google plus – Stay N Alive

How to Get Notified When People Talk About Your Website on Google+

Want a notification any time someone comments or posts about your website on Google+? You can do this with Google Analytics:

1. Go to the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics for your website
2. Expand the “Social” sub-section.
3. Click on “Sources”.
4. Click on the “Activity Stream” tab next to the “Social Referral” tab

Now you’ll have a list of everyone posting and commenting about your website on Google+. You just need to create an email alert. To do this:

1. At the top of the page, click the “Email” link (next to “Advanced Segments”).
2. Select the attachment type you want.
3. Choose how frequently you want to be notified (I choose “Daily” – it would be nice if they had an “Immediately” option).
4. Designate an email address for who will receive the report.

5. Enter some text into the body of the email that you want to appear in each email you receive.

Click “Send”, and you’ll soon be receiving notifications of every person that links to your website from Google+!

This #dummiestip will be in Chapter 13 of Google+ Marketing For Dummies

Google+ Marketing For Dummies: My New Book!

Today I mailed in the contract for my new book, Google+ Marketing For Dummies. This will be my 5th book and 3rd in the “For Dummies” series by my publisher Wiley. It also marks my second book for Google+, among 3 other books for Facebook.

You may have seen articles recently, fueled by Wall Street Journal, suggesting Google+ traffic is dwindling. As a result you may be asking yourself, “Why is he writing another book for Google+ if it has no traffic?” The truth is, I wouldn’t be writing this book if I didn’t see such potential for Google+. After articles like Wall Street Journal’s, I realized there is clearly a lack of education out there on the value Google+ provides for both consumers and marketers. I’m writing this because of articles like that, and I hope I can convince you of the best secret on the internet right now.

In preliminary tests, engagement is already proving to be a higher-weighted factor now in Google search results. Articles outside, and posts on Google+ are showing to weigh very heavily above even recency of articles in search results on Google. We also see this with Google now integrating Google+ results into Google search results. This is just the tip of the Iceberg. For that reason alone, marketers need to be giving Google+ another look. Google+ is not just about traffic to, but even more about how you rank and appear in other Google products. As I have always said, the future of Google+ is just Google.

Google+ Marketing For Dummies will make a very nice companion to my first Google+ book, Google+ For Dummies, Portable Edition. The first targets consumers and shows them how to get used to the social network, see results and value, and how to make the most of the service as a user. Google+ Marketing For Dummies will then take you, as a Marketer, Brand Manager, or Business Owner, to learn what matters most: how to use Google+ to generate more awareness for your brand, generate new leads, and in turn convert those new users into customers. In fact, you may want to offer the first book to your customers, and use the second book to learn how to market to those customers.

I’ll begin writing in the next week, and should have the final manuscript submitted by middle of this year. If all goes well you should see this in print by late summer or Fall. This book will be a welcome addition to your arsenal of books to further your edge against the competition. I’m very excited to get this book out the door as quick as possible so you can learn what Wall Street Journal doesn’t.

As a Teaser, here are the currently planned Chapter names (these, of course, are subject to change) – see anything I’m missing?:

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started With Google+
  • Chapter 2: Understanding Google+: The “Plus”
  • Chapter 3: Understanding Google+: The “Google”
  • Chapter 4: Integrating Google+ Into Your Existing Social Media Strategy
  • Chapter 5: Learning Your Audience on Google+
  • Chapter 6: Building a Google+ Presence
  • Chapter 7: Building a Search Strategy Using Google+
  • Chapter 8: Focusing on Real People and Relationships
  • Chapter 9: Utilizing Hangouts to Share Your Brand
  • Chapter 10: Advertising on Google With Social Ads
  • Chapter 11: Building Relationships Through Google CRM
  • Chapter 12: Building Website Authority Through Google+
  • Chapter 13: Measuring Google+ Activity
  • Chapter 14: Building Apps on Google+
  • Chapter 15: 10 Ways You Can Add Value to Your Website Using Google+
  • Chapter 16: 10 Examples of Good Google+ Business Practice
  • Chapter 17: 10 Tips For Small Businesses Using Google+
I’ll keep you updated on Google+, Facebook, and the Google+ Page for Google+ For Dummies. Or, keep searching for it on Google or Amazon.

