Google+ may not be for you. If you are looking for a place to share gossip about your real life friends, to post photos of the latest party or browbeat your “friends” into helping you work on your farms, stay on Facebook. If you want to see your favorite celebrities crack one liners, find photos of what people are eating or get unverified announcements of the latest celebrity death, stay on Twitter. If you want to do nothing, stay on LinkedIn. Google+ is not for you.
On the other hand, if you want to connect with people and have conversations on topics that interest you with people who are not only interested in them, but may deal with them professionally, then maybe you will like Google+.
If you have not heard of G+, as “plussers” call it, it is Google’s latest attempt to get into the social network business. This market has been a struggle for them. Google Wave died from lack of use and Google Buzz’s early problems kept it from catching on.
If you have heard of G+ you may have heard it’s ghost town and the amount of traffic is slowing down. If the big G doesn’t have a good track record in the social market and people aren’t using it, why should you?
The rumors of G+’s death have been exaggerated. Those who think of Google+ as a Facebook wanna-be and expect it to work the same are like people looking through the wrong end of a kaleidoscope. All they see are the vague shapes moving behind the frosted glass, then shrug and call it dumb. On Facebook all the neat, pretty shiny things are on the surface. On G+ all the good stuff is on the inside, in your circles.
Circles are a way to group the people you follow by interest, allowing you to share ideas with just the people who will take interest in them. Circles can also be used to filter your incoming stream of information. If you want to see what is going on with your friends who are into the Giants, make a circle for that and with a click you can narrow the posts you see down to just those people.
This may not seem importent but it changes the tone of conversations. Limiting a question to those people who are interested or have a background in a topic reduces the smart-ass factor and keeps the discussions civil. In addition, circles help bring people with actual insight to bear on problems.
Google+ also allows people from outside the poster’s stream to be brought in the conversation in two ways: reshare a post with your circles or mention someone from your circles in the comments. This allows them access to the post.
On Labor Day one of the people in my circles reshared a post he had seen in his stream requesting help evacuating horses from areas threatened by fires in Texas. I reshared it because I had no other way to help. A few hours later, another friend posted information about a livestock arena that was serving as a shelter for animals threatened by the fire. I quickly circled the poster of the first post and commented them into the new conversation. This is the power of Google+. On Facebook I had to wait for a friend request to be approved and would not have been able to add people to the conversation.
So G+ may not be for you. That’s fine. Don’t stop by. If you want to take a look for yourself, let me know; I have invites. You can contact me at [email protected]