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If you have read any of my recent posts across the Internet when I talked about Google+, you know that I have been encouraging you to sign up for it for any number of reasons, including: it currently has the highest growth of social media, it is the only major social media to have Google+ Hangout, and it has all of the resources of Google to make it the most powerful network. But G+ has just gained the most important reason for youth workers to not only sign up, but start using it:
Google is now targeting adolescent users.
The web giant is trying to ensure that they do it right the first time with the proper security for their new 13+ year old audience, including the following”
Hangouts are more secure, removing the teen when someone they do not have in their circle joins.
All public posts require that they verify to proceed.
Only people in the teen’s circles may contact them.
And if that is not enough, they launched the Google+ Safety Center geared towards teens, parents, and educators to ensure maximum training and security.
Google+ hit 100 million people in just under 8 months, a feat that took Facebook 4.5 years and Twitter 5 years. In fact, experts predict that Google+ will quadruple it’s current number by the end of the year, making it a major competitor. And with the support of its more than 60 web apps, something that Facebook does not currently have, it can quickly differentiate itself from the rest of the social media world.
The policy goes into effect March 1st, so you have some time to set everything up. Here is a list of what you can do between now and then:
Setup your own page. Get your page setup and get familiar with the controls. Add friends, church staff, and other members of the congregation to your circles so that you are networked.
Make a brand page for your church and youth group. Add the youth group pictures to it. Make sure there is a link to it from your church’s website as well as whatever social media you use. Figure out how you can use Google+ Hangout for your church. (Much more to come on that later) Add locations to everything you do so that your page is tied into the new Google Search Plus Your World, where people’s search will now include Google+ results.
Set an appropriate amount of time for Google+ My biggest pet peeve is when you sign up for social media, only to never use it again. If you are a business, it is worse to have a web presence that is unused and shows you do not care than to never sign up for it ever. Simply give 5-10 minutes a day to it, nothing more, to network with community members, other youth ministry experts, and figuring out how to best utilize this new medium.
Are you currently on Google+? Share your link below so we can add you to our circles!