Facebook’s Need for Consistency in the Competition With Google

UPDATE: After removing everything in the description and any mention of competition, the ad mentioned here that I created was approved. However, there are still some issues of consistency that Facebook needs to get around. Maybe it’s just a communication issue? Read on…

When people such as Google and Twitter mention their inability to integrate with Facebook, I traditionally shake my head. Knowing people at all three companies, and being fairly close to Facebook, it’s just not the Facebook I know. After all, I see things such as Youtube integrate just fine with Facebook, but Google complains they can’t seem to integrate Facebook’s platform into Google. And Facebook currently allows users to automatically post to Twitter, so why can’t Twitter allow you to identify your Facebook friends on Twitter? It just hasn’t made sense. I always thought it was something Google or Twitter were doing wrong – maybe they weren’t following Facebook’s TOS or maybe they weren’t trying hard enough. However, lately after the publication of my book, Google+ For Dummies, I’m starting to understand the confusion. Facebook isn’t being consistent, or clear, in what they view as competition, and who can integrate with their network.

Just recently I tried to create an ad for my new book. Of course, the book is about Google+, which according to Mark Zuckerberg himself, is a “little version of Facebook”. It’s clear Facebook sees the competition. So it was no surprise to me that an ad I submitted that shared a book about Facebook’s new competition would get denied. What is surprising however is that they allow me to create a Facebook Page about the book, but don’t allow me in any way to promote that Page. There’s the consistency I’m talking about.

I mentioned the Youtube example. If you use Youtube you’ll notice the Facebook integration prevalent throughout the site. I’m sure Facebook sees great benefit to this – people love sharing videos, and Youtube is a great place to post videos. Yet, when other elements of Google try to integrate Facebook, they get denied with little reason for the denial. Ask Kevin Marks, Google’s former OpenSocial and Friend Connect (APIs for building Google apps) lead who tried to integrate Facebook Connect (as it was called at the time) with Google’s Friend Connect universal login. Facebook allowed Youtube’s Facebook integration, but denied that of Friend Connect, citing claims to the way they were accessing the API, and being unwilling to work with Google on the way they were accessing Facebook. Google eventually gave up. In fact, there was a time Facebook was supposedly, at least according to various claims on Google+, even blocking invites to Google+ in their news feed.

I thought some of these competitors of Facebook may have been blowing it out of proportion, until I talked to a few of them personally. I received pretty good information from close sources at Twitter that Facebook has actively blocked them when they have tried to integrate Facebook into their network in the past. So what? Facebook can integrate Twitter but Twitter can’t integrate Facebook? From what I’ve been told by employees at Twitter, it seems that way. I’ve heard the same from friends at Google.

Facebook has competition – you can’t blame them for wanting to block out the competition. I’ve heard some of their competitors say they’d do the same if they were in Facebook’s shoes. However, what I don’t get is the lack of consistency. If I can’t create ads to promote my Facebook Page promoting a book on Google+, I shouldn’t be allowed to create a Page about a book on Google+. If Google can’t access the Facebook API, Youtube shouldn’t either. If Facebook can integrate Twitter into their site, Twitter should be able to integrate Facebook into theirs. From a user perspective, I use all these networks for different reasons – to me they aren’t competitors, and I shouldn’t be forced to pick one or another. It’s an extremely confusing place to be when you’re actually a part of this inconsistent game. This is getting ridiculous.

Wondering About Google+? Do Me a Favor and Go Buy My New Book.

You may have read some of my posts about Google+ wondering what it is. Or, maybe you’ve tried out the service, and just can’t see the point. Or perhaps you’re even an active user, looking for tips and strategies to improve your presence on Google+. Whatever your situation, could I ask you a favor? Go and buy my latest book, Google+ For Dummies, Portable Edition now.

Google+ For Dummies, just released on Amazon on Friday (and available for the Kindle, too), aims to show anybody, especially typical Facebook users, what they can get from the service. It goes over how to set up your profile, what a “Circle” is, and why you want to circle somebody. If you’ve already joined and just can’t get any activity on the network, have no fear – the book shows you how to overcome that common problem, and how to gain real value from the service.

