Google Plus Publishes Guide for Pols

Correction: This article has been corrected to better reflect the origin of a Google Plus page supporting President Obama's reelection campaign.

Google has posted a guide for politicians using its developing social networking site Google Plus.

The post effectively describes how politicians can morph Google Plus networking features into campaign tools.

Circles, for instance, are intersecting groups of followers that allow a conventional Google Plus user to share different information with, say, colleagues or business clients and childhood friends. Google recommends politicians use circles to micro-target different groups of voters or constituents, sending distinct information to environmental activists, teachers or union members and not overwhelming everyone with everything.

The post also suggests politicians use Google Plus's "hangout" video chat feature to hold virtual "office hours" or a mini-Town Hall. Hangouts are limited to 10 participants but politicians can live stream a hangout on YouTube where more people can watch, according to the post.

A handful of national politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are actively posting on Google Plus, but the nascent site is still nowhere near as popular a venue for politicians as Facebook or Twitter.

Federal agencies first moved into Google Plus earlier this month when the site launched a "page" option, which is slightly different from a conventional profile and better suited to businesses, politicians and government agencies.

In its guidelines for politicians, Google recommended sticking with the page option and not running a separate profile to avoid confusion.

NASA is likely the most prolific agency posting to Google Plus to date but other agencies are moving onto the site. The White House doesn't appear to have a Google Plus page yet.

There is a page supporting the president's reelection campaign that was likely set up by supporters and several Republican presidential contenders have mounted official pages.

An unscientific Twitter poll of how government agencies are using Google Plus last week found only about 3 percent of respondents were actively using the site. About 30 percent of respondents said they were talking about creating a page or doing a pilot project and about 60 percent said they weren't using the site.

The survey had 80 respondents.