Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guides to Google Plus for Business & Personal Use July 2013

Guides to Google Plus for Business & Personal Use

For anything and everything G+ related to both personal pages as well as business pages this is a guide by +Mark Traphagen. A comprehensive resource of a large amount of information compiled in Google Drive below. There are  over 25 links here to different posts regarding SEO, G+ for business as well as tips and tricks. Enjoy. 

Compiled by +Michael Bennett who works at Michlin Metals. A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is Google Plus? A Complete User Guide - July 2013

What is Google Plus?
Complete User Guide.
+martin shervington does a tremendous job on Google Plus. He enables new as well as veteran users the ability to learn through creating dynamic content that literally walks you through almost every facet of G+.

Some of this genius comes in the form of Video Content, be it an HOA and screen shots or in the form of blog posts with other embedded content. No matter how you look at it Martin makes G+ easier by showingus how to work within the confines. 

This is a taste of what you can expect to find in this deck:

(NEW) Complete Google Plus video course (less than 90 minutes in total)

1) Introduction to Google Plus
2) Complete Guide to Google Plus Posts and Photos
3) Complete Guide to Google Plus Circles and Communities
4) Exploring Google Plus: how to search, filter and deeper your experience
5) Google Hangouts
6) ‘Google+ is Google’ – the social layer explained

This deck is packed with value. It will take some time (but only 90 mins for the whole lot of videos...probably the best 90 mins a person could spend in pursuit of making their G+ experience better) So get crackin and let me know what you guys think of the Drive presentation. I hope you like it. 

Compiled by +Michael Bennett who works at Michlin Metals. A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Hashtags Improve Conversation & Niche Community Development

We all know hashtags are used to allow a person to search for a desired result. Depending on the platform, they can act as a live news feed, a singular topic, an ongoing conversation occurring in real time or as a tool to allow the author to create his own community around a singular post. That tiny hashtag around what could be called a micro community or a post, can be considered the writers stamp, and if not, then a connotation with which the author wants to associate.

What is it you actually do here?
Granted, I can see how people can say, DUH, of course those are all purposes of the hashtag. However, walk with me just a little while longer on this path towards a more refined expression of what a hashtag can really do.

A hashtag can be conjured up for a myriad of things:

  1. Dates
  2. Events 
  3. Names
  4. Holidays
  5. Hotel Chains
  6. Cars
  7. Literally anything can be given a hashtag 
Where are Hashtags Now?
We obviously know that hashtags are important, or else Facebook wouldn't have just joined the party only 8 years too late. Hashtags are everywhere, TV Commercials & Shows, Sporting Events, Police Uniforms in Europe, Kids Birthdays, (sorry, not those, but that's not a bad idea is it...have a kids party w/a specific hashtag so that people can post their pictures right to the hashtag and everyone can share in all the different perspectives or coverage being offered at the event, just great for posterity) and we haven't even touched on their main areas of relevance, Google Plus or the inventor, Twitter.

People use twitter for that live news feed type atmosphere. People don't come to G+ to give us their short bursts of info flowing quickly and from many places. Those people stay on twitter, those on G+ feel a little more leisurely in their pursuits, more like a conversation in the park that might not end quickly, it might spill over into a coffeehouse or possibly a meal followed by a little soiree at a jazz club. There's no need to cut conversation short on G+. Why would we want to rush it? Don't they say the best things come to those who wait?

Twitter started it all, and we owe them a great deal. A few weeks ago I was reading an article by +Jesse Wojdylo "How to Use Related Hashtags to Build a Google Plus Following" regarding Google Plus' masterful acquisition of the man behind the hashtag +Chris Messina to help their effort in becoming a different type of hashtag service. One with potentially just as far reaching impacts. Granted G+ isn't the place for a real time news feed atmosphere (yet) based on events unfolding before our eyes but they are improving it's efficacy and usage every day.

What Can the Hashtag do for me?
Recently I have been in some seriously long conversations that take the original post and make it seem like an after thought. When the conversation is flowing in real time, some people involved want to track that. In those situations a specific hashtag works. Especially for concurrent posts that potentially discuss the same topics. It could be seriously beneficial to have a singular hashtag for each post or again, a series of posts all related to the same subject. That way none of the shares get lost in the shuffle, they are all linked back to the original hashtag provided by the author. This type of approach could allow for authors to use their own hashtags to bring people into the mix and let them continue the conversation.

