Tech Tips for Writers (and the Readers Who Love Them): Google+

tech_tip_icon Hi, everyone! I’m kicking off a new series on the Femmes called “Tech Tips for Writers (and the Readers Who Love Them).” In my non-writing life, I’m a bit of a tech nerd. I have worked in Web development/social media/communications for over two decades (since I was ten, obviously) and have a love for all things technical. Every now and again, I stumble upon useful tips and tricks and I thought I might share some of them here.

Tech Tip #1: Google+

While I’m active on social media, one platform I haven’t spent much time with is Google+. I have a profile, of course, but I haven’t really devoted any energy to it. First, I only have so many hours in the day (which never seems enough as it is). Second, I have been watching Google+ with a cynical, shifty-eyed squint: Would it really stick around enough to become a force to be reckoned with? I was crushed when Google discontinued Google Reader; if one of the most popular RSS aggregators couldn’t make it, what chance did Google+ have?

Well, my cynical, squinty eyes were opened recently when I started looking at social media facts from 2nd Q 2013.

Did you know…


  • Google+ is the second largest social network (behind Facebook)?
  • Google+ has more than 359 million active monthly users?
  • The active user base of Google+ grew 33% from June 2012 through March 2013.

Yes, everyone with a GMail account has a Google+ profile, which makes those numbers higher. Even still, a LOT of people are using Google+.

So who are these people?

Google+ users:

  • 68% are male; 32% are female.
  • 6.6 million live in the United States, making it the country where Google+ is most popular.
  • 28% are between the ages of 18 and 34.

What’s the Difference?

Devoted followers of Google+ swear there’s a big difference in this social platform.

  • Unlike Facebook, Google+ seems to be more about meeting and connecting with new people who like the same things you like (romance novels??). From Business Insider:

    One such convert is New Zealand photographer Trey Ratcliff, whose picture-centric Google Plus page has nearly five million followers.

    “It’s nice to pop into Google Plus to discover new things. Facebook is pretty good, but it’s harder to discover new people or have more in-depth discussions around passions,” he said in an email exchange.

    Indeed, this may be how Google Plus will find its niche in the crowded social media world: Whereas Facebook is the go-to service for connecting friends, Google Plus is more often used to meet strangers who share common interests.

  • Google is the undeniable king of search engines. Google+ posts are indexed faster than other social media networks. If SEO matters to you (and it should), Google+ is the obvious forerunner.
  • While Google makes it hard to cross-post from other social media into Google+, you can use Google+ as your starting point and share across your other networks.

Tech Tip!

Google has integrated Google+ with GMail, but one of the downfalls of this is that anyone in your circles can email you via GMail—even if they do not have your email address. I would highly suggest turning off this feature.

To turn it off, you need to be in your GMail.

1) Click on the gear drop-down menu on the upper right-hand corner under your photo and choose “Settings.”

2) About one-third down the page is “Email via Google+: Who can email you via your Google+ profile?” Select “No One” from the drop-down menu.”

3) At the bottom of the Settings page, click on “Save Changes.”

This will help protect your privacy while using Google+ and GMail.

Looking to Learn More?

Google+ is easy to learn, especially if you’re familiar with social media already. To like something, you +1 it. Sharing is easy. To “follow” people, all you need to do is add them to your circles.

If you’re ready to best utilize your Google+ account, this page of tips is a great place to start.

And if you do jump into Google+, be sure to find my profile.

Leave a comment


  1. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  January 27, 2014

    First…I LOVE that you’re doing Tech Tips. MUCH needed in this day and age for those of us who aren’t as savvy as you.

    Second…Google+ is something I really want to explore. I have a Google+ account but it sort of happened by default and honestly, I don’t know HOW to use it or WHERE to find it. Oh…wait! I just clicked on my name with the plus sign and made my way there. Could be you’ll be seeing a bit of me here. Thanks for teaching me something today!

    • Glad you liked it!

      There’s a lot to learn with Google+, but my goal with these is not to overwhelm. And to be honest, I haven’t spent enough time there to be any kind of an expert. But as Facebook makes things harder for Fan and personal pages alike, I can only assume Google+ will gain more traction.

  2. Thank you so much for doing Tech Tips. I know I have a lot to learn. I primarily use Facebook, but want to venture into Google+. Your blog inspired me to do it asap!

