Google+ allows colleges to create official pages

Even if the Google+ official college and university pages prove to be a social media flop, Barnett said maintaining a page is worth the effort.

“Google’s vast audience, that’s where the real potential is,” he said. “The audience is too large to ignore, so we’ll wait and see.”

Dennis Troper, Google’s director of product management, said in a blog post that managers of Google+ pages “can look forward to many more features and improvements in the coming weeks and months,” without specifying those features.

Google+ pages differ from personal accounts: Pages don’t receive eMails or texts, the privacy settings are set to public as a default, and pages can’t add Google+ users to their circle unless the user follows the college, business, or organization.

Google+ pages can’t host “mobile hangouts” or share videos, articles, and other links with people in extended Google+ circles.

Barnett said campuses’ approach to growing official Facebook pages could work on Google+.

Oregon’s Facebook page had 3,600 followers in April 2009, and after a concerted effort to attract students, fans, and alumni, the page now has 160,000 followers.