Google has recently made their social networking tool Google Plus available to the public after a period of beta testing. With Google Plus came Google Plus Local.
Google Plus (Google+), like other social networks, are wonderful services for communicating with friends and colleagues as they are custom designed to connect people together.
Although it is blocked by the SWGfL filter in many schools and corporations many people may well be considering using Google+ for their own private use.
- 1 Google Plus Local Network
- 1.1 What is Social Networking?
- 1.2 Guidance for use of any social network
- 1.3 Google+ Local Pages: How To
- 1.4 Google Places
- 1.5 Google Plus Local Name
- 1.6 Google Plus Local Circles
- 1.7 Google Plus Local Photos
- 1.8 Google Plus Local Location
- 1.9 Google Plus Local Third Party Apps
- 1.10 Google Plus Local Local Storage
- 1.11 US Safe Habor
The social network companies make their money by targeting adverts meaning that to some extent the company aims are against the levels of privacy that many users of the system expect. Social Network Companies harvest the data that you provide, making links and supplying third party advertisements to users.
What is Social Networking?
Social networking is a method of building relationships and connecting with large groups of people through digital means. Where people once used the Internet primarily as a means of basic communication and research, now many use it as a relational tool. It can be incredibly effective in allowing you to connect with a virtually unlimited audience all over the world—and right in your own community.
Many churches are using social networking sites such as Facebook or Google Plus Local to update their congregations on ministries, events, and to maintain an ongoing conversation. However, social networking does take time. Whether you are “marketing” an event or not, you must take time to build relationships in order for social networking to be effective.
When you’ve updated your website, branch out. The more social networks you use, the more effective you’ll be.
- Start a blog on WordPress or another free blogging platform. According to WikiPedia a blog “is a personal journal published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first.” Post about your church and its events and use the RSS feed (An RSS feed is a way that blogs and websites can publish their content in a standardized format) on your church website. Be diligent to update the blog at least every other day. This will probably mean you need to dedicate at least four hours a week to generate content for the blog. If members of your church staff already have blogs, ask them to contribute a post to the church’s blog, as well.
- Create a Facebook Page or group where you can gather the existing church community on Facebook. Create an event and invite friends to join you for your special event (see the “Using Facebook” section).
- Create buzz about your event via viral chat. Join Twitter and begin a conversation with hashtags (#). Remember to keep your tweets below 120 characters so others can retweet them easily.
- Always be careful about what you post – treat everything that you add as being able to be seen by everybody even if you think you have restricted its access.
- Never post sensitive personal information such as address or phone numbers.
- Never post any comments that could be against your workplace conditions of service.
- Never post anything that you would not like a future employer to see.
- Always be careful who you make as ‘Friends’ – you do not know who those people have as friends.
- Set privacy settings to make the service as secure as possible.
- Never use your private account for business purposes.
- Remember that although you keep the copyright, you usually give the company a licence to use the content you upload.
- Never share your password or allow the computer to retain your password. Use a unique password for every account.
Google+ Local Pages: How To
A Google Plus Local Page is similar to Facebook in that you can create and manage circles, start and join hangouts, and share content like posts and photos. Google Plus Local is FREE and is yet another way to connect with your church members and visitors.
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To start a Google+ Page, click here for the Google+ Start Guide.
After you create a Page, make sure to promote it on your website and other social sites. You will need to have friends for your Page. Here is how you add people to circles on your Page.
Exposure for your church and traffic to your church web site is important, especially for church plants and smaller churches. Google Places is an easy way to get your church noticed and people connected. Google Places is a FREE listing on Google for your church, like a Yellow Pages ad but online.
Here’s How Google Places Works
When someone in your geographical area goes to Google and types “church,” a map will appear with the churches that have a Google Places account. Each church is represented by a RED marker. Take a moment to try it for your area: go to www.google.com and type “church.” What churches do you find?
When a user clicks on your RED marker or on the name of your church, they are pointed to your Google Places Page. On this Page, you can provide contact information, details, photos, a link to your church website, reviews and more.
All you need to get started is a Google account! Take the Google Places Tour. This page will also help you if you already see your listing on Google but need to modify it.
Also visit the User Guide, which will guide you through the steps of setting up and running a successful Google Places account. If you are signed in, it will track your progress as you enhance your account.
Google Adwords Express
Google Adwords Express is an option you can choose to get a BLUE pin on the map. NOTE: This is not a free option. When you add Adwords to your listing, you can advertise your business on Google and Google Maps (including mobile devices) and attract more visitors to your website or Google Places Page. Simply set up a monthly budget for your ad, and Google will determine what search keywords trigger your ad based on the categories that you select. You’ll only pay for the clicks that your ad actually receives.
Google Plus Local Name
When using Google+ you are encouraged to use your real name. The idea behind this is that it takes away the possibilities of people hiding behind false names to set up attacks on other users. However there may well be other privacy issues with your name being easily identifiable by others.
Google Plus Local Circles
One of the main selling points of Google+ is that it appears to offer more privacy by using ‘Circles’ to direct posts to groups of contacts rather than everyone of a public setting.
When you want to place an update in your stream you then select which ‘Circle’ it will be sent to.
However you must remember that even if you have sent it to someone you trust, they could then resend it on to someone else without you having any control.
Google Plus Local Photos
Photos in Google+ are placed within a Google owned picture service called Picasa. This means that if you already have a Picasa account all the pictures stored there are also available.
If you have a Smart phone and have the Google+ app on this device then any photos taken on the phone are also uploaded into Google+.
After someone tags you in a photo or video, you may choose to remove the tag but only after it appears on your site.
Google Plus Local Location
If you use Google+ on your phone they will add your location into any posts. These can then be seen by anyone else using Google+ near that location if the post is set to ‘public’.
Google Plus Local Third Party Apps
Some third parties will allow you to access Google+ through their service. This will mean that these third parties will have access to your Google+ details. If your friends use a third party app your Google+ details might be made known to these companies.
Google Plus Local Local Storage
Google+ stores some data, such as your recent posts on your computer.
US Safe Habor
As Google is a US based company it applies the US Safe Harbor privacy principles and not the more stringent EU Data Protection Principles.