If Facebook is like a yearbook and LinkedIn is sort of like a rolodex and twitter is like a flashcard then Google + is sort of like all of those. Google+ is a social network that’s growing fast. Let’s find out what it’s all about. Life is crazy. I mean who has time to keep with all the latest in social networking. I’m Carly Knobloch and if you stick with me I’ll show you all the tech tools you need to get socially connected. Google+ wasn’t the first to arrive in the social networking party but it got a good look at what others are wearing and then came dressed to impress. Google+ incorporates some favorite features from other social networks so you might recognize a few similarities and like other social networks it’s all about sharing and connecting with friends. We’ll cover some of the more advanced features in our next episode but let’s look at the building blocks of Google+, Circles and the Plus 1. Get started by heading to the site which you can get to easily from the Google tool bar or by typing in the web address. If you have a Gmail account than your login will be the same otherwise you’ll have to sign up for one. Spend time updating your profile with all your information which will make it easier for people to find you and choose a decent profile picture because that will be your calling card across all the land of Google. While Facebook was initially built on the idea that all of your friends are on even footing Google + knows that you have circles of people that you know that you might want to keep separate. Your account starts with only a few circles but you can keep creating all types of new ones from coworkers to teammates. OK, time to start building those circles. I’m going to start with my friend Amy who I just had lunch with. So I type her name in here when I find her since she’s a close friend I drop her into this circle. It’s important to know that when you first drop someone into a circle that you’re only following them just like on twitter and that they’re not necessarily following you back. This frees you up to follow people that you may not know but that you’re interested in and they don’t have to confirm you as a friend for you to see what they’re posting. OK, now back to how circles work. I just started a book club and I want to tell all of my fellow book club members when the meeting is next week. I don’t need to blast that out to all my friends so I’ll create a circle just for them. I click on the icon here and I see everyone I’m currently following. From this list I find people in the book club and I drop them into the new circle. It turns out that Amy wanted to be in the book club too so I’m going to add her to that circle. She can be in my close friends circle and my book club circle at the same time, just like in real life. Here’s where you can share any thoughts or updates that you like along with links, videos, or pictures. This is what the post looks like in their stream and here’s where they can also comment back on it. And remember, this entire conversation is taking place just within our little circle. OK, everyone knows that Google is all about search results so it’s no surprise that Google + has this covered. You may have seen this little plus 1 all over the internet. Well whenever you click on the plus 1 you’re making a recommendation on your Google + profile page letting people who follow you know things you recommend around the web. So there you have it. A jump start to using Google +. Be sure and show us what you’ve learned by giving us a plus 1 at eHow Tech and be sure and watch our other Socially Connected episodes. Bye!