The social web keeps coming up with new ways for us to create communities. Recently Google+, one of my favorite social media sites, added this capability in the form of Google+ Communities. They are easy to use and employ this service’s unique abilities within a community model.
There are also some great new communities on Google+ for authors and publishers, but I’ll get to those in a minute.
Four Kinds of Google+ Communities
There’s now a link on Google+ in the left sidebar for Communities. If you belong to any, a menu will “fly out” and show them to you.
Google says that:
Google+ communities are places for people to get together and talk about the interests they share. Learn how to join an existing community or create a new one.
It turns out creating a community is quite easy, and you can pick from four kinds:
- Public—Anyone can join or see the posts to the community page, and posts will be found in a search.
- Public moderated—The same as a public group, but moderators have to approve all new members.
- Private—Like the moderated public group, but posts can only be seen by members.
- Private hidden—You have to be invited to join, the posts are private and shielded from search.
I think you can see with this range of security and openness, you can create almost any kind of community experience.
After you make these choices you name your community, upload a photo to serve as an avatar, and complete the “About” section. You’re ready to go. But make sure you’ve got your privacy settings right—they can’t be changed later.
How Google+ Communities Grow
To see how this works out in practice, and how communities perfectly enhance the control Google+ gives you over how you share your content, take a look at a couple of new communities for indie authors.
This community, founded by Evo Terra of E Publish Unam has grown in just a few months to a lively group of 2,129 people at last count.
As you can see from the title panel, this is a public group and you can go check out the discussions, like the one about book cover design that’s going on now.
APE: Authors, Publishers, Entrepreneurs is a private group started in conjunction with the Guy Kawasaki book launch. It’s also an active group with several moderators that’s currently made up of 1,562 members.
The branding on their title panel reflects the artwork on the book of the same name.
Both these communities—and a number of others that are getting started on Google+, provide more resources and powerful networking opportunities for indie publishers.
Some might say there are already enough places to go for networking, but the important thing is to find the right places for you. Google+ has a lot to recommend it as a social networking site. And it’s close connection with Google’s search capabilities is just another reason why more people are spending time and effort posting content and making connections there.
Google+ communities have the flexibility to provide that kind of opportunity for your communities, too. Considering Google just added this feature in December 2012, you can see the potential for growth here is substantial.
These two groups are growing quickly, and there are others with almost 100,000 members already.
For more information, see Google’s Google+ Communities FAQ page.
Because of the membership controls, you could use a Google+ community for:
- Releasing parts of your book or a complete manuscript to select readers
- Offering bonus content to readers who have signed up with an email address
- Creating a place where sensitive or personal information can be shared privately
- Organizing a fan community if lots of your readers use Google+
Can you see a place for a Google+ community for your readers, customers, or fans?