Monthly Archives: July 2011

Moving from Twitter to Google+

Now that I’ve been on Google+ for about a week, I’ve been spending more time here than on Twitter.

One of the reasons is the fact that invites are easily available. When G+ first came out, only a very few select people such as Google employees, first sign-ups, and tech journalists were the ones who got in. I was fortunate enough to be able to get in on day 2 or 3 via twitter. The number of invites available was controlled by Google – they opened and closed the invite link almost on a daily basis as they tried to balance their servers and back end, with code fixes, feature updates and the number of users in the system.

Earlier this week, I noticed that the invite button would appear at around 5 or 6pm PDT for a few hours, then it would magically disappear. Now the invite button seems to be on and available. I believe that the official opening date is the end of July, hence the more liberal availability of the G+ invites.

That being said, more and more people are getting in on G+. People who I follow on Twitter are finding their way onto G+ too. I’m also finding other connections and educators on G+ via the comments feature.

One thing about twitter is the ability to have near instant yet asynchronous conversation with people all over the world. One difficulty is that sometimes it is difficult to follow the thread or threads of discussion on a topic. One way to help this issue is with the use of hash tags and Twitter clients which allow real-time searching and aggregation of tweets. It is easy to miss a big chunk of the conversation if you don’t use these tools or if you are only following certain users.

With G+, you can have a similar type of near instant asynchronous discussion, but with people who you are connected with via the circle mechanism. If someone whom you follow in G+ post something, you can make a comment, and others who follow that user can see the comments which are made. I like this feature as I can see posts by others whose path I may not cross in Twitter, and by checking out their profile I can add them to my circles.

Streams showing posts and comments

Streams showing posts and comments

Also, I like the control and granularity with the circle concept. You can choose to share stuff publicly, or just with the people in a particular circle. There are also facilities to prevent the re-sharing of posts, however there’s nothing stopping someone from copy-pasting some juicy bit of news/rumor.

Another biggie for me spending more time with G+, is there is no 140 character post limit. I understand that this limit is one of the “charms” of Twitter, along with its roots in SMS.

Related to this (at least for the web version), is the first URL you post, a preview of the text along with an image is displayed as a part of the post. With this quick preview, I can better make a decision whether or not to follow the URL.

Lastly Google has a G+ app for Android devices, which allows G+ to follow me in my pocket. One big discrepancy between the web version of G+ and the app is that Huddles, the group “instant messaging” is not in the web version (which most people are using) and Hangouts, the group video chat is missing from the app.

Hangouts actually does work! I’ve tried it out with a couple of people. I could see it being used in a classroom environment with students. It does have a 10 person limit though.

So there are some of the reasons why I’ve been shifting my time away from Twitter to Google Plus. If you want an invite, shoot me an email.


So now that I’ve got this new blog up and running, I’ve been getting lots of SPAM.  Very generic comments like, “yeah, I agree with the comments here.  You should look at my blog [insert URL here]” and “Great point of view.  I really agree with it.  Could you expand on this a bit more?”

YUK.  I hate SPAM

Finally got my butt in gear to turn on some SPAM filtering.  I hope it works, cause this post is the bait!

Google+ the new place to be in!

So last week, on June 28th, Google released their new social networking service, Google+.  I was fortunate to get in on day 2 of the initial Google+ limited testing event.  Demand to get in has been extremely high.  I was lucky enough to get in via Twitter courtesy of @megapenguinx.


Now that I’m in, I do find that my posting habits have changed.   I do find that I’m spending less time on Twitter.  Maybe it’s because there’s less “noise” on Google+ than on Twitter.  Perhaps it’s because Google+ is still in limited trial.  I’m obviously “following” less people on Google+ than on Twitter.

I do like the organizational layout of Google+ – the concept of Circles where you can select and organize people you know (or follow) in Circles.  You control the granularity with who you share with and what you are sharing.

I can see this this working well in a school environment.  With Circles, I could have a circle set up for colleagues, district people, and even students.  I’d organize students into circles representing my different classes.  That way I could communicate things publicly or with certain circles.  Things I send out to my personal friends would not be limited to just those people.

Another feature of Google+ that could prove useful is the Hangout.  The Hangout is a group video chat.  I tried it with my friend +David Wees and it works pretty well!  I could see using the “Hangout” as a type of online office hour where one or more students could join in, kind of like a virtual classroom.

I see lots of potential for this.  I also see lots of issues that could pop up as well, especially with crossing the boundary between the personal/professional online life of an educator.  Right now as it stands, Google+ does not work with Google Apps accounts.  I’m not too concerned about this yet.  Google+ is still very new software.  Eventually it will be available to Google Apps accounts.

So for now, those who want in on Google+ will have to wait.  They are opening up invites on a controlled basis.