Friday, 28 October 2011

How To Use Google+ A Beginners Guide - Part 4 The Stream


In this tutorial we will learn all about The Stream. The Google+ Stream is the main page that you are taken to when you log in to your Google+ account. The Stream is the place where you write your posts and interact with you friends, family and other circles. When you write a post and share with people your post will appear in their stream. In your Stream you will able to see posts from people who are in your circles. You will also be able to see posts from people who are trying to share with you but are not yet in your circles via Incoming, which we will cover in the third part of this tutorial. The Stream will be a big topic to cover so I will break The Stream up into Three tutorials.


Tutorial 1:
  • Writing posts.
Tutorial 2:
  • Reading posts.
  • Filtering the content that you see in your stream.
Tutorial 3:
  • Profile Picture.
  • Incoming content.
  • Notifications.
  • Chat (this will be a topic for an upcoming tutorial).
  • People in your circles.
  • Google+ search box.
  • Suggested People.
  • Send an invitation.
  • Start a Hangout (this will be a topic for an upcoming tutorial).

So let’s get started as we have a lot to cover in this tutorial. We will start our stream tutorial with learning how to write our first post.
  • Click on The Stream tab to make sure we are starting on the correct screen, see Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1


Writing Your First Post


Writing a post

When you share a post the content of that post is added to your stream and to the stream of everyone that you share that post with. To write a post either:
  • Click in the share box with the text Share what’s new... in it, see figure 1-2.
or
  • Click the Share... button at the top right hand side of your screen, see figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2


  • Enter the text for your post.

Formatting your post text

You can perform some basic formatting to you post’s text to make it more interesting.
  • _italics_ will italicize the text between the two underscores _ _.
  • *bold* will bold the text between the two asterisks * *.
  • -strikethrough- will strikethrough the text between the two hyphens - -, see Figure 1-3.

Figure 1-3


You can see the effects of the formatting in the output of the post, see Figure 1-4.

Figure 1-4


Mentioning people in your posts

When you want to mention someone who has a Google+ account in one of your posts you can use the + symbol or the @ symbol. The person that you mentioned in the post may receive a notification that you mentioned them.
  • Type +persons name or @persons name in your post.
  • Click on the name you want from the results that appear as you type, see Figure 1-5a.

Figure 1-5a


  • This will place a name tile in your post, see Figure 1-5b.

Figure 1-5b


  • You can also type their email address instead of their name.


Please note that you can only mention people who are on Google+.

You can however share with people who are not on Google+ by entering their email address after the + or @ symbols.  This will send them an e-mail notification of your post.

Adding a link to your post

It is simple to add a link to your post to share a web site, blog post etc.
  • Click the link icon in the Share box, see Figure 1-6.

Figure 1-6


  • Type the URL of the site or blog which you wish to link to in to the pop-up box that appears, see Figure 1-7a.
  • Click the Add button.

Figure 1-7a


  • A preview of the page you wish to share will now appear below the post, see Figure 1-7b.

Figure 1-7b
        

Adding a photo to your post

To add a photo to your post:
  • Click the Camera icon in the Share box, see Figure 1-8.

Figure 1-8


From the pop-up box that appears you have three choices:
  • Add photos.
  • Create an album.
  • From your phone, see Figure 1-9.

Figure 1-9


Add photos

  • Click the Add photos link, see Figure 1-9, which will open your finder to enable you to choose pictures from your computer.
  • Highlight the photos you want to use, see Figure 1-10.
  • Click the choose button (or the equivalent option on your system), see Figure 1-10.

Figure 1-10

  • Click the Edit photos link to rotate or add a caption to your photos, see Figure 1-11.
  • Click the Add more link to add more photos.

Figure 1-11


We’ll click the Edit photos option and I’ll show you to how to add a caption.
  • Hover over the photo that you want to add a caption to.
  • Click the blue Add Caption link.
  • Enter you caption in the text field, see Figure 1-12, and press the enter key.
  • Repeat this process for any other photo you wish to add a caption to.
  • Click the blue Done button when you have finished.

Figure 1-12


Create an album

To create an album of your photos:
  • Click the Create an album link, see Figure 1-9.
In the pop-up box that appears:
  • Enter a name for your new album in the Album name: text field.
  • Click the Select photos from your computer button, see Figure 1-13, again this will take you to your finder to enable you to choose pictures from your computer.
  • Add the photos you want to use.

Figure 1-13


  • Hover over the photo that you want to add a caption to.
  • Click the blue Add Caption link.
  • Enter your caption in the text field, see Figure 1-14, and press the enter key.
  • As above, repeat this process for any other photo you wish to add a caption to
  • Click the blue Create album button when you have finished.

Figure 1-14


From your phone

When I wrote this tutorial you could only upload photos from your phone if you had downloaded the Google+ Android or iOS app. If you want to upload photos from your phone:
  • Click the From your phone link, Figure 1-9.
In the pop-up box that appears:
  • Click the blue Download the app link, see Figure 1-15.

Figure 1-15


This will take you to the Google mobile web page where you can download the app for your particular phone. Follow the instructions on the page to set up your particular phone, as setting up your mobile phone is beyond the scope of this tutorial.


Adding a video to your post

To add a video to your post:
  • Click the Movie icon in the Share box, Figure 1-16.

