A primer for expanding your heritage circles on Google Plus

When it first opened as an invite-only social space, Google Plus made a splash, to the tune of an estimated 10 million users. As an early invitee, I was a fan, seeing great potential in its particular abilities to serve the needs of the heritage crowd online. In the time since it’s launched, Google Plus has certainly suffered some missteps. However, if you’re looking to connect with the right folks in real time while enhancing your SEO profile (useful for place-based heritage orgs) with Google, this is still a platform to consider.

G+circles teaserOne of the things that’s been missing in social networking is an elegant and simple way to hit the right audiences with your content. That’s left lots of people creating multiple accounts, reining in their opinions, or feeling like they’re spamming others who don’t share their interests. Twitter lists get you halfway in that they can readily be monitored and shared publicly. Facebook groups allow collaboration, but are fairly closed. Google hits a middle mark with Circles, which allows you to categorize other Plus users into one or more areas, and then post content to the appropriate group(s) of folks. Like Twitter you can follow and categorize people without them being obligated to follow you back, unlike the Facebook button and friending scheme.

If you’re uncertain about who you might talk to when you get to Google Plus, I have a list below of the public profiles of a few folks in my “Heritage Friends” circle. These folks are cultural heritage enthusiasts or professionals. This is a “charter” list of profile links for the earliest adopters, but I’ll break it down further as more people in the discrete areas of interest sign up.

  1. Jim Wald, historic preservationist at Hamphire College
  2. Lynne Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State and an archaeologist
  3. Kate Theimer, of ArchivesNext
  4. Eric Kansa, of OpenContext
  5. Sabra Smith, of My Own Time Machine blog
  6. Nancie Ravenel, conservator at Shelburne Museum
  7. Daniel Cull, conservator at Musical Instrument Museum
  8. Vincent Brown, blogger & media producer at Talking Pyramids
  9. Jennifer Souers Chevraux, museum consultant at Illumine Creative Solutions
  10. Susan Hazan, The Israel Museum
  11. Richard Salmon, conservation engineer
  12. Graeme Daley, historic preservation advocate
  13. Simone Gianolio, archaeologist
  14. Mike Gushard, architectural historian
  15. Nelson Knight, Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Coordinator
  16. Paul Allen, Ancestry.com founder
  17. Paige Roberts, public historian, archivist and urban planner
  18. Fran Ellsworth of the FamilySearch Community team
  19. Amanda French, Center for History and New Media
  20. Bernie Frischer, University of California
  21. Nicolas Laracuente, archaeologist
  22. Iain Davidson, archaeologist
  23. Ethan Watrall, Michigan State University
  24. MT Bale, archaeologist
  25. Thomas Palmer, historic preservationist
  26. Ian Hadden, genealogist
  27. Jennifer Palmer, field archaeologist
  28. Lisa Louise Cooke, podcaster and producer of Genealogy Gems

I have about 100 people in my heritage friends circle. While you’re checking these folks out you should check out their circles as well, which are sure to be expanding. You’re likely to run into someone who shares your interests. If you’re a heritage advocate, please feel free to share your profile link in the comments. And feel free to connect with me there as well. My profile url (with my shared heritage circle) is https://plus.google.com/+JeffGuin/posts.

I think there is great potential to use the Google Plus Hangouts feature for an informal feedback version of the podcast to talk about applying the principles explained by the folks we interview here. Google is now allowing folks to stream hangouts-on-air to their YouTube pages as well, which establishes the feature’s relevance beyond simple social networking capability. Let me know if you’re interested in taking part.

Other features for heritage content discovery is the hashtag exploration feature. For example, you can search for “archaeology” and end up with an aggregation of all the latest results in a link (and page) that looks like this: https://plus.google.com/explore/Archaeology. Just substitute with any word representing your area of interest! Between “Explore” and “Circles” you can build a pretty effective blogger dashboard for social media outreach. How do you think Google Plus stacks up against other social networking tools?

Related tool:

Teaser image from Flickr

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