Hey, are you in the throes of Google+ mania, or are you distinctly underwhelmed? I'm definitely in the former camp for a lot of reasons. One of the main ones is its versatility, which is best described by Mike Elgan. Here's Mike's take on posting content in G+:
If you address it to “Public,” it's a blog post.
If you address it to “Your Circles” it's a tweet.
If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it's a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.
I'd say this is pretty revolutionary.
The Google+ Revolution
Revolutionary is the right word. Imagine a single platform where you can replicate and extend all the functions from your existing social media hangouts. Now, I have a confession to make. Although I use Facebook like everyone else, it's never been my favorite platform. But what are you going to do when everyone else is there? Suck it up and make the best of it. And I have, with a page for my writing business as well as the inevitable personal profile. Now there's an alternative. I'm not jumping ship just yet, because I don't want to abandon the people who have connected with me there, but if they ever embrace Google+ with open arms, I'll happily add them to a Circle and reduce my Facebook time.
Google+ – A Blogger's Perspective
As a blogger, I love the interaction I get on everything I post. At the moment, with a relatively small audience in the tens of millions on Google+, everything I post gets a reaction, whether it's a +1, a share, a comment or all 3. As for the techies at the head of the pack, they've already found the thresholds for shares and comments. In less than a week, I've had dozens of meaningful conversations that just wouldn't have happened on Facebook and couldn't have happened in 140 characters.
And think of the possibilities. When you write a post on Google+ and get a great response, you could assign the people who commented to a temporary circle, and share a resource you know will interest them with them alone. You could host a weekly Hangout (a video and IM chat with up to 10 people) and discuss the top content on your blog, the social media issues of the day, the ebook you're about to release, or answer your readers' top questions about your niche. That personal touch is a powerful way of deepening your connection with your audience.
Google+ – It's Conversational!
Somehow, the conversation on Google+ has a different feel to it. It's hard to explain why. The day that I wrote this post, I had conversations with Mari Smith (whose blog I follow but with whom I've never connected in this way), a bunch of writers (we were talking about managing our personal Facebook profiles now that we had G+), and many others (including Ileane). With the help of a couple of extensions, you can always know when you've missed something (warning, G+ can be addictive!) I use Surplus for notifications and Comment Toggle to hide or show comments. One can also compare the advantages of Twitter vs Google Plus.
Thinking about it, what Google+ has allowed me to do is take some of my online friendships with bloggers to the next level. Some of us have been talking on the other two main networks for years, sporadically, but some of those conversations can feel disjointed. Google+ has a very fluid feel to it.
Other things I love about this new platform are:
- There's no mutual follow pressure (not that I ever fell for that). No one knows what circles you have put them in and you can even hide the people you are following altogether.
- You can edit your posts, so a typo isn't the end of the world as it is on Twitter and Facebook.
- You can research blog posts via the Sparks feature.
- You can choose exactly what you share with whom and how to divide up your contacts – and it's easy!
I recognize that I'm sounding like a Google+ evangelist (especially since I've written two other posts on it in the space of a week). I'm sure the site will turn out to have its flaws (it's still in beta, after all), but so far, so good. I haven't yet worked out what I'll be posting there compared to other places, as it's all so new. All I know is that if it remains this good, I'll be hanging out on Google+ for a while! If you're there too, here's my Google+ profile.
(And by the way, if you're still wondering what Google+ is, check out this post on Ivin Viijoen's self publishing blog for more explanation of the features.)