So, you're the one that inherited the old family photo album. Your distance cousin has the family bible. Is it possible to create an online archive to preserved and share these family treasures without hiring a professional web designer and going to great expense? Yes! You can even hold private meetings where family can join from virtually any spot on the face of the earth with a computer and Internet access. This month we'll discuss setting up a Google+ Community. Next month we will get into how to host a private Hangout on Air.
It's all about improving communication with your distant family members.
Horydczak, Theodor, approximately 1890-1971, photographer |
from the Library of Congress collection.
Set up is surprisingly simple, and since most have Gmail account, your family members are half-way there. There are just three steps to creating the family space:
- Create a Google+ Community.
- Add photos, videos and scanned images.
- Invite family members individually.
1. Create a private Google+ Community. (You want it private to avoid unwanted guests in this space.) You'll log in here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities and click the "Create Community" button shown below:
Next be sure to make the community private, and select "No, Hide it from searches" in response to the question "Can people search for your community?" as shown below.
2. Add photos and scanned images of a few important documents to get things started and build up content. With 10-15 individual posts of interesting photos, your family members will see the value of this new space. Unlike Facebook, Google+ does not restrict your members views of posts by 94%. This is a screen shot of Grandma Pat's Musings, the Google+ Community I created to share stories and pictures with my grandchildren. I am careful to refer to my Dad as "great-grandpa" since that is who he is in the eyes of my grandchildren, my target audience.
- Point A - I chose a casual pic with my husband to be the "logo" graphic for the Gramma Pat's Musings community on Google Plus.
- Point B - You may add videos that reside on YouTube or elsewhere on the web. In this case, my 3-year old granddaughter loves the Disney movie Frozen, and so she got a big kick out of the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" parody "Do you want to Drive My Tractor?" Naturally, this belongs in our private family space on the web.
- Point C - One may add categories and rearrange the left nav bar in communities they own.
- Point D - One may elect to "pin" a post to keep it at the top when people arrive at the community. In this case I pinned a photo of my parents, because of a wedding anniversary coming up.
Notice I keep the story short and sweet, just two or three lines. If I have more to tell, I can add additional text as comments below the image. I'm trying to attract youth. If we were to scroll down through the community you'd see I have current and old photos of each grandchild, and funny images of their parents as children.
3. Invite - Once you've got your private Google+ Community organized and filled with intriguing content, you'll want to scroll to the top right to find the "Invite people" button, circled in green in the screen shot above. Up pops a dialog box where you can compose a sentence or two for the invitation. Notice the "logo" photo shows up in this invitation. You may invite family members by Google+ profile or email. If they don't yet have a Google Account, they will be invited to create one.
WORLD WIDE PERSPECTIVEFew have the privilege of living in multiple generation households. Employment takes some family units halfway around the world. Creating a private (read that safe) family space on the web to share old family photos, kids' soccer pics, recipes, etc. brings families closer together.
Google+ Communities are free, and easy to set up. Let us know how you've decided to organize your private family community.
- Video: DearMYRTLE's Google Hangouts: Enhancing family gatherings and interviews Toward the end of this presentation, Ol' Myrt here actually sets up a Google Community.
- Video: DearMYRTLE's How to Hangout and Use Google+ includes a 19 minute video demonstrating creating a Google+ Community.