Using G+ and Hash Tags to create a private channel for group sharing and project work.
Part of my work is managing communication among a diverse group of social media enthusiasts from both academia and the professional world. As a group, we can be found on a multitude of platforms and use a plethora of programs, services and applications. The challenge I face is how to accomplish various tasks without making it a burden, especially since we are all volunteers. Adding another program/application/service/etc which someone is not already using is such a burden.
Sometimes we have used email for topical conversations or project work. Sometimes we just want to share articles related to something the group is working on, or perhaps for the group to file away for future use. Our emails accounts are barraged as it is and not the tools we use for real time conversations. A lot of us share stuff on twitter, but natively, it is not the best option for maintaining a discussion thread and archiving material for later use (while maintaining privacy to the group.)
There appears to be a solution using G+, which most all of us are already on (and hence no additional program or service is needed.) The group can be put in a circle and items shared amongst the group. No new news there.
When I designate who I am sharing the post with, there is a tiny inverted triangle to the right of the space where the names of the circles selected show up. Clicking on it displays an option to “Lock this post.” When I do that, the post and any resulting comments are only visible to the users I share the post with. Here it is circle I selected. Thus I can carry on conversations which are private to this circle.
In addition, I can use one or more hash tags on the post. Then I or other group members can search on the hash tags and the tagged posts only appear to the people I shared these posts with.
For example, I could use the hash tag #SMCEdJulyBdMtg for all items related to the upcoming board meeting, #SMCEdSMLegalIssues to keep track of developments in this topical area and #SMCEdStudentChapters for work we are doing with student chapters. I have a G+ circle with the board members in it. When a board member wants to see where things stand for the July meeting or what is currently going on regarding student chapters, they only need to be logged into G+/Google and search for the hash tag. The search results will show any public items with the hash tag as well as the private posts and subsequent conversations. Anyone else searching on the hash tag will not see the locked posts or those conversations. Thus I can maintain a searchable private stream of conversations, links and articles without requiring my colleagues to use another system or app.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.