For instance, let's say the author wants to create a new series of posts centered around the same theme. Perhaps the posts are going to come out in chronological order, like Dickens with Great Expectations. Every week a brand new installment gets released. The author could apply hashtag #GreatEXP (and maybe add a # for each concurrent week)... This way both the author and the reader can congregate around this central hashtag (or hashtag theme) allowing them both the ability to connect and engage in further discussion.

People like acting as a curator and the hashtag allows easy access to information, in an organized fashion. There are many means of curating posts and articles. It's the single entity of the hashtag that is relevant to this conversation. It's a one character curation tool. With one name you can forever classify a story, you can group a bunch of ideas into an amalgamation all under the same premise and allow other people to follow right alongside every part of the conversation wherever it may travel.

People connect on Google Plus in an extraordinarily dynamic way. Sometimes people want record of these spectacular conversations to call upon later. They also want to stay involved in that specific conversation and the hashtag makes it easier to follow. Another thing that occurs is the transference of similar threads. Sometimes a person shares a post or a piece of content and simultaneous conversations spawn and they are all worthwhile. Well how do you keep track? You assign a unique hashtag to the original thread and then tell people to use that when they share. That way the author and fellow readers can follow the post wherever it may go.

One of the beautiful things about Google Plus is its innate ability to allow for such dynamic conversations to take place. Since the platform is geared towards this type of conversation, people can often have similar discussions about similar posts but the meta layers are different. Each conversation adds a new layer into the mix and thus new knowledge is added to the collective knowledge database where we can all gain from the shared experiences or conversations. Never before has this been possible where simultaneous conversations take place and value added to each one independently. The whole thus being greater than the sum of its parts.

Hashtags allow people to follow a conversation in an enhanced way by giving them the ability to follow threads and other conversations that are generated around the initial post. Hashtags allow people to curate information as to better classify their topics of interest and allow for increased search-ability around those key words. These are just a few examples of how hashtags can create a better user experience through conversation if utilized in these ways.

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together
Google Plus offers a distinct ability to create communities around ideas, themes, subjects, objects or really anything at all. By using a central location such as a community people can join together around similar ideas. The hashtag, in essence, can create a micro community around a post, series of posts, or an idea. 

This concept isn't as simple as it sounds. Community building is difficult and one word hashtags aren't the answer to massive growth. They are the answer to continuous discussion and furthering specific dialogue. This type of goal is admirable in my opinion because it breathes pure oxygen (or life) into an idea and doesn't let the conversational flame go out. It stokes the fire and doesn't let it die. The embers live on in the form of this eternal hashtag that once applied can be searched, found, referenced, indexed and used to add more value. Make sense?

What has the Hashtag done for you Lately?
The hashtag is a way to categorize what we want without losing what we need. The stability we require  when a conversation is happening and we don't want to miss a beat. We all know the types of conversations that seem to start off innocently and then 3 days later it feels as if the whole world has changed. Except now we have a way to track and maintain involvement even while we sleep so we no longer have the fear of missing out because it's all still there. It's the feeling we get when we are a part of something special. So it's important we have a structure defined to give us comfort so that we can always reach back and see our old friends when we desire.

Where do we go from here?
I think it's ideas like these that can help shape conversation and community building to come, if each post, idea, topic or discussion had a certain hashtag they would be forever searchable. Unique Hashtags could play a large role in where search might go, they will play a large role in company branding and they will allow for a new means of being found via the web. Indexing hashtags is in its infancy but the possibilities are endless. Who is to say what will happen from here but I would suggest grabbing onto a couple hashtags and making them your own. It's like claiming your own digital plot of land, better do it now before all the good ones get taken!

What do you think about hashtags? Do you think if properly utilized they can help build small engaged communities around ideas? I do, but I would love to hear your thoughts...so please feel free to comment below. If you happen to share this post, please use #GotHashtags as the identifier. Thus far on G Plus there are no entries with this moniker, so let's see what we can do about that!

