Some thoughts about Google+ for church workers


I’ve been thinking about what to make of Google+. My initial thinking was that this might be a great opportunity to start over… When I first started using Facebook it was limited to people with a .edu email address. My students at Lehigh invited me, I signed up and we friended each other. I started using facebook as a professional resource right from the beginning. I think because of that way of thinking I naturally started to use Twitter the same way. It’s something I do because of what I do, it’s not something that I use personally.

I’d been toying with the possibility of creating a private twitter account and just using it for family and close friends. There are some things that I’d like to share, like what I’m doing on vacation that would be interesting to them, and who I trust not to use the information to break into our house… grin.

So Google+ comes along and it’s the opportunity I’ve been seeking. Except it’s more than that, and that’s what’s interesting to me.

The ability to have fine control over who sees a post is something that Twitter doesn’t really have unless you take an extra step of having multiple identities. And Facebook makes such fine control nearly impossible, and who knows when the rules for privacy will be silently changed again? Even just listing people as family may not be something they desire. (I can be an awkward relative, with all my religious stuff and all.)

But with Google+ I can create private groups that by default only I can see. People can’t see whom I’ve added to my circles. And I can get the best of both worlds – the ability to share with people I actually know, and the ability to share publicly with people who might be interested on my take about something because of my role as a blogger, Episcopal priest, Cathedral dean, technology enthusiast, etc.

Nice job on this Google. This might actually be useful in multiple ways, and simplify things enormously.

There’s one question though. I read online that Google is intending to make Google+ available for people using Google Apps. I have two accounts (actually three) but two that I use. This gmail account, which is my personal one, and the Cathedral google apps account which is my professional one. If one of us starts to use the professional account in Google+, what happens when you leave your employer and lose access to that account? Is it going to be possible to fold them into each other? Is that something you even want to do?

No idea what the answer to that question will be, but it does bear thinking about. Because I didn’t really plan ahead with Facebook its usefulness for me has suffered. I’d like to avoid having that happen with Google+.

Any of you seeing any other possible gotchas down the road?

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. I have a friend who received his Google+ invite on his “professional” account (not with Google) but now he seems unable to associate his actual Gmail account with his Google+ account.

  2. Steven Matthews says

    “…Facebook makes such fine control nearly impossible, and who knows when the rules for privacy will be silently changed again?”

    By creating Facebook “LISTS” for groups such as ACQUAINTANCES, FRIENDS, FAMILY, COLLEAGUES, and PARISHIONERS, assigning those LISTS to various elements in the PRIVACY SETTINGS, and populating the LISTS with the appropriate FB friends, you can segment your audience and achieve fine control. You can even assign individual rights to a particular post. You could also do this according to interests. (In the recent Skype/FB broadcast, it was noted that about 15% of FB members make use of this.)

    I had done all of this before the most recent privacy policy change, and had very little to do when the new rules rolled out.

  3. Facebook does offer some control but it’s not as intuitive as the Google+ setup. Though one of my friends did pose the question about sharing posts: What would happen if someone posted something to a group of people (i.e. not public) and another person shared that with their circle? Google+ offers a little warning saying to “be mindful” of what you’re sharing but it doesn’t stop the sharing of that content.

    I guess that if there’s something that you just don’t want to be shared with anyone, just don’t post it to the Internet.

  4. This is chad with, Facebook does have grouping options but I love how google has implemented circles. Has anyone been able to figure out the following questions? Question #1: Whats the easiest way to send someone a message on Google+. I can’t find the “message” button anywhere. Of course I can email the person but would really like a “message” button. Question #2: Anyone seems to be able to follow anyone… Is their a way to reject unwanted interactions?

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