Google+ Collections: A New Way to Curate and Share Content
What you need to know
At noon on May 1, GooglePlus posted its first Tweet, after being silent for four years. Right away, it was clear that something was up! And on May 3, the new Google Collections launched - the first truly major update to GooglePlus in months.
I have been busy exploring the new Google Collections which give GooglePlus users a new way to aggregate content by theme or topic and share it publicly, privately or with specific groups or circles.
In this post, I'll share my first impressions and initial experience of Collections, along with links to the content about Collections by some of the many smart people I follow on Google+ and beyond. I've also started a Collection I'll be curating on Google+ with posts, images and videos about Collections.
Once you create your first collection, your profile will display a new tab where other people can find and follow your collections. As you write new posts, you can choose to add them to specific collections.
You can view Collections without a Google+ account, but you can't comment or otherwise interact with them until you log in. Twitter works the same way, and you can't post to, view or interact with Facebook without an account.
Implications of Collections for Marketing
The implications for brands are huge. On Google+, which is so far advertising-free, users can select which specific content they'll see from a brand they follow. So if I am interested in something a brand offers now, I can follow their Collection. When my interests change, I can delete that Collection and follow another. I'm not going to be bombarded by content that is currently irrelevant to me. Then, when my interests change, I can switch to another Collection from the brand, or stop following it. That's new in social media.
Take a company like Ikea, for example. Their stores carry just about anything you might want to put in your home or office. But let's say I'm re-doing my kitchen and all I want to know about it what Ikea offers for kitchens. If they curate a Collection including everything in the store relating to kitchens - from cabinets and sinks to oven mitts and soap holders - I can follow that collection while I am re-modeling.
For consultants, artists, writers and so on: say you are an expert in digital image creation, but you also love to cook and you are nuts about cats. If I only want to follow your posts about digital image creation, Collections just gave me a way to do that.
It's all about the data
I won't have the annoying stream of ads that follows me around on Facebook for six months after I look at or buy something. But Google will know what I'm interested in and can serve me ads when I use Google search or YouTube. After all, Google's business is data to fuel and target advertising. You didn't think all this goodness would come without a price, did you?
But I don't care, and I don't think the millions of us who use Google+ every day (yes Virginia, there actually are millions of us active users) will care either - as long as Google keeps giving us the great features that make Google+ the biggest change in online communications since the interactive website.
GooglePlus is not dead (or dying)
The addition of Collections makes one thing very clear: GooglePlus is not dead, dying or sick. As any of you who follow me online know, I'm an early adopter, an enthusiastic supporter and a power user of Hangouts on Air and Google+.
I've taught many clients how to use Hangouts and created more than 150 of them in the past couple of years. But sometimes, it's been kinda like the lonely hearts club out here. Now, with Google+ being upgraded significantly - from what I see so far - it's getting better all the time. Better, better, better....
So, let's share our tips, tricks and ideas about Collections. This is going to be fun!
Here are some great posts where you can learn more about Google+ Collections:
- The official announcement of Collections by Google's Dmitry Shapiro
- GooglePlus Daily's post on How To Use Collections
- Andrij Harasewych has written an excellent post on Collections
- Ronnie Bincer offered a detailed tutorial
- The always wonderfully informative Dustin Stout not only provides tips, but has also made you a template for sizing the cover shots on your Collections. (Thanks Dustin!)
- Wade Harman has also weighed in with first impressions and how-tos.
- Photographer Heather Buckley has an excellent analysis and demo of Collections on her site.
- Follow GooglePlus Daily and GooglePlus on Twitter for constant updates. (They're also fun)
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