Written by +Michael Bennett who works at Michlin Metals. A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Complete SMO & SEO News Summary for June 2013

Below is a Google Drive presentation that I put together based on +Joshua Berg's information rich post regarding all the June related SEO happenings. Again, all I did here was to compile his information into a presentation that should allow for a different type of consumption.

Joshua really did an spectacular job here and he deserves all the credit. My presentation takes his information and put it into little bite size pieces. That way if you can't read it all at once, you can just stop at any given slide and pick it right back up when you have another moment. All these articles, videos, posts or hangouts are by some of the best and brightest here on G+.  So feel free to peruse at your leisure and make sure to thank Joshua as well on his original post: A Complete SMO & SEO News Summary for June 2013.

We have cameos from the following people:
+Joshua Berg
+Matt Cutts
+John Mueller
+martin shervington
+Vic Gundotra
+Barry Schwartz
+Mark Traphagen
+Ronnie Bincer
+Chef Dennis Littley
+Cyrus Shepard
+David Amerland
+Chris Crum
+Kristi Hines
+Dan Petrovic
+Toni Anicic
+Danny Sullivan
+Ryan Hanley
+Mike Allton
+Yifat Cohen

A Complete SMO & SEO News Summary for June 2013

Michael Bennett works for Michlin Metals Inc. A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+

Friday, July 5, 2013

How Semantic Search Might Struggle to Read Between the Lines - July 2013

We obviously know that Google can reach certain conclusions from all the data that is shared virtually every second. +David Amerland king of everything semantic can tell us how every word we use is interpreted by Google. How each of those words when used in slightly different order (syntax) can have an entirely different meaning.

I read the article shared below by +Nikolaos Bogioglou and it really got me thinking.

The internet's new secret social codes

If Google is leaning towards semantic search, as they are, how can they ever hope to conquer that beast if people are going to start using code to bury meaning within the context or syntax of their word selection?
Granted these coded messages are out there and they are fewer and far between but just food for thought.
Semantic search is hard enough as it is and I won't bother to explain that to you today, read David's new book which is available from amazon Google: Semantic Search.

Semantic Search in a Nutshell
To summarize briefly it's how amazon knows what books you might like based on your previous purchases, or how Google can recommend certain products, destinations, or articles  based on your previous searches. Everything is data, every search, every message, every post. EVERYTHING.

Google knows this and uses it. That's what this social layer is so important to them. Now they can know what we like, what we eat, what we drink, where we go, who we talk to...and the opposite is also true, what we don't like, who we don't talk to, where we won't go...All that corresponding data is information to them as well.

There are so many signs, signals and noise that float through these networks and layers that to decipher it seems almost impossible. In some cases, like the article discusses it very well may be.

How Not to Encrypt a Message Today
So back in the day a story goes that a man shaved the head of one of his slaves, tattooed his message on the slaves head, let the slaves hair grow back and then sent him on his way. That's a type of encoding. No one could read the message that lay buried beneath the slaves hair. Did it work? I am sure many a time it did, I am also sure that at some point people got wise which meant a new way had to be created to mask, hide, conceal or encode the real meaning in a message.

Today users can speak volumes right in the open while concealing their actual meaning within the words chosen. Only a select few would ever know the true meaning. If and only if the sender had included them in their inner circle, given them the encryption key and from there, the message could be shared, interpreted and understood. Right in the light of day, in front of the world in a totally concealed way.

Reading Between the Lines
This evokes many thoughts in my brain. I think to the Mob in this country knowing their phones are wire tapped and using code to get around the feds while talking on watched lines. It reminds me of how Pablo Escobar used different terms to mean different things that only his crew knew the real translation. A certain movie meant a time or a certain time really mean a date.

People have been coding messages for eons but now our messages are traded in real time every second. How can Google expect to read between the lines? Don't get me wrong, I don't think that Google has trouble deciphering many of our true worded sentiments. Again though, what happens if kids start creating codes to get around their parents infringing on their social networks? What can a search engine do to then figure out what is actually being said??? Not a whole lot, unless they have every key to every private conversation which they of course do not.

