Setting up Google Plus for Community
Starting Your Own Google+ Community
I am writing this letter to you after a summer of #clmooc. What does that have to do with showing you how to create your own Google+ Community? I am hoping that this will become obvious in what follows in text and screencast, but to answer that question now I would have to say that like most projects you need to have some ‘why.’ The answer to ‘why’ engenders the ‘how’ and we are off and running. In this case our ‘why’ was to help others learn “connected learning principles and values.” The Google+ community was our ‘how.’ What follows is a very quick start guide for using Google+ communities, an outline of tools and affordances and adjacent possibilities. In other words this shows you how to support any ‘why’ with this particular ‘how.’
What this quick start guide isn’t? It is not a discussion of open v. proprietary system. Our facilitator group was aware of the lack of openness and of the privacy concerns that a G+ Community software represents. We made the choice that it was a necessary compromise for the larger goal of implementing the connected learning values and principles. You may make other choices. If so, let me know about them because I am trying to find those myself so that I can make my community choices align better with principles of openness and privacy that are inherent in connected learning. Until then….G+ Communities it is.
Starting a community
I suggest that you join a few communities before you create one. that means that you need to sign up for Gmail, that is the key to the Google Highway. Once you have a Gmail account watch the following screencast to learn more:
I also recommend that you join the G+Community Quick Start Group on Diigo for continuing updates and bookmarks from other resources. Here is Martin Shervington’s all-encompassing (yes, I do love Mitch Hedberg) Google + users guide as well.
Here is an excellent screencast that shows how to access and join communities:
G+ Communities might be thought of as the visual descendant of the Google Forums and Groups. I think of them as much warmer and more congenial environments than that. What follows are screencasts that outline discrete steps to getting your G+ Community up and running. I have not created these, but I plan on following up with specific ones that outline what we did in #clmooc on our G+Community page.
Here is a screencast on creating a G+ Community page of your own:
Once you have the G+ community and you have invited folks to come you might want to return to your original motivation in creating the community in the first place. That will dictate your use of the ‘sticky’ elements at the top of the Community space–the ‘about’ space and the related links.
Perhaps the most important part of your G+ community is fostering the community activities. This can be done by assembling a good group of people there, starting compelling discussion threads, and most of all, keeping the conversations going. Seeking and developing others to co-facilitate your community is also helpful.
It may take some thoughtful care and feeding, but once your community reaches a critical mass, you may see some amazing collaborations happen.