In the book, I show how to use the various mobile apps for Android and iPhone, as well as the mobile web. I show how to use Google+ Games for networking and as a productive means to build relationships with people you want to network with. I show you what the etiquette is on the service, and why certain things may be considered appropriate and certain things shouldn’t. It is very up to date, and right now the only resource in print showing you how to get going with the service.

The book is currently available on Amazon in both print, and on the Kindle. Both versions are only under $8 – it’s a 140 page easy read chock full of information on Google’s new service. That’s just over the price of a typical value meal at your favorite fast food restaurant!

I rarely sell on this blog, but if you can I’d really appreciate the favor of checking out the book, and leaving a review on Amazon to let me know how it went. Oh, and don’t forget to share this with your friends!

If you’re a blogger and would like to consider doing a review let me know at my email address on this blog – I’ll see what I can do to get you a copy.

I’m a Dummy (again)! Writing Google+ For Dummies, Portable Edition

I’m proud to announce that as of this week I am going to be writing Google+ For Dummies, Portable Edition. This follows my last Dummies book, Facebook Application Development For Dummies, and will go back to my original roots (through the book I wrote with Jason Alba, I’m on Facebook–Now What???), writing easy to understand books that help people new to social networks understand how to make them productive and useful environments. It will be one of the very first books on Google+ produced by a major publisher.

Google+ For Dummies, Portable Edition will begin as a short, easy to read e-book, and expand to a print version shortly after. We did this instead of a full Dummies book because of how new Google+ currently is and its likelihood to change in the short term future. It will cover everything currently available to Google+ (and anything they release in the next month or so), and I hope to bring out the best tips, tricks, and little known secrets about the service in a jam packed, easy to read, 150 or so pages. It will likely have many more editions and will eventually compliment a much larger Dummies book on the topic.

Please stay tuned to my Google+ feed, my Facebook Page, and this blog and I’ll keep you updated on release dates and more. We hope to launch this in the next month!

In the meantime, please like the book’s Facebook Page to get updates on the launch, or you can just follow me over on Google+!

Better Noise Control on Google+ is Coming, but its More Beautiful Than You Think

Over the last 2 or 3 years Facebook, Google, Plaxo, Myspace, and others have all been working on a standard to make fixing the noise problem easier. It’s called (pronouced “Activity Streams”), and its intention was to make it so companies don’t have to duplicate the efforts of re-creating stream formats in their news feed or “activity stream”, providing an open format to make implementation of this simple for both companies and developers. The standard encompasses multiple types of formats for presenting data, some even mimicking Facebook’s combined story syntax (“collections”) where you’ll see multiple shares in a single post, or collapsed commenting. In addition, it provides a simple API for accessing this data in Atom and MediaRSS format.

The key players?

There were others, but at the forefront were Chris Messina and Joseph Smarr, currently both major players on the Google+ team in directing its design. See this video from 2009, when both were not working for Google:

Here’s the deal though. isn’t just about a common API or noise control. See this presentation by Chris Messina about a year ago:

Activity Streams, Socialism, & the Future of Open Source [slideshare id=4382152&w=425&h=355&sc=no]

In it he talks about the vision of using for distributed social networks. So, not only would you have a beautiful, noise-controlled format on sites like Facebook and Google+, but you also get to bring your content to other networks. Through this format, developers can bring content from Google+ over to Facebook, or from Facebook over to, and for any site that supports this standard, the users get to choose what content they want to share, and where they want to share it to. It’s federation at its finest.

So as we’re talking about any noise problems on Google+ (I think the choice to launch with a noisy stream was smart because it means users are always seeing a constant flow of information and followers, and that makes people feel good), keep in mind that the people behind fixing the noise problem in the open standards world are also in charge of the design for Google+. I have no doubt that noise control, but much more than that, distributed social networks, are on their way to Google+, and the solution is going to be beautiful.

Oh, and Google Buzz already supports in case you were wondering (as does MySpace, and Facebook used to).

