Every so often, yet another tech blogger has to come out and theorize on why Google+ is dead. I’ve already ranted extensively about all the reasons Google+ isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but rather than write yet another post about why these posts are off-base, I figured I’d take a different approach, by highlighting the extent of the community activity over on Google+.
Just like Twitter has its hashtags, its Follow Fridays and Tweetups, Google+ is quickly gaining its own traditions and practices which keep users busy all week long. In fact, as soon as Google+ incorporated clickable hashtags, just like on Twitter, users were coming up with creative uses to label and categorize their posts. Hashtags are used on Google+ so that users can take part in themed posts, memes and more.
Google+ has Follow Fridays
#CircleSundays started back in July and people are continuing to use the hashtag to recommend who to circle, but the far more active hashtag, seems to have been borrowed from Twitter, with quite a lot of recommendations coming through on #FollowFriday. Google+ makes it easier than ever to share an entire circle at the click of a button.
There are several different hashtags that are being used to promote these shared circles, including, the obvious choice of #sharedcircles, along with a whole slew of variations such as #circleshared, #publiccirclesproject, #publiccircles, #circlesharing and #sharedpubliccircles.
We’re certainly hoping Google+ users narrow the choice down to one or two options so that other users can really get the most out of recommendations and not miss out on discovering some interesting people to follow on the site.
Users are sharing themed posts
Photographers keep the community engaged by sharing themed posts on specific days of the week, using hashtags.
- Monday has some interesting examples include the self explanatory #MacroMonday and #MonochromeMonday.
- On Tuesdays Google+ users are encouraged to post photos they took on that day as part of #TodayTuesday, as well as self-portraits for #PortraitTuesday.
- On Wednesday users can post photos of windows in #WindowWednesday.
- On Thursday photos that somehow involve water are posted in #ThirstyThursday
- On Friday, Google+ photographers turn their attention to food with #FoodFriday. If you have fisheye lens you can take part in #FisheyeFriday.
- On Saturday you can post a photo processed in sepia for #SepiaSaturday or a street photo to #StreetSaturday.
- On Sunday, rather than post a photo you took, you can showcase another photographer’s work for #SelflessSunday.
A lot of the themes are curated, so if you take part in the hashtags, your work will be featured by someone else on Google+, making it an easy way to discover new photographers on Google+, as well as be discovered.
To see a complete list of photographer themes that are taking place on Google+ check out the comprehensive lists put together by Eric Leslie and Melanie Kintz and the Google+ page, Daily Photography Themes.
Users are sharing curated posts
Aside from themed posts, other users are curating the best of what Google+ has to offer. Jarek Klimek has been tirelessly curating a daily list of the best photos shared on Google+, using the social network’s API. While he has just put the list on a short hiatus until mid-April, he has been kind enough to share the method behind featuring your own personal top photos on Google+.
The images are shared not only on Google+ but on the site, PhotoExtract as well. If you want to have the chance to have your photos featured by Jarek, or want to find out more about how the list works, check out Jarek’s FAQ.
Everyone’s getting their meme on
It wouldn’t be a social network without a few memes, and of course a ton of cat photos. Naturally, one of the very first memes to hit Google+ involved cats, and users share them using the hashtag #Caturday.
Of course you can just as easily filter out any memes that you’re not a fan of using the Chrome extension, Stream Filter Beta.
If you don’t want to be restricted to a specific meme, Monday is your chance to go wild with MemeMonday.
Google+ has meetups
Twitter has its tweetups, and so far on Google+, as usual, the photography community is leading the pack, thanks to photographers like Thomas Hawk. Rather than just meet up, Google+ users are going on Photowalks in their cities.
We’ve seen photowalks take place in cities all over the US, in London and Tokyo, and with the huge international community on Google+, we’re guessing it’s only a matter of time before it goes global. While meetups in general haven’t really taken off on Google+, a good way to distinguish them would be to use Chris Pirillo’s suggestion of Plusups.
Hangouts are getting creative and educational
We’ve already seen Google+ hangouts used to connect with celebrities and public figures with everyone from US president Barack Obama to David Beckham, but that’s not the only way one of the social network’s standout features is being put to good use.
For starters you can learn how to play the guitar from the comfort of your home thanks to Google+. Yep that’s right. You can actually get guitar lessons on Google+. Guitarist Rob Michael uses Skype and Google+ Hangouts to give private one-on-one lessons.
Google also recently announced that the platform will be used to host a brand new online debate show, Versus, with the premiere episode featuring the likes of Richard Branson, Julian Assange and Russell Brand.
Composer Deane Odgen reveals that he has been using the feature for exclusive ‘creative hangouts’. He writes:
Once a week for the last three months, I have spent an hour with seven other heavy hitter Creative people on a Google+ hangout. We get our coffee or our tea (or our beer!), turn off our phones, close our doors, shutdown whatever other computer-related annoyances we are all involved in, and we talk openly about creating—the happy parts, the hard parts, the places we need help, and the places we can give help.
So what does he actually get out of it, you might be asking? He writes:
I always come away from these times every week recharged, pumped up, encouraged, full of ideas, and ready to kick serious ass.
He’s gained so much out of the experience that he’s also opened up the occasional separate hangout to the public.
Even if it’s not out in the public for all to see, there is a lot going on in terms of using Google+’s features, making it easier for people to connect, and who knows what kind of creativity has been spurred by Odgen’s hangouts. If you and a bunch of creative people who you think would benefit from a weekly online hangout, there’s no reason this concept can be emulated by just about anyone.