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Guest Post by Lauren Sutton

Wow. After the week I’ve had, that’s the only word that accurately sums up how I feel. I made my first Google+ post on January 27th, 2013 and the experiences I’ve had since have left me speechless. When Jesse Wojdylo sat me down and told me the opportunities that Google+ had to offer, I was skeptical (to put it lightly). But he reiterated several times that it would be an amazing way for a budding blogger’s voice to be heard, and that was something I had been searching for. Besides, there obviously had to be some perks for this guy to keep gushing on about it, right?

It didn’t take me long to realize the appeal. And man, was I blown away. The very first night I became active on Google+, I was entranced. My “hello” post (https://plus.google.com/u/0/102827447379780938876/posts/JaxuQRb1DyH) was a huge success (much to my surprise), and I immediately got thrown into the thick of the community. I began making great connections and communicating with people from all walks of life. When my first article dropped on Wojdylo Finance on January 28th (http://www.wojdylofinance.com/why-college-students-cant-and-wont-leave-facebook/), the surprises kept on coming. And they haven’t stopped yet.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I was getting a tad bit addicted. I was bragging about it to my friends, struggling to stay off of the site in class, and proudly showing off my laptop that has now adorned one of the infamous G+ stickers.

This is quite a drastic transformation from my previously doubtful self. So why the sudden change of heart? Here’s just a few reasons why Google+ already has me hooked.

You Can Proclaim Your Thoughts to the World or to an Audience of One

I haven’t had much time to do a lot of circle or community management, but I think circles are the greatest. I had no idea about the details of this feature prior to making my account. This is an aspect that is unavailable on any other social network. On Facebook and Twitter, you can control who you are friends with or who your followers are, but that’s about the extent of the regulation that you are able to do. Regardless of whether you are into blogging, business, or just being an average Joe, the possibilities are endless. The ability to tailor content to a specific audience is extremely advantageous.

For example, I can think of a few things I may wish to write about in the future that would be better portrayed to those in certain fields or age groups. The benefits from a businessman’s point of view are obvious. And as for the average guy, you have the ability to share, brag, and conceal whatever your heart desires. But here’s the cool thing – you don’t have to limit the amount of eyes that see your posts at all if you don’t want to. Anything can be made easily accessible by the entire community of G+ users. Circles are clever from a logistical standpoint and make the safety concerns of social networking a thing of the past – well, at least for Google+ users.

Google+ Gives the Phrase “Hey, Let’s Hangout!” a Whole New Meaning

I would like to give a shout out to Mr. Ronnie Bincer, who made the following comment on my last article in response to the question, “What do you think it would take to draw college students from Facebook?”

Oh, how right he was. I love hangouts. I’ve participated in a handful of private hangouts, and my first legitimate Google+ hangout was with Macklemore and Zach Quillen (http://www.youtube.com/embed/CYApFH8bO6g). As someone who has only ever used Skype, ooVoo, etc. for video chat, I was completely astounded at how fluid hangouts have the potential to be. There is little to no lag and they’re extremely user friendly.

I can only imagine the potential that Google+ hangouts could have on a college campus. There would be no more study groups trekking across the grounds to meet, leadership teams could hold meetings from the comfort of their dorm or apartment, and smaller seminars would even have the ability to have class through a webcam. It is by far the best video chat software I have ever used. In fact, after I introduced hangouts to a friend of mine, we talked to each other in the same room for over thirty minutes playing with the special effects. They’re fun, they’re innovative, and they will become even more popular.

The Google+ Community is Second to None

This is definitely one of the major reasons why I’ve had such a wonderful first week on Google+ – the people here are incredible. From the minute I started posting, I’ve been welcomed with open arms by almost everyone I have come into contact with. I was hesitant to join Google+ partly because I did not know anyone else with an account. I had a hard time believing that a community of complete strangers – many of these strangers being very intelligent and highly educated – would have an interest in what I had to say. I was so wrong!

I have been continually surprised by how kind my followers have been. For example, earlier this week I posted that I would be taking a short hiatus due to the fact that I had three major exams in a two week period. I wasn’t sure how this well this would be received seeing as I had just started writing and publishing (although

I should have known that the break wouldn’t last long due to the aforementioned growing addiction), but I had nothing to worry about. The encouraging and thoughtful messages I received just cemented my feelings that I had made the right choice in jumping in and giving Google+ a shot.

Over the last week, I have been challenged repeatedly, in comical debates, intellectual discussions, and simply taking a stand and sticking with it. I’ve talked with and gotten to know people that I never would have been able to otherwise. I’ve felt more creative than I have in a really long time. I’ve had opportunities thrust at me that have made me step back and grin in disbelief.

Before the critics come swooping in, let me clarify something: I know that my time on Google+ this week will not necessarily be another new user’s experience as well. Not everyone will get to do a hangout with Macklemore, hit the “What’s Hot” page, and speak with influential people that are relevant to his or her interests within the first few days of joining – which leads me to my last and most vital reason why Google+ has captured my interest…

Google+ Makes Things Possible that No Other Social Network Can

Anyone has the potential to be successful on Google+ with the right content and attitude. I assure you, I would not have had any chance of being able to experience these things on Facebook or Twitter. Of that, I am certain. I have dreamed of writing and having my works read by an audience ever since I was a little girl. You, as you are scrolling through this article, are living proof that Google+ has made this happen for me. And for that, I’m hooked!

What are some of your favorite things about Google+? Are there any features not mentioned here that I’m missing out on?

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