You can follow me on Google+ at

"Follow" Networks and The Creep Factor – Why It Isn’t a Facebook Play

As I was setting up an account for my wife to be able to post to this blog today, I created a Google+ profile for her. She knew, and will probably even use it – some day. However, there’s something I just can’t get passed, and that’s that I’m a little creeped out by the fact that just about anyone can follow her on Google+. The stalker factor is a real risk with systems that allow follow-type relationships. It’s going to be a really tough battle for Google to get passed this without any sort of 2-way friend relationship like Facebook if they want a mass audience. I’m starting to think that’s not what they’re going for.

Marshall Kirkpatrick had a great post where he mentioned that Google+ could be Google’s move to try and make Facebook a more open environment. I suggested it made some sense – a closed environment is a good way to compete with an open one (and vice-versa), however there’s one flaw to some of this – Facebook actually isn’t that closed. I can make my posts public there, just like Google+. Facebook’s API is one of the most accessible APIs I’ve come across. Facebook has given users almost 100% control of what apps have access to about them. Facebook even preempted Google by almost a year in having a way to backup your data to your own machine if you like. (See Louis Gray’s backup of his Facebook data here) David Recordon, Senior Open Programs Manager at Facebook, confirmed that point, pointing out that Google+ actually validates Google’s own open strategy, not just Facebook’s:

“One thing I appreciate is how Google is now developing skin in the game for when they try to design these decentralized protocols. These sorts of standards are honestly hard to get right and only come out successful when they follow real products. It’s been frustrating to see “Google invents open standard ” for the past two years without an appreciation for what it takes to make work at scale. And by “scale” I don’t mean anything to do with bits on the wire.”

In a sense, I see Google and Facebook working together, on 2 different planes to open up the social landscape. I don’t see them competing necessarily – Google is too open for that to be the case. On Google anyone can follow anyone – the relationships aren’t always 2-way, and this is a very popular feature amongst users of Twitter, which include the early adopter base, the tech blogs, and the media. Google+ has a follow model, similar to Twitter’s – not a friend model like Facebook’s. Again – there’s that stalker factor again. If you’re worried about stalkers, Facebook is just a much more secure and private environment to protect from that. It’s simply a lot harder to have a stalker on Facebook than it is on Google+ or Twitter.

Instead, I see Google competing more with Twitter and other more open follow-centric networks. It’s a different type of social graph than Facebook’s. For that reason I just can’t see my wife, or my daughter, or any of my kids or less tech-savvy friends using Google+ unless they adopt a more private 2-way friending model. It’s simply too risky. As a husband and father, I’m just not sure I can trust suggesting it to my wife and children and not have them expose something they’re not supposed to expose. I’m already seeing the problem of people trying to figure out what Circles do what, and people unknowingly posting things as public when they don’t mean to. On Facebook that all defaults as your friends only. That’s the advantage to Facebook – you can trust, for the most part (key words), that what you post will only be seen by those you specifically have friended. I don’t think Google should be scared of that, either.

The fact is, as it now stands, Google and Facebook just aren’t competitors at the moment, and they shouldn’t see each other as such. I know originally I said “Facebook should be shaking in their boots” (although I still stand by the fact that Google beat Facebook to encompassing the entire web experience – that will change though) – my hope is that at least got Facebook’s attention just in case Google does decide to go for those more intimate types of relationships (which they very well could), but for now, the way it is set up, that just isn’t going to be happen. Instead, I think it is Twitter that should really be paying attention, and let’s hope they do try to compete. The competition is a healthy one. Twitter has quite the competition though!

In the end, yes, this is a battle for your social graph. I do think there are different types of social graphs though, and the battle right now is over the less personalized graph and the more public information. If you do compare it to Facebook, perhaps Facebook Pages and the fan-to-Page relationship is the real social graph you should be looking at as competition. At the same time, will Google ever go after the more intimate relationships that are less educated on privacy? That’s hard to say, but I’m starting to feel Facebook isn’t the comparison right now.

If you’re looking for “one network to rule them all”, at the moment I don’t think there is such a thing. In reality, the “one network to rule them all” of the future probably won’t even be Google or Facebook. In the future, you’ll pull your social graphs from both services, and put them into your own more personalized network on the various sites you visit on the web (like Facebook Connect). In the end, in ad-focused networks like Google and Facebook, that is what they would prefer to see anyway – your social graph, from their networks, across all the websites on the internet. Each product experience will have its own reasons to choose which networks those connections come from.

