast. If you can’t see it, click HERE.

Getting Started at Google+

The VERY first thing I’d do at Google+ is go to the settings gear in the upper right hand corner and work out my privacy settings. Here’s a quick screencast about that:

I recorded this AFTER the screencast below, because I forgot to talk about privacy. Whoops!

Start Connecting

First off, when you start, you won’t have any people in your Circles (which is how Google Plus organizes people), but some people might have already added you. You can click on the “Circles” Tab and that will show you which Circles are prebuilt for you. I renamed all of mine. You can do the same by double-clicking them, then selecting Rename. I did this so that people wouldn’t be put off by terms like “Acquaintance.” Mine have all kinds of weird names like “Keepers” and “Bacon Filchers” and “Attention Getters.” Name them however you want. Your Circles are yours. It’s how you view people’s info coming into you.

The first way I found people to follow was to find who interesting people were following. You can surf around that way, plus you can search for names of people you find interesting. Once you have a few interesting people to follow, Circles grow rather organically.

Add To the Stream

The Stream is the main message section of Google+ and you can add text, pictures, video, links, and place information there. You can choose who you share your information with, which is really cool. For instance, if we were all at SXSW in Austin Texas, instead of annoying all the people who weren’t there, we could just add people to circles for that event, and then only blast to those circles while we’re at that place. (Make sense?) So you can do location-specific and event-specific circle-making (though it takes some effort).

People add all kinds of things. I see lots more photos on here. I see more animated Gifs, which can be interesting or annoying, but they certainly do feel different than the stream of text in Twitter.

Have Conversations

Commenting is really popular here. It’s great to have conversations inside Hangout, the live video system, as well as in the comments section of various posts. That’s something I think is much better served here than on most other platforms. Yes, you can do it in Facebook, and maybe it’s just the newness of the place, but I think the value of the conversations is much better in Google+ right now than elsewhere.

Any Questions?

Did I miss covering something you’re curious about?

Oh, and if you want to connect with me on Google Plus, I’m right here. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Daniele

    Do you think it’s a litte Facebook without “playing around”?

    • Chris Brogan

      I *hope* it is, but we’ll see how it evolves. 

  • Graham Lutz

    I really like how you don’t have to go to someone else’s “page” in order to talk to them.  You post on your own stream as if you’re posting a FB “status” but tag just the person you’re posting to.

  • ajleon

    Thanks for the screencasts, bud. :)

    • Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. Hope you’re doing well. : ) 

  • Steven Aitchison

    Hi Chris, thanks for this.  I actually just signed up for it a few hours ago, and then I noticed your post.  Looks like a good platform for connecting.  Thanks for the videos.

  • Pepe Fanjul

    This was really helpful – I had been wondering what to do with Google Plus (if anything) – now I understand what it can do.

  • Rick Manelius

    So when is google+ going to hire you as the official concierge? :) You’ve probably done more to promote and help people through their product than their own employees!

    Thanks so much for the quick overview on notifications/privacy settings. I just jumped on google+ a day ago and woke up with 15+ emails telling me about things totally unrelated to me. So it’s nice to know exactly where to tweak all that. I also didn’t know about the profile being searchable. Also great to know.

    Looking forward to more tutorials if you’re going to make them! 

    • Chris Brogan

      There’s a method to my madness, Rick. I don’t want them to hire me. I want huge companies to hire me, realizing that I know how to onramp them on for business value. : ) 

      • Rick Manelius

        I agree. Being ‘the go to guy’ who knows how to make things happen is a great position to be in. And clearly I was joking about getting them to hire you. But you’ve done a excellent job in getting others to maximize use of THEIR product. If they did as good a job, it would be doing even better.

        I probably learn just as much from what you say as I do from carefully observing what you do… So don’t worry, I enjoy learning from your madness! :)

        • Chris Brogan

          They did hire me once (Google), but I’m not sure I’ll go back too often for money. : ) 

  • Steve

    I’m going to give it another try and see if they have opened it up again.

  • Maureen

    Great tips!

    I can add a bit of info:  the names you assign to your circles are kept private so there are no worries about causing offence. You can be inventive – give a circle any name you want to!

    • Chris Brogan

      And I am. : ) Mine are named things like “Bacon Filchers” and “keepers.” 

      • Corey Bulock

        Yeah I really like the post as a whole! I want to retweet it but I don’t want my followers to be confused about the circles privacy because that is a huge important part of Google Plus.  If you edit that I’d love to retweet it!  But the circles definitely are private :)

        • Concerned

          I would be careful about the word “private” with anything to do with the Internet.  Google has been busted sniffing our wireless networks from their little camera cars…what makes you think they don’t have access to everything you post?

  • Jeff Carter

    Very helpful, thanks!

