I’m sure many of you are very familiar with the extensive number of social network sites available these days. The most popular is, of course Facebook. This is followed closely by Twitter (you can follow me, by the way, at https://twitter.com/ColbyDigsSoil). One more that is on the rise is Google+, which has quickly became one of my favorite social network sites because it makes Science so accessible. To get an idea for what Google+ is, check out this video:
I started using Google+ about a year ago (you can circle me here). Facebook was starting to get boring to me and I was looking for something similar, but different. I had my Google+ profile up and running for a few months. I was impressed by how well it worked, both in regards to privacy and just overall function, but I was sort of disappointed by the lack of new material that showed up on my news feed each day (a product of not having many friends on the site yet, due to already having a Facebook account). I was even considering giving up on it… that is, until I found the Science on Google+ database. That is when I realized what it’s potential could be, and that I was “doing it wrong” by using Google+ as a Facebook “analog”.
You see, Google+ lives up to its potential when it’s used as a hybrid social networking site, RSS feed, and a news aggregater (think Facebook/Twitter, RSS Reader, and Google News all in one). Take that, and organize it in a way where the user can separate specific topics (like science) from everything else, and you have a winning combination!
Google (founded by graduate student scientists) works hard to support science. As a means to do so, Google developed a “science database” through which scientists and science teachers of similar or different disciplines can collaborate, brainstorm, share, or even chat (in Google+ hangouts) about their science.
To read in more detail about how the database works, please read the “About” page on the Google+ Science Database. There, it discusses how it works, and also lists more specific circles within the database you can follow according to your interests. Some that may be interesting to readers of Colby Digs Soil include:
- Natural Sciences: http://goo.gl/gRjj3
- Ecology: http://goo.gl/iUZeZ
- Engineering: http://goo.gl/KQ192
- Geology and Earth Science: http://goo.gl/YjFYa
- Science Teachers: http://goo.gl/UC8qK
- Science Writers: http://goo.gl/d5lM2
I’ve found a lot of interesting articles and incredible photography through this database. It has really increased my enjoyment of using Google+. I also added myself to the Geology and Earth Science database. When I have a soil science-related blog post here on Colby Digs Soil, I’ll share it with that circle and it will go out to the feeds of the rest of the followers of that circle. In doing so, I have also had the pleasure of interacting with scientists from all over the world who I would never had heard of otherwise. By the way, if you circle me on Google+, please let me know you are one of my readers, or at least put your career in interests information into your bio so I can add you back. I’ll do my best to follow people with similar interests.
Some people and pages I recommend on Google+ to the Colby Digs Soil readers include:
- ColbyDigsSoil Google+ page
- Dept. of Soil Science at NC State
- NASA Earth Observatory
- Science Friday
- Science on Google+
- Stone Saturday
- Martian Soil
Note: I’ll come back to this post and edit that list as I find more people/pages to follow. If you have a suggestion, please post it in the comments!
I don’t want to sound like a Google “fan boy” (even though I probably am) but if you still need convincing in order to try Google+, the Google+ app is pretty awesome. Also syncing pictures from an Android phone to Google+/Picasa is seamless.
See you on the interwebs…