On Reader Mail, The G+ Experience

Charles writes:

"I'm not much of a G+ user; can you recommend good resources to follow?"

This is a complicated question, and requires more than a simple comment in return.

Google Plus is a "Social Network". This is code for "A free service that is provided so that you can be exploited by a large multi-national corporation".

Since the avalanche is started, it is too late for the stones to vote.

There are many advantages to Google Plus. First, it is highly resistant to spammers, because it is an opt-in network. It's focused because circles allow you control who sees your post. The downside is, it is hard to wrap your brain around. It allows you to play tabletop role playing games online via hangouts.

A Google Plus hangout is 90% of what a face to face game is. The biggest difference are the issues with people talking over each other causing confusion. The integrated chat window goes a long way to addressing that issue. There are many factors that are superior to face to face gaming: music, sound effect, graphics, images, and map/layout tools are all trivially shared. It is a different, but equivalent experience to running games online.

Long story short: You can organize groups of people into "Circles" and each circle individually allows you to control A) which circle sees your writing and B) which posts you see!

A quick primer:

  • Anyone can see your public posts
  • You choose the list of people who can see what you write
  • You can 'notify' people by tagging them or selecting a box, which triggers a notification. This is somewhat invasive and may get you reported for spam, unless they have requested the notification. Individual users set whether they want notifications to just be a number, an e-mail, or a text message.
  • You choose which circles you can see in your 'all' stream and how much of them you see. You can read any one specific circle by simply selecting it
  • Communities are like message boards, and some are good places to expose yourself to G+ people you would like to follow. 
  • ADVICE: Do not post to multiple communities. Do not post articles with no discussion. Google plus isn't a 'marketing scheme', it's about interaction and communities. 

Who to follow:

  • If you're looking to play Old School D&D online, then the FLAILSNAILS community will allow you to role up and take a character between games. If you're looking for other kinds of games, then the G+ RPG Hangout community can put you in touch with, well, any game you want. On the front page, there's Sharknado, a mage game, Fate, Star Wars, the Judges Guild Dark Tower, and Bronze age D&D. Like, those are games you can play!
  • There are also lots of communities for specific varieties of D&D, from Labyrinth Lord to Ambitions & Avarice
  • I've written about several of the most creative people on G+ on my OSR New Wave interview series.
    • You might just pass that point by, but if I've interviewed them, then perhaps it might also be worth following them.
  • There are several notable individuals that will provide a good starting point for joining G+.
  • I chose people who post often about gaming, and are very moderate and unlikely to get into long intense discussions over issues tangentially related to gaming. These people play games and are positive and non-confrontational about gaming. +Zak Sabbath and +Jack Shear are fantastic people to follow on G+, but they are also likely to be confrontational! (Though, if you get the chance to play in a game with Zak, take it!)
  • Follow them, and then engage with their posts. Then, follow other people who follow them, and soon you'll have a great gaming circle of your own, along with regular players!
  • People who aren't actually interested in playing role playing games need not apply.
If you have any questions of your own you'd like answered, message me on Google Plus, or give me an e-mail at campbell at oook dot cz


  1. Thanks very much for the rundown on G+. I'm a bit frustrated by the move away from blogs and over to G+, though I don't have a clear sense of how much as moved as I've not joined up.

    I'm for social networks but deeply against those that try to force you to use your real name publicly, and G+ is essentially the last social network I want to join. Do you have any privacy concerns or do others you know there express any? Also, do you know of a trend to use aliases or advice to go about it if one wanted to? I definitely wouldn't associate a google account I cared about for starters.

    As a whole I'm pretty disappointed with the gaming community for adopting a tool that goes so strongly against the core spirit of the internet.

    1. My chosen occupation is writer with an opinion blog.

      I gave up any privacy concerns I had long ago.

      +Jez Gordan is correct.

  2. @ Spooktalker: Plenty of people using alt-names on G+. Me included.

  3. Thanks! I've finally gotten around to adding these folks. I wanted to wait until I had at least a few game posts on my blog... it's mostly recipes but I'm working on branching it out as I finish up my homebrewed RPG.


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