  • Jelena

    As I could see, Google +  looks like en “mix” of best things from Facebook , Twitter and other sites ,with an possibility of selection. That is what make Google + ,for now better then other and I’m interesting what will come more.
    Thank you for your time.
    Btw, conversation is basic of social life and most important.

    • Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Jelena. :) 

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  • Nancy Davis

    I have what may be a silly question. Can you add someone to more than one circle? I am still playing around and figuring everything out. It seems easier to use than Facebook which is good.

    • James Thoenes

      Yes you can have someone in several circles or even all of them.

    • Chris Brogan


  • Faithful_Mommie

    My concern is privacy. I mean if I am only using it for business that is not so bad…however, for a personal account the privacy is not very good from what I was able to see…

    • Chris Brogan

      You can dial down privacy very tightly, and choose where you send what information. It’s very nuanced and it’s up to you to pluck through the settings. Then, it’s up to you to choose who to send to and who NOT to. It’s much more private than any other social network I’ve used thus far. 

  • Matt Smith

    I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with Google+.  Just waiting for my invite to come through!  Does anyone know when Google plans to run with Google+ on a mass scale?

    • Chris Brogan

      They’re rolling slowly. It’ll happen. : ) 

  • Jeff McRitchie

    Awesome article! Thanks for all the information.

    • Alan Hope

      Some of it is nonsense.

      • Chris Brogan

        Maybe most of it is. :) 

    • Alan Hope

      Some of it is nonsense.

  • Rachel Blaufeld

    thanks so much!  It is weird that you can add people who are in google but not registered G+ users yet to circles? Would love a little tidbit on that….

    Now – just need to find a little extra time to make profile!  Rachel

    • Chris Brogan

      10 minutes. Jump in. : ) 

      ANd it’s a bit weird that you can do it. I’d just wait. They’ll be there shortly. 

  • Rachel Blaufeld

    thanks so much!  It is weird that you can add people who are in google but not registered G+ users yet to circles? Would love a little tidbit on that….

    Now – just need to find a little extra time to make profile!  Rachel

  • Paul

    “I did this so that people wouldn’t be put off by terms like “Acquaintance.”” 
    “The names of your circles and who you add to them are visible only to you, though you can set whether the list of people in all of your circles is visible in your public profile.”

    Yeah we know you want to get this on the net to raise your profile, but you really need to be accurate.

    • Chris Brogan


    • Chris Brogan


      • Nikki

        Well for one no one but you can see what you name your circles. So please correct it so we don’t have mishaps because someone confuses names of circles. We don’t need another facebook type firing because the wrong person can read your post.

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  • Kit Hieronymus

    Chris, thanks for the updates, but I’m feeling left out, because only the cool guys were invited to play. Guess I will have to refer back to all your posts when the “rest of us” are invited.  :-)

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  • Shawn Bowen

    can someone invite me?

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  • Alexander Irving

    Don’t forget to find a way to re-enlist the posts you are doing on G+ for those of us who haven’t as yet been included or invited. I am saving mine as a bookmark where I think I will find it, but do you know how many bookmarks I have of good stuff I mean to get back to and don’t because there’s so much other good stuff coming down the pike? :-)

    Thanks for your good stuff Chris :-)

    Alexander Irving

  • Ellie

    Does Google Plus allow us to attach a Word file to a post? That’s a limitation of Facebook that particularly frustrated me today. From the quick view during your screen cast (BTW…How do you do that?) it looked like there were the same options as Facebook – photo, video, external link. Also – if you delete a post by mistake (assuming you can delete a post) can you retrieve it? Can’t do it on FB.

    Thanks for being our advance reviewer on this, Chris. I wasn’t jumping with excitement so quickly, but the more you’re sharing, the more interested I’m becoming.

    • Chris Brogan

      No, you can’t attach a word file. In fact, I don’t think you can in most any social network. Why would you want to, I wonder? 

      You can’t retrieve a deleted post, no. 

      Happy to help and I’m glad that you’re interested. 

      I did the screencast with ScreenFlow. (affiliate link) for a Mac. 

      • Ellie

        Thanks for your reply, Chris. To answer your question about ‘why a Word file’ (I could have said pdf) — just as I share links to outside info with a gathered social media community, sometimes I’d like to share a relevant internal piece of content where it would be useful.

        I can share it in social media if it was previously uploaded to YouTube, a blog, or a website and has a url - but what if it’s a piece of info exclusively minted and intended for my Facebook folks, for example, and I want it to go directly from my hard drive to them first?

        Not an earth-shattering issue, but as I researched, I found lots of people who wanted to share a flyer, a bulletin, a newsletter or some other non-web-based content in conjunction with a related wall post.

        Why not? Appreciate your thoughts. 

