I was invited weeks ago, but put off joining Google+ until recently. Then, I waited `til I had a few dedicated hours to delve into the network. I confess, part of me really wanted Google+ to fail. After all, it’s just one more Social Network I have to learn. And Facebook’s hype-machine has desensitized me to any claims of social media greatness. I even wrote some words of sadness on the networks, asking Google to stick to what they do best—Search!
But, oh how my feelings have quickly changed.
I’ve literally only been using Google+ for a week or so… yet I already see huge advantages and potential.
1. Brings Networking Down to Size
Most refreshing is that Google+ is based fundamentally on “Circles” — where you build groups of contacts and friends into the groups that resemble…wait for it—real life! Let’s face it, we’ve all endured some level of social “whiplash” going from a colleague’s Facebook post to viewing your sister’s sonogram.
2. Grown-Up Conversations
With Google+ you can still choose to mingle with the masses. But…if you want to limit your visit to professional contacts, now you can click on your Professional Circle. Feel like “visiting” your extended family but want to turn off the “noise” of industry chatter? Switch circles. Yes, Facebook offers some similar functionality…but Facebook is fundamentally based on mass communication…not intimate, smaller discussions. With Google+, it’s no longer “the loudest one wins”. You control who you see, who you listen to, and who you talk to. I’ve spent a social media lifetime trying to do this very thing in HootSuite for Twitter.
Google+ brings a refreshing new approach to focused, less-frenetic communication. In fact, Google+ users are two to three times more likely to share privately with one of their Circles than post publicly.
The results? Not only do you get to tune out what you want at any given moment, you also put more thought into what you’re about to post. Any good content producer will tell you to “envision your audience” before producing content. That’s a heck of a lot easier when you’re forced to define your audience right off the bat!
3. Finally—No Self-Serving Group Organizers!
With Google+ you create and manage your own circles. No one else even sees them—and they can’t “rally” to be included in your circles. No pesky notifications. No races to recruit new followers. Just simple networking — simplicity you’d expect from Google.
4. Posting Options You Control
Ever had a moment where you forgot to add a link to a Facebook post — or you fat-fingered someone’s name? Or want to add something after the fact? Unlike Facebook, Google+ actually allows you to edit and update your posts. You can even Link to an individual post, disable comments or prevent others from resharing. Really Google? You’re letting me control what happens to my content? Thank you. That’s mighty Google-like of you!
5. Google Listens, Tests and Plans
Google+ only supports Consumer profiles right now. Why? They want to release their Business Profiles when the time is right and they’ve sufficiently tested and created an optimal experience. In short: they want to do it right. This is completely in line with how Google tests and releases every other product. I always feel like Google respects my time, my learning curve and my attention span. So far, Google+ appears to do the same.
In fact, much like Google’s regular communication from Matthew Cutts, Product Managers at G+ are keeping us apprised of developments and plans AS they happen. When Google decided to pull the plug on releasing Business Profiles too soon, they communicated, explained their rationale and even produced some quick, informal videos addressing their decision. When’s the last time you saw a Facebook Product Manager do this?
*Sigh* … Google+ is so Google-like, they’re making it impossible to ignore the network. I can’t wait to see the evolution and value it can bring to Well Planned Web and its clients. We’ve already got many ideas brewing!
Love it or hate it…please chime in on your Google+ experience so far!