Social Media Top 5: Dammit, I’m Writing About Google Plus


Flickr photo by Bert23

I’m trying not to write “just another blog post about Google Plus,” as there has been a lot of crap and good stuff on this here Internet that is hard to ignore. However, I have had some time to think about it, and would like to place it in context of “other networks.” Most of us active social media users have focused our daily time on Facebook and Twitter for talking with people, along with our blogs, YouTube and similar scattered platforms for our content.

It is way to early to judge whether Google Plus will even have long-term traction, let alone unseat Facebook, Twitter and blogs (as I wrote on the Voce Nation blog; patience, people). As for Google plus for business, they haven’t opened business accounts as of this writing so my counsel has been to wait until there is something to hang on to before putting any resources into Google Plus education– outside of trying it yourself. Still, there have been many interesting things around it– thus my Google-Plussy Social Media Top 5:

  1. Google Plus is intriguing because it is tied to other Google products many of us use
  2. If you use Gmail, there’s Plus, right there. Google Reader? Right there. Google Buzz? (Shut up, I use it and I know at least two other people do). There it is again. Google starts with an advantage because they have a built-in audience who all of a sudden have a toolbar on all their Google pages that shows their Google Plus notifications and other account information. It’s easy, in that case, to incorporate it into that part of your online life. Heck, even when you get in to the Google Plus web interface, there is Google Buzz right there– maybe people will use that too. Maybe.

    All this is significant to me, because Google has a history of having disparate products that should be integrated tightly but aren’t. Anybody who uses Feedburner and Google analytics (still) knows that. Even here, I don’t see a Google Plus bar on top of my YouTube (a Google property, remember?) page. Why not? Perhaps that will come.

  3. Google Plus is frustrating because it is not integrated into the established routine we have already assigned to other social networks
  4. In Google Plus, I have no easy way to publish to Twitter and Facebook also. I think it’s important for some early adopters, unless Google is simply convinced they will all dump Facebook and/orTwitter and embrace Google Plus full-time. Again, it’s way too early for anyone to be doing that, because not nearly enough people are on Plus yet. Perhaps that could change, but it will likely be quicker to find a way to add multi-platform posting functionality. As for those saying “I have left Facebook and am now on Google Plus,” that’s great if you have the kind of following who is a) largely part of that early adopter crowd who has access and b) willing to flock over there with you. It reminds me of a few years back, when Jeff Pulver abandoned LinkedIn for Facebook. Great for him, but I couldn’t have pulled it off. No way am I doing it here, or recommending that to any colleagues or clients.

    And while you’re at it? I’m sure (Google property) Picasa is fine, but I have a lot of time, money and resources invested in Flickr. Would love to be able to post my pictures there with a click.

    (And while I’ m at it: The notion that Google Plus should replace your blog is not necessarily the best idea (or a good idea) for anyone who actually wants to own their content vs having it controlled by a company that could take it down, make it disappear or otherwise mishandle it. I prefer to mishandle my own content first before handing it over to the professionals

  5. Google Plus is about “you” while Facebook et al are about “other people” (Maybe?)
  6. This article has an unfortunate title about Google Plus being doomed to fail– just as silly as saying it’s the new shiny before it has even launched. but it did make me think about the difference in approach. In my initial experiments, Google Plus seems to be about “me” (or to you, “you). My Circles, my organization of friends. I have no idea what Circles other people have put me into, just that they have put me in some. I don’t think the reason for that is privacy, as there are some scary potential privacy pitfalls in Plus (check the settings on your Android Google Plus app to see if your cellphone photos are automatically being posted to your Plus profile. Really, check right now). I just think the design ethic doesn’t account for finding other people and groups of interest- it’s just about you talking to people you already know. I suspect that will change. I would love to have more discovery options (a “Red Sox” public circle? cool!), and perhaps we shall see some as Plus develops.

  7. Interesting Google Plus experiments have been popping up
  8. This one, in which a press conference was held on Google Plus, is interesting. The hangout tool is still a bit klugey for some folks, and again, not everyone is on Plus, but as an experiment (important word), this makes sense and is interesting- and is not a bad PR stunt either.

  9. Quora (ha! curveball!) – don’t forget tools that may have been dismissed by the early adopter/short attention-span crowd.
  10. I know. Not Google Plus. Also, I was largely absent from the Quora hype when it launched. However, it’s a specific tool that does a particular thing well- provide a forum for experts to answer questions- and if it provides a place for established experts (like New York Times reporters) to embed the Quora Q&A format on their own sites, there may be life in that old dog yet. Just a caution not to over-hype a new service or complete ignore its utility when it’s down.

    So let’s see what happens with Google Plus, shall we? I think there will be a lot more to watch, rendering this post and all the musings, rants, webinars and complaints irrelevant. That’s the exciting part.


  1. Gotta sing big praises on this. A G+ post that’s actually worth the time it takes to read it. I’m both worried about and intrigued by #3. Don’t want my social tools to worship me, lest I become more self-centered.

    On the other hand, when I meet other people, I distinctly get the aura that I’m in their space, there to get to know them. Hadn’t thought about that before just now…

  2. To me the really interesting and exciting part of G+ is to come — and that’s when all of us mouthbreathers who aren’t part of the Googleplex start making it do things they never thought of.

    That’s when this s**t gets FUN.

  3. Tinu, Thanks!
    I suspect the “you” stuff- the vibe I got after reading the Forbes article- will change. I have wondered if some of the aspects of the launch (the awkward “you’re invited/no you’re not” bits) as well as the “you” are a result of an engineering culture building a social tool. Could be wrong.

    Bob– does this mean our mom’s might use G+? But didn’t Robert Scoble say they’re not invited? ;)

  4. Liz Web Page

    G+ should’ve been opened to teenage gamers first, to show what social features it was missing. But it’s obviously too grandmotherly for that at this stage.

    Right now, I’d just as soon dump it. It’s clumsy with the notifications. It’s too similar to Facebook with its stream. It seems crowded and noisy already and it’s just the people I already know from other platforms.

    I almost resent having to do yet another social network that offers me nothing especially special. I also have a semi-paranoid concern about the integration of other google-related products and the consequences of running afoul of g+’s currently nebulous terms of service. I feel like Google is taking over the internet and that just makes me sad.

    I’ll probably eventually succumb and submit as I’m meant to. But I don’t have to like it.

    My two cents. :p

  5. Liz,

    Assuming you haven’t already been picked up by the Google Police, I get your points– just waiting to see if people stay there after checking it out. The social netwrok, after all, is the people not the platform. Time will tell.

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