        • Chris Brogan

          You can share a LINK, but not attach the file. So if you host the file somewhere public, then you can do that. The web wasn’t built for attachments, so they prefer that you build links. THAT you can do on ANY platform. : ) 

          • Ellie

            Thanks for the additional clarification, Chris. The cool thing about your community is that not only you, but others contribute generously as evidenced by the comments by JasonHembree and JasonEsperson to my file attachment question. Love the learning!!
            Thanks to all!!! 

        • Chris Brogan

          You can share a LINK, but not attach the file. So if you host the file somewhere public, then you can do that. The web wasn’t built for attachments, so they prefer that you build links. THAT you can do on ANY platform. : ) 

        • Anonymous

          Elle, with Facebook’s new Messaging system, it is possible to send actual files. Just click on the little paper clip in the bottom left hand corner and attach your file.

          The advantage to having it as a part of Messaging, is that you can send it to pretty much anyone on Facebook. While Facebook’s new Messaging is Chat and Chat is Messaging feature is annoying, the inclusion of the ability to attach files is a big help.

          • Ellie

            Lawson, thank you. I’m going to truck over to Facebook and give it a try!

          • Anonymous

            Let me know how it works out for you. Best of luck!

        • Jason Espersen

          You could upload such things to google docs so they remain private to only you and those who have the direct link, and then share the direct link in your post to your circles.

          • Ellie

            Jason, thank you so much for your generous comment. When you’re a marketing/creative – not tech – person navigating web-based tools, it’s easy to hit roadblocks and wonderful when someone points you in the right direction. 

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  • Kate

    Hi, one of the comments below says ‘you can set whether the list of people in all of your circles is visible in your public profile’ – how do I do this? 

    • Kate

      Don’t worry, found it in your privacy demo…

  • Anonymous

    Chris, thanks for the post. Great intro to G+ for newcomers like me.

    Here are my impressions so far:
    1. G+ is very similar to Facebook so far with the addition of Circles (similar to Twitter, but can also be done on Facebook by creating Friend Lists) and the Hangout feature (which I’m pretty sure Facebook will be working on soon once they get the FaceSkype thing ironed out). 
    2. Because of this similarity to Facebook, I doubt that there will be a mass exodus from Facebook to G+. One of my friends noted that G+ is “like Facebook minus the ads, apps and 12 year olds.” My reply was that once the full version of G+ launches, I imagine there will have to be ads and apps (that’s how the money is made) and then the 12 year olds will follow.
    3. While there is nothing inherently wrong with G+ itself, because of its similarity to other networks, I doubt that people will stick with G+ because it will just be “one more social network” to keep up with. I know I already have a hard time staying on top of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and my blog…now I have one more.
    4. Google’s strategy to launch a social network with a trial version driven by invites hasn’t worked in the past (ie Wave and Buzz). While G+ is a significant improvement, they need to launch a full version that everyone can hop on if they want (or at least allow you to signup if you fit a certain criterian…ie Facebook with college students). I would suggest that they launch and allow anyone with a Gmail account to signup, thus removing the cumbersomeness/feeling of exclusion that comes with the invite system.

    Only time will tell if G+ survives, but fortunately with social media/social networks time goes fast. 

  • Karina Delaine

    My question is, do people in my circles need to add me to a circle to see what I’m sharing with them?

    • Chris Brogan

      Yes. Because you’re sharing with them doesn’t mean they’re picking it up, unless you’ve explicitly mentioned them by names. 

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  • Michael F Morris

    Liking what I’m seeing Chris… but when are us lowly minions going to get in…. send me an invite please!

  • Dexter B

    Thanks for sharing this, Chris! Getting to know the nitty-gritty of it is the best way to start using this new social media site. Mmm… How did you find Hangouts by the way? And which do you prefer Facebook Video chat or G+’s Hangouts? 

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  • Mohammed Milan

    could you invite me
     my e mail is

  • Vinicio Paz


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  • Shelley Dolley

    Thanks Chris – this was helpful.

  • Brent Carnduff

    Thanks for sharing this Chris! I had the “what now” moment this morning. I’ll get on and look around a little more now. Encouraged by what I have seen so far.

  • ifelicious

    This has been so helpful. I’m pretty social media savvy but every time something comes out, I gotta learn how it works and how to best utilize it for my needs. We’ll see how Google+ fares in the upcoming weeks and months.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris, 

    I just set up my Google Plus account today. Great engaging tool.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.


  • I {heart} Rhody

    That’s very useful. Thanks!

  • Chris Cree

    I’m wondering what one has to do to get into the “Bacon Filchers” circle. ;)

    • Chris Brogan

      Bacon Filchers, it turns out, is for media professionals and larger corporate employees. That’s not how it started. 

    • Chris Brogan

      Bacon Filchers, it turns out, is for media professionals and larger corporate employees. That’s not how it started. 

  • Chris Cree

    I’m wondering what one has to do to get into the “Bacon Filchers” circle. ;)