Following Social Network Etiquette on Google+

Whether you are on Google+ or any other social network, you should make it a habit to follow social network etiquette to show respect and care for how you treat others on the network. After you know how to post on Google+, the first question on your mind may be, “What do I post?” But before you post, there's another matter to consider: finding appropriate things to share.

Deciding what to post on Google+

Before posting on Google+, here are some questions to ask:

  • What types of content will your audience expect from you? If the audience you’re posting to is comprised primarily of PC lovers and you post good things about Macs, you may receive comments from people about how much they prefer PCs to Macs and how wrong your post is. Be very careful what you post and who you post it to — you’ll get a different reaction from each type of audience.

  • What types of things might drive your audience away? Think about what might offend. Keep in mind that writing a slightly controversial post isn’t always a bad thing — sometimes a little controversy can add to the conversation and create more comments. However, if the majority of the audience is going to turn against you because of something you post, you might want to reconsider posting it to that audience.

  • Could what you are about to post hurt you down the road in a job interview or if your mom ever saw it? Keep in mind that anything on Google+ can be shared with a larger audience if those who have circled you choose to share it. Also, screenshots and other means of sharing can potentially incriminate you down the road.

  • Does what you post build up or tear down others? In the end, you’re trying to boost the perception others have of you. Does your post strengthen or weaken the person or brand you’re talking about? Are you trying to make people look better or worse? Are you trying to help others, or make it harder for them?

Guidelines for posting on Google+

Once you’ve considered the preceding questions, you'll have a good idea about the approach to take when you post. The following suggestions can help guide you as you develop a strategy for posting to Google+:

  • Keep your posts professional. Of course, professionalism is a relative term and applies essentially to the nature and purpose for your posts. If you’re all about business, your posts will likely be more business-oriented. On the other hand, if you’re using them to update family and friends, your posts will be more personal.

  • If you’re not offending someone some time, “you’re doing it wrong.” If you want your audience to grow, you’ll have to accept that you might offend a few people. Just brush it off and keep going. No need to argue or prove a point. Just politely suggest they uncircle you if they don’t like what you’re saying and move on.

  • Don’t be too anxious about being uncircled. It’s okay if people do so — you just weren’t for them, which really isn't a problem. You can look at being uncircled as feedback on ways to improve how you’re posting to Google+. If the person uncircling you doesn’t fit with your style or the persona you want to be present, just ignore the uncircle.

Overall, when developing a strategy for posting to Google+, keep a positive perspective so others will always perceive you as a positive person. People will perceive you the way you present yourself. Stay positive and people will generally like you. If you’re negative, they generally won’t.

Commenting on others’ Google+ posts

As a general rule, the suggestions in the preceding section apply to every type of thing you post on Google+. Here are a few additional thoughts on commenting on others’ posts and status updates:

  • Find ways to help the person whose post you’re commenting on stay positive! Offer to help or compliment others in their posts. People tend to remember those who are positive and complimentary in threads, and they may end up circling you down the road.

  • Keep the conversation going with others commenting, but don’t feed the trolls. Respond to others in the thread and offer your input and opinion. However, occasionally people use sites like Google+ just to constantly disagree and tear down the people who are sharing. You generally want to avoid those people, and if they persist, just ignore them.

  • Don’t hijack the thread. Hijacking the thread means you change the topic of the original post. If you have something unrelated to say, do so offline rather than in the thread. Hijacking the thread distracts from the conversation and can cause the conversation to go places that the original poster never intended it to go.

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