Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Google+ Community by Ashley Lynch-Harris

I met Ashley Lynch-Harris in a Google+ Community and asked her to share a little of her experience in G+ Communities. -- Sandy 

Ashley: Google+ is a social media network. I’ll be honest; upon first learning of this site my initial reaction may have been a bit severe. I believe my exact words were: 

“No! Not another social media site that will consume more of my already dwindling writing time!” [Cue throwing myself across the bed in dismay].

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being able to connect with other readers and writers, but I really don’t want to manage a million sites. Quite frankly, I believe that most things are best in moderation (well… except chocolate. That’s just great all of the time.)

Being a good sport, however, I looked into Google+, and I found that “Google+ Communities” actually appealed to me.

What is a Google+ Community?
What differentiates Google+ from other social media sites is that they capitalize on connecting people through their common interests.

Users create “communities” based on people, places, or things that interest them. 

For example, I created the community “Christian Fiction (for Readers and Writers)”. We discuss all types of Christian fiction books, share reviews, alert each other on promos, etc. Right off the bat you have a group of people that are excited to share and discuss a certain topic.

From a Writer’s Perspective
When I first joined Google+ I joined several writing communities. Various professionals, from authors to agents, utilize the site. To grow in our readership, however, I also recommend stepping outside of the writing realm…  

Tips for Writers
To get the most out of the Google+ Communities, here are a few things I have personally found helpful.

  • Create a community and/ or join other people’s communities because you genuinely have an interest for that topic—even… and especially those outside of writing. Readers encompass all types of people with all sorts of interests. If we only stick to writing groups, we miss connecting with the rest of the world and limit our readership. 
  • We strongly identify as writers, but we are also wonderfully multifaceted. If you love gardening, create or join a gardening group. Due to the fact that this is of natural interest to you, you will be more likely to leave comments, share your genuine enthusiasm with others, and as a result you will naturally build relationships with those who share your interest. Furthermore, some in your community may initially “follow” your profile because of your mutual fondness for hydrangeas, but they will also learn about your latest book release because it will now show up on their news feed.
  • Balance is key. Share the things that you enjoy, BUT also interact with others. They are just as eager for their posts to be read, and those posts are important to them. 
  • Leave comments. We write for God and to share God’s love. Even if it is only one post a day, that still makes a difference for that person. Plus, if you’ve connected with people and communities that share your interests you may be pleasantly surprised at some of the inspiring things they have to share as well.

Have you joined any of the Google+ Communities? Formed your own? What do you like/dislike about them? 


~~~



Ashley Lynch-Harris loves reading, writing, and most importantly her Savior, Jesus Christ. On her blog, Ashley humbly shares some of the lessons that she has learned while walking with the Lord. She hopes that others may be encouraged from her experiences and the truth of God’s word. Ashley is also pursuing a career in writing. She has a passion for mysteries and endeavors to use her “little grey cells”, much like one of her favorite literary detectives, Hercule Poirot, when plotting her own. Married to her high school sweetheart, Ashley enjoys spending time with her loved ones, sipping tea with a good book in hand, and being stirred deep inside by God’s word.

You can find Ashley on her blog at AshleyLynchHarris.com and on Google+. You may also reach her via email at WriteAshleyLH@gmail.com.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for explaining that, Ashley! I'm afraid I only post an occasional link to Google+ and use Hangouts every so often. I didn't even know Communities was an option.

    How do you balance social media sites and your writing life? Do you still use Facebook and Twitter?

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  2. Hi, Angie! Thanks for commenting. Right now I commit significantly more time to writing and a smaller percentage of time gradually building my web presence via social media. I anticipate, however, that as God grows my career as an author I will certainly commit a bit more time to social media. :) To balance the two, however, I make a writing work schedule for myself. My Ipad mini planner has a yellow block of time that is for writing only and, believe it or not, I have a brown block of time for social media, typically scheduled at the end of the day!

    I do use Facebook generally speaking, but I have never used Twitter. I've been curious, but not enough to commit. Writing in choppy sentences and with hashtags (formerly known as number symbols... by the way, when did that change?!) has probably been my biggest deterrent. I don't quite know the strategy behind "trending", but gradually people are lovingly helping me to learn. Maybe... one day. :)

    Although it isn't noted, and this is only because I haven't been active on either site in a little while, I am also on Goodreads and Pinterest.(I'm hoping to add an extra brown block of time somewhere on my schedule in the near future!)

    Still, no matter how little time I may have to pin, if someone reaches out to me I will always reply back. :)

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    1. How funny. I think in #hashtags. :D
      I'm on Google+, just not as active as Twitter or Facebook or even Pinterest. lol. Great post, Ashley. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. Thanks, Dora. :) That's funny. It just goes to show that everyone has to do what works best for them! :)

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  4. I don't spend as much time on G+ or in the communities as I should, nor do I interact much, but it's hard to keep up with everything. However, I do like the arrangements of the communities in Google+ and it seems to be starting to take off. Thanks, Ashley!

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    1. Hi, Sandra! I completely understand. It's a balancing act when dedicating our time to all of the available social media sites! I like the arrangements as well. One can make as many or as few categories when creating a community, and I think this really helps with organizing a user friendly layout.

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  5. Hi Ashley, I gotta admit i am a stranger to Google +. I am still a twitter novice and don't have much of a handle on that, even.. People "follow" me but I don't know why. I know all of this stuff is important to spread the word and some day I promise to sit down, catch my breath and explore... Best wishes with your writing. Thanks for sharing this information.

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    1. Hi, Tanya! Thanks for your comments. You are braver than I. :) Twitter is uncharted territory for me. Haha All the options for social media sites can be a bit daunting. I tend to move into these new sites gradually, and even then I only commit to the ones that seem to work best for me. :) Thanks for your well wishes for my writing. I really appreciate it.

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  6. Thanks for the tips, Ashley! I recently joined Google + and am still getting used to it. I hesitated for so long because of already being pretty active on Facebook. But, I like the idea of connecting with communities. I think it's important that writers connect with readers - not just other writers. You've got me thinking ...

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. I'm glad you've found the tips helpful. :) As a matter of fact, it took me a little time to adjust to the format of Google+ because I primarily used Facebook for so many years. I searched and joined communities, experimented with posts (a few times I inadvertently shared when I only meant to comment), and I tweaked some settings. Finally, I arrived. Haha Well, enough to at least feel like I knew what I was doing. Success! :) Connecting with readers... reaching people is what it's all about. :) I am glad to have been able to offer some tips. Thank you for your comments.

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  7. Thank you for the great tips Ashley. You explained everything so very well. Good luck on your writing career...Sandra Llecholech

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  8. Thank you so much. :) I hope this post is helpful, and it truly makes a difference for me to receive such encouragement for my writing. Thanks again!

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