It’s been a few days since the release of Google Buzz, but it’s already very clear that the way we interact with each other on the Internet has changed on a fundamental level.
As with any time of change, we must tread carefully. Social networking can be a dangerous way to waste time online. If we’re not careful, Google Buzz can become the quickest path towards wasting another hour or two of your day.
Google Buzz is different from Twitter and Facebook in a lot of ways. In some cases it’s a far more complicated platform. In other ways it is easier to use than both of the other services.
Here are a few observations of Google Buzz:
- You can now network with people near your location.
- You can feed a lot of information into Google Buzz, such as our Twitter streams and Flickr photos.
- What you publish to buzz influences search rankings.
- Buzz stimulates conversations very easily.
We’re becoming the digital curators of our world. Each and every one of us has the power to use this new medium for very powerful actions.
I’ve only been on Google Buzz for a few days, but in that time I’ve started to apply some minimalist rules towards using it. I hope these ideas can help you save time, and also use Google Buzz more effectively.
How to stop Google Buzz from putting Buzz replies in your Inbox.
The first thing any minimalist needs to do is stop Google Buzz from putting replies in your Inbox. We get enough messages as it is, we don’t need more incoming messages.
Visit this tutorial at Lifehacker to learn how to stop Google Buzz from putting messages in your inbox.
Here are 9 ways to simplify your approach to Google Buzz.
1, Follow less than 100 people.
You can’t realistically keep track of information coming from more than 100 people. Don’t try to, you’ll end up spending all day reading Google Buzz, and it will destroy your productivity. Right now there aren’t a lot of people on Google Buzz, but I predict the population will explode over the coming months. If you’re contributing useful information, you will inevitably have more people following you than you can follow back. That’s okay, you can’t keep up with everyone.
2, Only publish useful information.
The first instinct for most people on Google Buzz is to publish as much information is possible. I’m not sure this is a great idea. Make sure you’re only transmitting information that helps people. Just like on Twitter, no one wants to hear you talk about your cat. We’ll quickly see people who concentrate on usefulness start to dominate the follower counts on Google Buzz.
3, Only connect programs which contribute useful information.
It’s tempting to just add all of the applications that you use online. Recognize that if you do this, you will create a lot of noise for the people who follow you. Pick one or two ways to contribute information, ignore the rest. I’ve decided, for now, to exclude Twitter and Flickr from my Google Buzz feed, because they’re just filling it with redundant information that isn’t necessarily important.
4, Comment only when you have something to contribute.
It’s very easy to weigh in with an opinion on Google Buzz. Make sure what you’re saying is useful, helpful, and positive. If you’re just posting a comment like “cool!”, that’s one comment that didn’t need to be written. Be useful, or be quiet. Use the ‘Like’ button instead of saying ‘cool!’.
5, Use the ‘Like’ button early and often.
Vote up the best content as much as you can. In fact, if you’re reading this on Buzz, I encourage you to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ this post right now. This will help other people see it, and it can help more people.
6, Unfollow anyone who isn’t contributing useful information.
Google Buzz automatically follows people who email you often. That’s cool, but make sure you actually want to hear what these people are transmitting on Google Buzz. Unfollow people if you find you don’t want to read what they have to say, this way you won’t have to spend time sorting out their information every time you open Google Buzz.
7, Report spammers.
If someone is annoying you, report them as spam. Keep Google Buzz clean, take out the trash.
8, Keep your buzzes short.
You can publish long articles out to Google Buzz, and some may choose to do this. Recognize that it may be best to keep your material simple and direct. Publish what you need to, but no more than necessary. I suggest keeping extremely long articles on your blog, and use Google Buzz to as a funnel to direct people back to your blog.
9, Turn Google Buzz off once in awhile.
Like email, Twitter, and Facebook, you can’t spend all day buzzing around. Learn to step away from the stream of everyone’s consciousness and live your own life. The time you spend on Google Buzz will vary, depending on what you want to accomplish with the platform. Learn to hit the off switch as much as possible. Have a cup of tea, enjoy your tea. Go out side, take a walk, enjoy your walk.
The world doesn’t revolve around Google Buzz, it’s simply a tool.
How are you using Google Buzz?
You can follow me on Google Buzz here.