Bernd Rubel is a teacher, a speaker and a freelancer, specialising in Social Platform Strategies and Techniques. His native language is German, but “for some inexplicable reason”, as he puts it, Peg Fitzpatrick and Guy Kawasaki selected him as a beta reader for their book “The Art And Science of Social Media”.
A few months ago Bernd wrote an awesome post with tips and advice on Google Plus: How To Not Be a Sheep on Google+ which got 247 shares. Numbers however are not important, what matters is something else, and Bernd knows it very well. By the way, Bernd also knows how you can transform your G+ posts to RSS.
What brought you on G+ and what was your first post on Google?
I’m not sure what brought me on G+, but it was rather likely idle curiosity. I run a few blogs and use a lot of Google Services like Youtube, Gmail, Maps and, of course, Search everyday, so it was just a matter of time that I wanted to know how this platform works. I liked the circles concept immediately, and the clean and structured interface.
My first post was probably a link to one of my websites, I can’t remember. I know that I tested a few things several times, and that I deleted a lot of posts and also suggested contacts a few days later.
What on- or offline world experience has most influenced your time on G+?
The absence of my friends and family :-). Yes, seriously, definitely the awareness that Google+ can open the doors to completely new levels of cooperation and exchange of ideas or thoughts with other, “unknown” people around the globe, just because this platform forces you to think outside the box.
What’s the thing that made your life on G+ easier?
Months ago I started to use a few third-party tools like Circlecount, Circloscope, Nod3x, Friends+Me and Buffer and I would never want to use G+ without them again. This platform is really fun, but if you use G+ more or less professionally, you should establish your “individual system” or routines to manage your time and effort.
What would your advice be to newbies here?
RTFM – Read The F-ing Manual ;-). Period. Make yourself familiar with the interface on desktop and mobile and try a few things, like organizing your circles, sharing pictures and videos or formatting a post or comment with *bold* or _italic_ text. I wish I found something like the PYB Quickstarter materials, Mike Allton’s tutorials or Denis Labelle’s Google+ Tips earlier. This would have saved me and others a lot of time and headaches. Then, search for interesting topics and try to find a few interesting pages and people, so that you have a reason to use G+ regularly. Keep your eyes open, don’t be a sheep.
How many people do you have in the circles for which you’ve turned notifications on?
My notification circles contain approximately 150 people, but not all of them post daily.
What’s your favourite G+ feature?
That might sound strange regarding a Social Network, but my favourite G+ “feature” are the comments. I’ve seen thousands of posts on G+ with eye-opening, haunting, touching, interesting, hilarious or continuative discussions. Honestly, I think I found my most important contacts on G+ just by reading comments and visiting their profiles.
What has being part of the PYB Academy done for you?
Knowledge, a ton of precious contacts and a completely different approach to Social Media, in general. In the beginning the PYB Academy demystifies G+ and shows you *how* to use this platform, but then, going down the rabbit hole, you also realize *why* this makes sense. Even if you consider yourself a social person, the continuous communication with people who, for example, really “live” the idea of being helpful changes a lot.
How did G+ shaped your professional life?
The “density” of this platform is incredible, one person knows another person who knows another person that can – and will – help you to find the answer to almost any question. That’s awesome.
What was the thing you always wanted to know about G+ but were afraid to ask?
I’m not afraid to ask questions about G+. But I’m still afraid that I couldn’t answer questions about G+, that drives me crazy ;-).
Bernd, apart from the many cool things you are doing business with (on your own playground:)) you know markups and Structured Data. These gradually have become buzzwords or soon will be very popular, as they are really helpful concepts for the Semantic Web. So,
If you had to explain that to someone who has never heard of anything beyond H1 tag how would you do that?
Imagine your website as a flip chart. With markups and structured data you’re able to write informative notes all over the page, which help a robot/crawler/interpreter to *understand* the meaning of the data on your page. You’re able to draw separation lines and connecting lines between your data or to frame various connected sections on your site, you can use different colours or place dozens of red arrows to emphasize the important parts. You draw a sort of map of your page, a list of contents and an organigram, all at once. –>
Or imagine your website as a disordered, indefinable puzzle with thousand pieces. With structured data all the pieces have a number on the backside, from 1 in the upper left corner to 1000 in the bottom right corner. Flip the pieces, order the pieces by number and if you watch the front side you get the whole picture.
In his interview Wayne Brett asked:
Which social media network do you think best compliments your Google Plus strategy?
Phew … currently twitter. But I run a project for a client with a lot of graphics and pictures, so Pinterest is the first choice in this case. Actually I still count Youtube as an independent Social Network, with its own rules and possibilities and the most obvious overlaps to G+ and Hangouts … let’s say, the lines and differences between the networks blur, more and more.
And now, Bernd, it’s your turn to ask the next PYB Academy member a question:
At a rough estimate, how many members of your family, RL friends, neighbours, colleagues or schoolmates are *active* on G+?
Bernd Rubel on the Web:
Thank you Bernd!
See you all in the PYB Community!