Librarying with the cunning use of stick figures.


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If you are a functional Google Addict like myself, you’ve probably scrounged up a Google+ invite for yourself by now. Between my work email now being on Gmail, keeping up with all of the library blogs and news feeds I follow on Google Reader, and searching frequently on Google Scholar (or just plain ole Google), I usually have at least 2 Google tabs open on my browser at any given time (*ahem*…Chrome). So there’s my disclaimer: I am a fan of Google. Not an unquestioning fan, but a fan nonetheless.

Regardless of any bias you may perceive, I am really excited about Google+. Working at a college, I can see the potential for Google+ as a means to supplement class curricula. With all of our staff/faculty/student emails having been converted to Google accounts in the last several months, it’s almost like getting a new built-in feature. Say what you will about Google’s unprecedented access to our personal information, but they have art of the seamless transition pretty much down pat.

I have yet to try using the “hangout” feature just yet, but as the Chronicle for Higher Education cited, it could be great for virtual office hours, or even for virtual study groups. My college is largely rural – the students oftentimes live very far away from each other, so this could be a great solution for group project meetings.

It also makes changing your privacy settings so much easier. It has been a frequent gripe across the interwebs that Facebook privacy settings are notoriously difficult to navigate and use effectively – Google+ makes it a cinch.

What Facebook still has going for it, however, is the simple fact that everyone seems to be on it. There are plenty of people out there speculating over whether the masses will really switch over, but I look at my workplace’s particular situation (we ALL have Google accounts thanks to our affiliation with the college, and many other organizations have made similar switches the last couple of years) and that roadblock isn’t really an obstacle at all. Our challenge is promoting Google+ as a tool to which instructors already have access, and encouraging them to use it and be creative. Let’s hope it has better staying power than Google Wave so we have a chance to really explore its practical uses.

Last summer I taught a class on Library Media Services, and if it were being offered this semester you can bet I’d be covering Google+. As it is, I am planning on putting together a program for faculty to guide them through the advantages of having college Google accounts. All I have to do is get bodies in the seats. Now there is a challenge.


Written by Jessica Jones

July 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm

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