Int. Education

Why You Should Be Playing with Google+ Now

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Google+ reminds me of another social network that started up not so long ago. I remember when I created an account and would talk to people about the service they would shake their head, roll their eyes and then say, “You’re such a geek.”

And, at the time they were right. There was nobody using the service except a bunch of geeks. Geeks trying to figure out how to use the service, did it have a place in our network? How did it work? What was the best way to use it? What did it replace and what did it enhance?

Us geeks played with this service for four years all by ourselves talking to anyone who would listen about the service and telling people how this was going to change everything. How this service was something new, something cool, and something that everyone should use. 

I even went so far as to force participants of the first Learning 2.0 conference to sign up for an account. I still have educators who went to Learning 2.0 in 2007 come up to me and tell me it was at that conference they created their account.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the network I am talking about is Twitter.

It wasn’t that long ago that nobody knew what Twitter was how to use it or why you would us it. 

Today it is mainstream.

Google+ is where Twitter was in 2007. We the users are trying to figure out its best use. We ended up using Twitter in a way that the founders never thought we would. It took people playing with the site, playing with the features, and in the end, we the users defined how it would be use and once that happend it went mainstream.

The more I use Google+ the more I like it…..a lot. There’s something there for sure. Exactly what it is I’m not sure yet but I am excited to help define what it is. I find the pages way better than Facebook Pages and of course hangouts….nothing compares.

So….if you want to be ahead of the curve start playing with Google+. See where it fits, look at how others are using it. What are people sharing? What are the conversations that seem to be growing? Where is it going to fit? 

I have a feeling Google+ is the real deal and in 3 to 4 years time it will become mainstream like Twitter did. It will find its niche and thrive. We’re just in the early stages and this is when things are exciting.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Reading your post brought back the memory of a bunch of us sitting around the Blogger’s Cafe at NECC 2008 (San Antonio) on the morning of the last day of the conference debating/discussing how we were using Twitter and asking ourselves questions about how/why we were using Twitter differently than the creators of Twitter intended. In other words, we were acknowledging the fact that as educators we were adopting Twitter for a use that differed from the tool’s original purpose — we were using it to discuss and share ideas around education, ed reform, ed tech, etc. instead of just sharing that we were having a cup of coffee — and whether or why that mattered. Was it okay? Not okay? Did we have the right to use this tool in the way that we were beginning to use it?

    I still remember that discussion we had that morning and chuckle now when I see us facilitating sessions at conferences on “Twitter for PD” 🙂 Oh how far we — and Twitter — have come…

    And I think you may be right about Google+

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I remember those conversations as well…..back in the early days when we know there was something there….but not really sure what it was. Funny to think we didn’t even have #tags yet. We were just following each other and figuring it all out. Crazy how far the tool as come. Can’t remember the last time I saw a “Fail Whale” yet in 2008 it happened quite often. 🙂

  2. Doug Johnson Reply

    Hi Jeff,

    See Social media – overwhelmed and feeling guilty

    Hope things are going well for you. School is starting here. Are you missing the excitement of teachers coming back?


    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Hi Doug,

      Great post and I’ll be responding soon. Appreciate the push back!

      Am missing the feeling of school for sure. But have enough on my plate that I’m really glad I don’t have all of this and school too.

  3. I’d be all over this if they’d sort out access for Google Apps for Edu users. It would be amazing to use in school but alas – no deal.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      They’re working on getting it into K12 GAFE accounts. That’s why I think now is a good time to start playing with Google+ so that when it is released we’re ready to go.

  4. Hah! I’m with Dan. Would love the opportunity to talk with someone who uses it, share ideas on how, and more importantly…get access for Google Apps for Edu!

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  6. As with all play we need time to explore, make connections and find others who want to play with us. That means following others and joining in. So at learning 2.0 I hope we can find sometime to play together. See the power of this. Google hangout looks really good. I am not normally an early adopter but ready to try.

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