Figure 1-16


From the pop-up box that appears you have three choices:
  • Upload video.
  • YouTube.
  • From your phone, see Figure 1-17.

Figure 1-17


Upload video

  • Click the Upload video link, Figure 1-17.
  • Click the Select videos from your computer button from the pop-up box that appears.
  • Select the video that you want to use.
  • Click the choose button (or the equivalent option on your system).
  • Once uploaded (please note this may take some time depending on the video file size) click the Add videos button, see Figure 1-18.

Figure 1-18


YouTube

  • Click the YouTube link, Figure 1-17.
From the pop-up box that appears you have three choices for selecting a YouTube video:
  • Search.
  • Enter a URL.
  • Your YouTube videos, see Figure 1-19.

Figure 1-19


Search

You can search for a video on YouTube by:
  • Click on the Search link from the left hand menu.
  • Enter a search into the text field provided.
  • Click the blue Search icon button, see Figure 1-20.

Figure 1-20


Scroll through the list of videos to find the one that you want then:
  • Click on the video you want, to highlight it.
  • Click the blue Add video button.
Your chosen video will now appear below the text box of your post.

Enter a URL

You can enter a YouTube URL by:
  • Click the Enter a URL link from the left hand menu.
  • Paste the YouTube URL into the text field provided, see Figure 1-21.

Figure 1-21


You can find the YouTube URL of a video by going to youtube.com and finding the video that you want. Under the video will be a Share button, click the Share button, see Figure 1-22.

A text field will appear, see Figure 1-22. Copy this link and paste it into the Paste the YouTube URL here field in Google+, see Figure 1-21.


Figure 1-22
  •  Click the blue Add video button.
Your chosen video will now appear in your post.

Your YouTube videos

To chose a personal YouTube video:
  • Click the Your YouTube videos link from the left hand menu.
  • Select the video that you want to use by clicking on it to highlight it, see Figure 1-23.
  • Click  the blue Add video button.

Figure 1-23


Your chosen video will now appear in your post.

From your phone

When I wrote this tutorial you could only upload videos from your phone if you had downloaded the Google+ Android or iOS app. If you want to upload videos from your phone:
  • Click the From your phone link, Figure 1-17.
In the pop-up box that appears:
  • Click the blue Download the app link.
Again, this will take you to the Google mobile web page where you can download the app for your particular phone. Follow the instructions on the page to set up your particular phone, as setting up your mobile phone is beyond the scope of this tutorial.


Adding your location to a post

If you would like to add your location to the post:
  • Click the location pin icon in the Share box, see Figure 1-24.
  • If your location can be determined, it will be added to your post.

Figure 1-24


Please be aware, if you add a location to your post, your location will be available to everyone you share the post with.

Sharing your post 

Now that we have written our post and included any links, photos or videos, it is time to share it with the people we want.
  • Click the Add circles or people to share with... link, see Figure 1-25.

Figure 1-25


  • Select the circles that you want to share with by clicking the name of the circle, Friends, Family etc.
The circle you have chosen to share with will now appear in the share box. If you want to share with more than one circle, repeat the steps above. This post will now be shared only with the people in that circle(s).

You can also enter a person’s name in Add circles or people to share with.. box by clicking on the Add more people link and typing in the name of the person with who you want to share in the box, see Figure 1-26a.

Figure 1-26a


As you type in the person’s name a pop up box will appear with all the people on Google+ with that particular name.  Click on the name you want to add (please note at the time of writing this tutorial it was hard to distinguish which name was the correct one to choose, as no profile picture appears next to each name.  Google+ was still in beta testing at the time of this tutorial.)

The name you have chosen to add will appear in the Add circles or people to share with... box.  At the time of writing I suggest hovering over the name tile to indeed make sure it is the correct person you have selected from the drop down name list, see Figure 1-26b.

Figure 1-26b


When you are happy with your sharing settings:
  • Click the green Share button.
You have now successfully shared your post with those chosen people. Your post will now appear in your stream and the stream of the people who you chose to share with.


Editing your post

Once you have published your post you can edit, delete, lock and disable comments on that post.
  • Click the small triangular icon in the top right corner of your post in the stream, see Figure 1-27a.

Figure 1-27a


From the drop down list that appears you can:
  • Edit this post - click this link to correct spelling mistakes etc.
  • Delete this post - click this link to delete the post entirely.
  • Disable comments - click this link to disable comments on this post. This link will now change to Enable comments, click this link to re-enable comments on this post.
  • Lock this post - click this link to stop other people re-sharing this post. Once a post is locked, others won’t be able to re-share the post through the share button.
All of the options above are available on any of your older posts.  To find and edit your older posts:
  • Click on the Profile tab at the top of the screen.
  • Click the Posts link, see Figure 1-27b.
  • Follow the instructions above.

Figure 1-27b


And that’s all there is to writing posts in Google+. We continue our coverage of The Stream in the next tutorial in which we will cover:
  • Reading posts.
  • Sharing posts.
  • Commenting on posts.
  • Filtering posts in the stream.
As I said at the beginning of this tutorial, The Stream is a big topic!

So until next time, that is it. I hope you found this tutorial of some use and I thank you for your time.

You can read part five of the Google+ tutorial here.

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Marc Kennedy - The Lucid Nerd