Why a message might mean more than what's Written
It's like 2 kids create a code that says any post I write that says: I'll see you at 7 and plan on being home by around 9 maybe a little after, could mean: I will see you at 10pm and plan on being home a little after midnight. Totally innocuous and innocent as far a parent is concerned. Their kid will be home by 9. They would have no idea that their kid is actually sneaking out of the house and blowing curfew.

No one is the wiser, and this is a very innocent example. There are formulas that could be shared, trade secrets, sensitive intelligence info, secret dates of events...I love espionage books and this is the fodder for many a book I have read...The possibilities to create coded languages are why we have such sophisticated encryption techniques...to encrypt the very message we want shared...However, in order to read an encrypted message one must have the code, the key, the legend to the map to decipher it's meaning.

I am sure we have all messed w/coded messages just like Ralphy and his Ovaltine prize ring from A Christmas Story. It's a secret code that only those people participating in the dialogue know about.

Syntax Changes Everything
Back to the top, if people can't gather the meaning from the written word, how can a machine? I know that 98% of the messages sent are to be used as is...That's why semantic search is so powerful and going to change the way we all use the web. That's not what I am debating. I am merely posing another view point that might give semantic search a little more to chew on before it spits out it's result.

I see signs all day long and G+ leads me through doors I never thought to walk through but this article just got me thinking about how I interpret all those signs and when signs get lumped together if they are mixed up then the wrong message gets delivered. Or maybe it's the right message and we just don't know it...

Semiotics:   the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy,metaphorsymbolism, signification, and communication
Symantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures 

Michlin Metals Inc is A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+

Monday, July 1, 2013

How To Get AutoAwesome GooglePlus Badges On Your Blog or Website

As a Follow up to +Mike Allton's article: Google+ Releases Gorgeous New Site Badges
I just did a little experiment and found out something pretty interesting. Looks like if the cover image on your Google Plus Profile Page, Business Page, or Even Community has an "Autoawesome" image, it will display in the new badges. (Link to badge code found here: Google Plus Badges)

So as illustrated on the top right of my desktop blog (not mobile version) or below, as well as on my Michlin Metals Inc web page you can see that the badge is actually animated.  Just like the hovercard and cover image on your Google Plus Pages. I was able to shoot the images for this cover and +Stephan Hovnanian  helped me overlay some text. 

What Can AutoAwesome Do for You?
The new badge sparks instant interest as it captures a customers focus on first glance. The use of an autoawesome cover image translates to an extraordinarily more dynamic impression. When used properly, the motion in the image can draw positive attention to your brand by grabbing the eye of your potential customer. 

Are there Really Benefits?
Of course there are. Not only do sparks fly, it attracts their attention and also gives them a convenient place to click. Ending in a plus 1, a follow or best yet, both. That a positive outcome for your brand, either way
How Can I Get this Done?
Well, first you need an autoawesome image as your cover b/c as we know from Stephan's post they appear in over 17 places (not just 16 any more like we thought. Keep your eyes peeled for another post from him about this last placement) In order to get all 17 places to display your motion autoawesome image, your cover image must first be optimized and set. In order to ensure that image is optimized, I will point you to one of Stephan's posts that explains everything needed to create the properly optimized cover image.

There are many tips to taking a proper autoawesome image but for this it's recommended you use a tripod and shoot w/a DSLR camera. (or just invest in this kickstarter project and wait till it arrives: Spinpod) Thanks to +Denise Wakeman for that little beauty.     

Just in case you don't believe there are that many places that utilize your Hovercard or E business card. Here is the post by +Stephan Hovnanian about the 17 places your image shows up via the hovercard:
The Google Plus Hovercard: Your calling card across all of Google

Simple, Easy, Effective
All you need is a stunning autoawesome cover image and a few lines of code. Some proper badge placement on your website or blog and you have a brand new way to not only drive more traffic to your G+ pages but to represent your brand in an autoawesome and dynamic fashion. 


Michlin Metals Inc is A Woman Owned Small Business Aerospace Metal and Stainless Steel Distributor. Follow Michlin on Twitter @MichlinMetalsFacebookLinkedIn, Google+ or on the Web at www.michlinmetals.com. More on the author on Google+