Too Much Noise on Google Plus? Here is How I Deal With It

A lot of people are complaining that power users such as myself and Robert Scoble and others are causing too much noise in their stream. Scoble’s wife even quit the service because of it (and I can’t even convince my wife to use it even though I created an account for her). It’s nothing new, though – this is a problem Friendfeed had when they first released their real-time stream (Just Google “friendfeed noise” to see what I mean). However, there are ways of managing it. I’d like to share some of the ways I deal with the noise.

To start, let’s cover what generally causes the noise:

  1. It’s not necessarily about how many people you follow. Scoble follows thousands. I follow several hundred more personal contacts. However, as long as you don’t use the main stream as much, the number you follow really doesn’t matter. What matters is who you interact with.
  2. It is about how many conversations and what types of conversations you interact with. For instance, if you comment on one of my posts, you’ll get notifications for every comment on that conversation. On my posts, and people like Robert Scoble or Chris Pirillo or others, that will be a lot of notifications!
So, how do you fix this problem? At the moment Google+ doesn’t have a whole lot of noise filtering options for people. In some ways that’s why it’s growing so fast. It’s in your face, and forces you to interact. At the same time that’s pretty overwhelming for many people. Friendfeed overcame much of this by creating a pause button, and causing the stream to pause when you moused over it. They also collapsed many of the longer comment streams (Facebook does this too) so that only the first or last comment appeared. I imagine Google+ will do this in the near future. I don’t doubt they’ll find a solution. However, until that happens here is how I deal with it:
  1. Turn on your email notifications and ignore the big red circle. The first thing I did when I joined Google+ was turn off the email notifications because they were becoming too overwhelming (you can do this with the little gear icon in the upper-right of Google Plus). It turned out I found myself becoming too obsessed with how many things were happening in my stream, and it kept reminding me on every Google product I participated in. So I turned them back on, but with one caveat:
  2. Uncheck “Email” for “Comments on a post after I comment on it”. I leave every other email option checked. If you leave this checked, when you comment on one of my posts or one of Robert Scoble’s posts you’ll very quickly be overwhelmed by email. Not even I can handle that! The other options can be managed though, and won’t be nearly as frequent. If someone in one of those threads wants your attention, they’ll mention you with a “+your name” and you’ll still get an email (this is because “mentions me in a post” is still checked in your settings).
  3. Use Gmail. Gmail provides some great management tools for managing noise. First of all, you have priority inbox which you can train to not mark Google Plus posts as priority. You can create filters to send them to another label and skip the inbox if you like, and you can just skip over your notifications as you have time. And the best part about Gmail? Grouped conversations! Me personally – I like the notifications so I keep them in my inbox. Here’s what I do further though to manage that type of flow:
  4. Mute. Mute. Mute! When you’re in Gmail, just press “m” on your keyboard when you have a Google+ thread open, you’ll never see that thread again appear in your inbox. If you want it to appear again, just search for it and press “m” again and it will turn on the new messages to your inbox again. You don’t lose any messages this way. They just skip your inbox so you don’t have to pay attention to them any more. Also, in your Google Plus stream, if there’s a long stream that’s bugging you, you can just click the small triangle in the upper-right of the thread and select “Mute this post”. The post will no longer appear in your stream – no one ever knows you muted it.
This method has worked really well for me so far. It’s the same method I use on Friendfeed to manage my stream mostly. Please let me know how it works for you, or if you have any better ways of managing the noise in your stream better. You can do so in the comments below:
As always, you can follow me on Google+ at

Where is Your Audience?

Google+ is all the rage right now. For those that can get in, it’s all they can talk about on Google+. For those that can’t get in, it’s all they can talk about outside of Google+. Or so it seems – that’s what the people I follow and pay attention are doing. It doesn’t mean that’s what the people in your network are doing, and in fact, there are many people out there that don’t even know what Google+ is at the moment – I would predict that’s the majority right now.

