Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Add Google +1 to Your Blogger/Blogspot Presence

The Google Plus social network has been fun to play with so far, and I understand that even though Google+ has been growing really fast, it still has a ways to go before it catches up with Facebook and Twitter. Unlike the latter two, one thing that takes getting used to in Google+ is the lack of a system to send a direct or private message to who you're connected with. There is a work-around, where you can publish to your intended recipient's stream: you click on "Share what's new...", type something, but then when it comes time to 'Share', instead of specifying a circle, you type out the name of the person who you're connected to. Your message then gets published to that person's stream. The problem with this method of approximating direct messaging is, as Google+ warns:
Your content may be shared beyond the bounds which you originally intended if your post is reshared or if someone is mentioned on your post. For instance, if someone is mentioned in a comment, they'll be able to see the entire post even if the post wasn't originally shared with them.
So if you mention someone else in the content of the post, and happen to prepend that third person's name with a '+' or '@', then that person can now read your message, which defeats the purpose of a private, direct message.

That said, Google+ is still pretty cool, and one can argue that because there is this limitation of no direct messaging, Google+ is cleaner and leaner, akin to Twitter's self-imposed 140 character limit (which I, and Farhad Manjoo, think has outlived its usefulness, especially for Twitter conversations).

Before Google Plus came out, Google introduced +1, which is their version of the Facebook 'Like' button. In addition to Google's how to add +1 to your blog, for those on blogger/blogspot, here's what I did:

As stated in the Google document above, you need to copy and paste one of the following 3 possible pairs of XML elements into your blog template:
  • <script> and <g:plusone> elements
  • <script> and <div> elements
  • Two <script> elements, the latter of which makes a call to the render function, as explained in the section Javascript API
They all accomplish the same thing, but if you don't know which one to use, I'd go with the first, or the second, one, either of which are easy to copy, as Google provides the boilerplate for you, without the need for any additional changes from you. Our next steps are for where to paste what we copied:
  1. In Blogger's tabs console, click on 'Design'
  2. Click on 'Edit HTML', and in the section 'Edit Template', click on 'Expand Widget Templates'
  3. Paste anywhere inside. I recommend that you provision a section inside the template so you can keep track of all the changes you've made to the default.

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