    • Glad you found it helpful! It’ll be interesting to see how the two evolve over the next few years. I am a Twitter freak, so I’m primarily there. I like FB, but the algorithms of what you see and what you don’t make me NUTS.

  3. Who knew??? I had no clue Google+ was such a major player in social media. The idea of connecting with people with mutual interests is compelling. I guess I need to head over to and check it out. Luckily, we have you to guide us through it!

    • I had no idea either, which is what prompted the idea for the this post (and the series).

      Social media is fascinating. I love to see how it’s all changing.

  4. Mia Lansford

     /  January 27, 2014

    Hello Joanna,

    I added people (applause) and a picture (double applause). I was hoping the picture showed up here but no such luck. Thanks for explaining google+ hopefully with each lesson I’ll look less foolish.


    • Hi, Mia!

      I see your photo on Google+. Nice work! WordPress pulls them in from Gravatar, I believe. Once you create a Gravatar profile, every WP blog you ever comment on will automatically use that image. Choose wisely, my son.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Joanna, any tech type you have is greatly appreciated! Google + seems to have taken off out of nowhere. Sure, I knew it existed, but didn’t know people used it, and how to use it.

    Best, Michele

    • I think people are still trying to figure it out. Younger, hipper men seem to be leading the charge.

      Which….isn’t really a bad thing, IMO. 😉

  6. I still like FB, but if they keep making things harder for everyone, we’ll all be looking for someplace else to go. I’m on Google+, but it confuses me. Bookmarked the site on Google+ tips you recommended. Thanks, Joanna.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Glad you stopped by! I don’t think FB and Google+ are used exclusive of the other. I think you have to use both in tandem for different reasons.

      Google+ right now has a lot of younger folks who are disenchanted/fed up with FB. IMO, if you want to reach as many folks as you can, being in both places can’t hurt.

      Good luck!

  7. I use Google+ all the time, every single morning, to “fill my buckets” with all the things I love most: photographs of everything from owls to ants in my “Photography” circle, I set up a “Geology/Science” circle and I’ve found a few great geology teachers as well as scientists on Arctic/Antarctic life as well as deep ocean science, another circle is “Spacewalkers” following some of the wonderful people up on the Space Station, and I have a big “Genealogy” circle I follow. G+ is for posting links to your blogs, for connecting with like-minded people. But when I went looking for Writers… A big fat zero – I found so few that I quit looking last year. Writers all seem to write blogs, but don’t see G+ as a place to promote themselves and their writing. Instead they’re on Facebook and some are on Twitter. I’m a bit of a science nerd as a romance writer, and am quite happy with G+, but until there’s “enough” writers on it, the rest of you won’t be interested in G+. It’s all about building connections and interacting – something you’re probably doing already on Facebook, or maybe through newsletters and other promo work. But it could be so much easier on G+
    For a very light-hearted look at how to get started I ran across this version, and there are others (just Google) : Google+ For Dummies on Enjoy!

    • Hi Celia,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the post. Yay for science nerds!

      Great thoughts on Google+, and I agree with you regarding the lack of a romance writing presence. I think that will change over the next year as folks start to recognize the value in it.

  8. Thrilled you are doing tech tips! Great idea! As for Google+ : Wow, who knew?! Certainly not me! The stats definitely have me perking up, but so far I admit I don’t find it easy to use at all. It’s almost as if they tried to make it so ultra simple, that I can’t tell how to do anything! Looks like it’s a good thing I’ve got you, Joanna! : ) And I will definitely have to look up Celia’s link (thank you, Celia!)

  9. Great post 🙂 I am a keen user of Google+ and am a member of many writing communities on it. I think it is a great place and forum for discussion and finding people from all over the world with the same interests.

  10. What a great idea! I’ve explored a little in the world of Google+ but have a lot to learn. Thanks for the tips!

  11. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  February 3, 2014

    So glad we have you for our tech guru, Joanna!

    I’m just starting to understand Google+ a little more, thanks to you. Our video chat was fun last week. It’s great to be able to see your faces when we talk.

    I think the best thing about Google+, at least for now, is that I’m seeing the people I want to see, and seeing everyone. I only see posts from maybe 40 of my hundreds of friends on fb. Annoying.

    Thanks for the tips!


  12. Reblogged this on Shelburne Museum Tech Tips and commented:
    Good plus is a platform that many people do not consider because “no one uses google+”, and “I would join if more people were there”. With these interesting facts their should be more reason for people to jump ship from Facebook.


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