Google+ is all about “Circles”. We all have different types of “Circles” of friends. Each of these “Circles” is a different audience and each of them probably talks about different types of things. I have an entire circle of hundreds of LDS friends (I work for the LDS Church) on Google+, and their conversations are much different than the Circle I have of Tech bloggers and influencers. At the same time I have circles that aren’t even on Google+. My family, for instance, minus one or two, are all over on Facebook – that’s where I go to talk about family related stuff, and you’ll probably find a much more personal “me” over there. In fact, if that’s your audience, come see me over there.

At the same time, I have certain “circles” over on Twitter that don’t exist on Facebook or Google+ – for instance, I’ll hear a lot more about what my Twitter employee friends are up to over there. Or, on LinkedIn, I have “circles” of professional friends – if I ever want to hire, or have a professional-related question, you better bet I’ll go to LinkedIn for such. The way I met people like Robert Scoble and Chris Pirillo was on Friendfeed of all places.

Did you know that Myspace is still one of the most popular networks for kids age 13-18? Now, that’s quickly diminishing as kids move over to Facebook, but as a marketer, I’d consider going to Myspace if my audience is 13-18 year olds. That would be a major part of my business strategy.

The future of “Social Networks” aren’t social networks at all. The fact is, and Charlene Li at Altimeter Group has said this numerous times, social networks will “be like air” in the future. They will be integrated into everyday “circles” that you participate in.

For instance, at work many of use use Yammer to associate with other coworkers. It makes much more sense to participate on Yammer than Google+ if I’m to communicate with coworkers – there are many networks like this. The future will be full of these types of branded “circle” networks.

Imagine branded social networks for your company, or the ability to collaborate in a social way via your High School or College’s website with your classmates. You’ll never have to go to a site like Facebook or Google+ or Twitter to communicate with those closest to you, and they’ll all talk with each other. Or what if a site like or enabled families to communicate better with each other in a branded way, just for families? There would be no need to go to Facebook to communicate with family members any more.

As social networks are able to communicate better and better with each other, and more and more standards are built to federate the different circles you participate in, you won’t go to or Google+ or Twitter. You’ll go to the brands and the areas you’re most familiar with and your friends and family will “just be there”. Those are where your real “circles” are.

The fact is no social network is going to be a “Facebook killer” or “Twitter killer” or even “Myspace killer” (remember the stat I shared above?). If anything kills any of these it will be branded experiences that make it easier for you to communicate in the environments you’re most comfortable with. In the end, it’s about where your audience is, who you want to communicate with, and the best places to do that.

This will be different for every person out there – every individual, every professional, every family member, and every marketer. We all have different audiences and it’s up to you to decide which environments are the best places to reach those audiences.

New Images Suggest "Shared Circles" Coming Soon in Google+

Florian Rohrweck has been on a role lately uncovering upcoming features to Google+ (including noticing features in Google’s code hinting at Google+’s launch days before it launched and as other bloggers were under embargo and being demoed top secret versions), and it seems Google isn’t keeping their upcoming features well enough behind a test area somewhere. In a recent blog post (language), Rohrweck uncovered some new images hinting at the possibility of sharable Circles to others you want to share to in Google+. Such functionality would be comparable to Twitter Lists, which anyone can subscribe to.

Looking at the image names, each one starts with “shared_circle”, providing open, closed, and highlighted versions of each, and an icon representing the circles. It would seem that Google+ is readying a way to let you share certain circles of yours that anyone can subscribe to and view. This would completely replace just about every feature Twitter has of benefit (other than perhaps the 140 character limit and SMS interface if you call those benefits) – it will be interesting to see what happens as more and more Twitter users get Google+ accounts.

In addition to Shared Circles, Rohrweck seems to have also uncovered that Google has added some sort of Questions icons to its default set of Sprites for Google+, hinting that they are readying a Questions product for launch soon to compete with the likes of Facebook Questions and Quora. Also among Rohrweck’s finds were a Chess piece icon, which may be one of the games also rumored to come out soon.

If you’re looking for a great blog to get the dirt on what Google is preparing, be sure to check out Rohrweck’s blog here. It will be interesting to see, with more CSS, Javascript, and other source digging, what will be found as we move forward (and if Google finally decides to implement a testing area for these types of releases before the products go live). Great job Florian! You’re always welcome to do a guest post or two (or three) here. (Someone should offer Florian a job at Google, or maybe Facebook?)

As always, you can follow me on Google Plus at