What's the Buzz All About?

By , February 15, 2010 6:41 pm

by Holly Gale

Have you seen it? Have you heard the Buzz? Yes, it’s true. Google is one step closer to world domination with its release of the new social media tool, Google Buzz. When I was invited to try out Google Buzz, I was in the middle of juggling my inactive Twitter account, a Facebook page with ancient photos, an old Picasa album for family, a blog for my neighborhood friends, and my LinkedInnetwork. Did I not have enough channels of information to manage and update? Is Buzz really the new Facebook? And I was just getting back into Twitter!

Needless to say, I immediately signed up and spent two hours trying to figure it out. To justify this time, I thought I would explain the basic ins and outs of Google Buzz to save you some time. Buzz allows users, straight from their Gmail accounts, to manage all of their (Google approved) social networking tools, such as Picasa, Twitter, Flickr, Google Blogs, and Google Reader.

What I like:I have, in theory, one spot for (almost) everything. My main goal in social networking is to maintain contact with the people I do not always see on a regular basis. Currently, with all of the tools I use, I rarely update anything in a timely manner. And since Google Buzz automatically links up with the sites I already use, if I update one, such as Picasa, then whoever “follows” me on Buzz can see my pictures automatically. I have already seen people “buzzing” about blogs from Google Reader, new Flickr pictures, and general status updates. I am no longer tempted to see a link on Facebook and follow it or check three different sites to see what my sister is up to. It is, in theory, one-stop shopping. To link up your Twitter, Flickr, Blog, Reader, or Picasa, click on “connected sites” to add them.

Be Forewarned: Privacy is potentially an issue here. Your profile can be set to public right at the first screen, though it is easy to click past without realizing it. If you do set your profile to public, you have options for sharing your content with selected people or groups. For example, I prevented my “Block Watch” contact list from seeing any status updates. I plan on creating a “family” list of contacts for my photos. If you set your account to private, you are limited in what you can do.

To cut back on some of your profile public-ness, I recommend changing your url to something other than your Gmail handle. Also, you can opt out of displaying who you are following and who is following you. To do this, simply go to your profile and click “Edit” to set parameters. Additionally, if you use Buzz on your mobile, it will ask to use your current location. I allowed it, only to find numerous random people in my neighborhood eating at the new Thai restaurant and buzzing about it.

While Buzz is not Facebook, it could be. People are looking for the next big thing. I love the idea of streamlining multiple social networking tools. And, since Google is already running my life, I am jumping on the bandwagon. I may be running scared next week, but until then, feel free to ask me questions as I explore the next new thing.

4 Responses to “What's the Buzz All About?”

  1. Erin Hoffrance says:

    Holly,

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I was curious about Buzz but had been wanting to hear more about it before I tried it. Very informative! thanks

  2. Keith Pitts says:

    For all interested in wrangling multiple streams of social networking (and posting simultaneously,) I’d suggest Tweetdeck. With it I have two Twitter streams, a Facebook stream, and a LinkedIn stream all in one window.

    NB: they’ve not integrated Google Buzz yet, but I presume it’ll be up soon.

  3. Brenna Louzin says:

    Holly,

    Thanks for being our electronic social tools volunteer. I like the idea of updating everything in one fell swoop but have been concerned about the privacy issues mentioned. Wonder if I would use this more than I do other tools?

  4. Erin Hoffrance says:

    Yes, I am curious about what Brenna said. For those who have used it, do you have the same concerns about privacy that I’ve seen mentioned in news articles recently?

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