It’s been less than two months since Google+ made its first appearance in Internet-land, and I still don’t have it all figured out.

I BLAME MY ignorance on lack of time. If you’re already heavily invested in Facebook and Twitter, accepting another platform is like when that new kid moves to town and you’re unsure whether or not to accept him into your clique. Somehow, Google+ is threatening…but you just want to love it.

Opinions are mixed. Some people say Google+ isn’t even about social, and others feel the launch was a total embarrassment. Personally, I love what I know so far, and it’s nice to start afresh with small Circles of friends whom I can follow more closely. Here are my top seven articles about how to make the most of Google+.

Photo by topgold

1. Mashable’s Google+ Guide: This is a pretty thorough guide to Google+, with a fun Cheat Sheet for formatting text. It also covers how to maximize your profile info, how to manage projects, understanding Circles and Sparks, and more. The guide also comes with useful slideshows and input from other “pros.”

2. How to Use Google+ for Businesses: Actually, you can’t…yet. But Google announced that soon it will possible to set up business profiles on Google+, and small-to-medium businesses will be the biggest beneficiaries. This article explains how it all will work, but the most important point:

“Google has built its reputation on helping you find what you need–whether it’s a location, an image, or a product. Facebook has repeatedly stated that it’s focused on helping you connect with your friends. So when Google+ business profiles allow you to integrate your business’s presence into trusted tools used by everyday searchers, it’s a proposition that neither Facebook nor business owners can afford to ignore.”

3. Huffington Post’s 15 Tips for Newbies: HuffPo doesn’t just lay out how to use each element of Google+, but also explains how to do so efficiently right from the moment you set up your fabulous profile. That way, you won’t waste time setting everything up only to discover it was kind of a waste of time.

4. The Super-Comprehensive Google+ Collaborative Document: Other than being a massively lengthy document written by over 120 people, this might be the best place to go if you have any questions about ANYTHING related to Google+. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Even reviewing now, tons of new info has been added since the last time I checked.

5. Making Sense of the Google+ Button: If you’re unsure just what that adorable little Google+ button is doing when you click it, this article explains it all. If you’re not using it on your blog posts yet, I suggest you get started.

Photo by cambodia4kidsorg

6. Nine Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+: In many ways, I don’t think Google+ is any competitor to Facebook. For one, Facebook is consuming the Internet and our lives in a way that won’t be slowing down anytime soon. But this article gives an awesome outline of how Google+ is different, and how it has the upper-hand over many of Facebook’s features.

7. Google+ Privacy: 5 Settings You Need to Know: Ah, the delicate topic of personal privacy. This article is a great intro on how you can tighten your security settings a little better to keep prying eyes from being all up in your grill.