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Why I’m Loving Google+

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+ logo

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.

WP Starter Guide
Feeling the Google+ Love

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.)

About 

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

86 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Hi! Do you have any information about privacy on Google+? I’m concerned about that, which is why I was on the boat, but got off really quick…

    Thanks for this post!

        • What I know so far about privacy, TK, is that you can share information with selected groups or even individuals and unless posts are public, they don’t appear in search (well, not when I checked anyway). Hope this answers your concern.

        • Sorry to barge in, but everything in G+ profiles can remain private with the exception of your username and gender. G+ will delete on 31st July, any profile that is 100% private, so you may want to check on that. All other info, such as birthday, occupation, links, interest, etc can be kept private and you can set that up by editing your profile. It is very easy actually. Anyway, the Google team says that it does not make sense to be part of a social community if you don’t want anyone to know the minimum about you.

    • All Google services are interconnected (Adsense, Analytics, G+, Orkut, Feedburner etc) and they can use it against you or your favor. Think about it!

  2. I’m not sure if Google+ is gonna be the next big thing. I thought that Google Wave was brilliant, because it was a completely new product (that’s maybe also why it didnt work, it was too new). The thing with Google+ is it’s not new, it’s just that all the communication is centralized. I am not sure if millions of users really need a centralized social network, and it will need a great deal of users to pass the tipping point. Guess it is a cool product for geeks, but I wonder if it will pass the tipping point.

    • Hard to tell at this early stage, Ellen. I quite like the idea of centralization as a way to alleviate social media fatigue, but maybe that’s just me. :) And the communication on G+ is closer to what I was hoping to achieve from other networks.

    • Because when Facebook started, there weren’t any business pages, I had a lot of business contacts as friends on my personal profile. Now I’ve been able to encourage them to connect with me on G+ and return my personal profile to its intended use. I’m hoping that the level of engagement on Plus will survive the influx of new users when it’s open to all, Justin.

      • Yeah, I had same problem. Facebook still doesn’t give enough functionality to fanpages. I also hear Google+ is going to have business pages soon as well.

        I don’t use any of my social media accounts for “personal” communication though, they are all public profiles.

        • Having traveled a lot, Justin, my friends are spread far and wide, so I connect with some of them on Facebook (though I guess group emails would work almost as well).

  3. Oh my gosh Google+ is addicting! Being a foodie first, + offers me few friends at the moment. However the blog/social community is obviously explosive on G+ and I’m very excited to be part of it. Not being a blogging/media whiz, it’s taking some time to learn. It blows facebook out of the water in my opinion. In fact, I never was a big of FB in the first place. Always changing, and never for the better!

    Ileane is one who inspired my decision to continue to blog. More recently, I used your cloud flare advice with great results.

    Thanks for the posts, they are most helpful and enjoyable!

  4. macman

    Impressive search results are in its way while they improve the Google Plus features. It’s a great tool for the social networks where search results would be influenced by the network circle one belongs to.

  5. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for sharing yet another great post on Google+ !! Seems like you have nearly mastered the new revolution! I sure need to pick up some great tips from you, especially to write something daily!

    Google+ is surely addictive and once you are on it, other social networking sites are simple taking a back seat. Is that a good or bad sign, guess time will tell!

  6. rizzasabanit

    Definitely Google is umber 1. Most often Google is used in any other ways. Me and my kids the first thing when we search for something is go to Google, if there are some research papers and documents we still used Google. Certainly its number 1 today.

  7. Sharon I’m with you. I am addicted to Google plus (not to the point where it distracts me, but I am using it for good). I simply love all its features. Got something in the wishlist, but Google will improvise, I am sure :)

  8. Hey Sharon,

    I’m loving Google + for one main reason: networking. This could end up being a huge breakthrough for those of us in the writing industry. In the past 3 weeks, I’ve managed to come up with a couple new contacts to help me with my writing career, plus found a couple other people whom I’ve worked with in the past but hadn’t heard from in a VERY long time.

    I think in time this will not only help with my online writing endeavors, but will help me get back to my fiction-writing roots.

    Great article, as usual, Sharon.

    • Thanks, Christine. I also think the networking potential is enormous. What I like about the way it’s developing so far is that my network is growing naturally. People are still experimenting with what they share and it makes it more interesting (to me).

  9. sugahland

    I am a lil’ confused with this g+ thing ..I have been seeing it in blogs lately and one time I read that it is the latest from google…

  10. Great post, Sharon! I totally get where you are coming from since Facebook is not really my favorite platform but had to go with the flow. Google+ seems like a very intelligent and streamlined social networking site. I saw the trailer for it on YouTube and everything looks clean and the features make sense. After reading your post, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before more people catch the Google+ fever. I doubt it will be as popular as Facebook, but I don’t think that’s the whole point anyway. It’s meant for those who already have a social circle, or want to extend it, and have different options to interact and share. There is plenty to get excited about with Google+, especially the ‘hangout’ feature and group web chat. Count me in!

    • Agreed, Darla. Although G+ could replace the other networks, it doesn’t have to for people who already have a strong presence there. It makes a great addition, though. For me personally, I’d like to make it my main online point of contact once it’s open to all.

  11. I haven’t check this yet because I am stuck with Facebook. But then I guess Google+ is great with interacting not just for socialization but also for learning from others with their respective field of career in online business.

  12. Hi Ileane! It is awesome and useful site always come up with great ideas and something new. Thanks for providing us so nice and informative content on current ongoing topic Google+, its benefits and other features.

  13. Hi Sharon. Mike’s description pretty much sums up G+, I like it.. As for me, I have probably spent 80/20% time on G+ compared to FB. I am also not very fond of FB, but considering that I still have some connections there, in particular “closed” groups, I have to continue using it.

    I agree with you as far as G+ is concerned. It is really very flexible and versatile. I specially like the fact that you can edit a post after publishing it, among other things. As Google continue to add more features in there, it is most likely that I will just stick with the, We’ll see.

    • The editing rocks, DiTesco. One of the most annoying things on Twitter and FB is having to delete and repost if you spot a typo. G+ has been a huge pull, causing me to spend much less time on other networks (and even on email!) I’m looking forward to seeing how it improves after feedback and will be mostly hanging out there once it’s got more widespread takeup.

      • I agree Sharon. The pull on G+ right now is driving me crazy, lol. Which reminds me, I have to check on Twitter in a moment. Getting away from G+.. kinda difficult since my gMail is almost always on and when I see that red thing there, it makes me want to see what my connections are up to :)

  14. Hey Sharon,

    I joined FaceBook ages ago but I could never really get into it. I’ve always preferred Twitter to FaceBook. It took me awhile to join FaceBook, but when Google+ came on the scene I joined straight away. You can’t compare it to FaceBook because it is so much more and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.

  15. Google+ will take off simply because it will be promoted through all other free products Google offer. Since Google+ adds more privacy through circles it will be more popular among users who want better privacy, but I doubt Facebook will let it flow like this. This and the next year will be very interesting for users following both social networks.

  16. Hey Sharon! great article, Though I am not a word nerd, but yes, english is my main language and can manage with it quite well. When i started with G+ i found it to be an inferior version of FB, but since last 7 days, i found it a bit more evolved than FB. and daily I am learning a thing or two new in it.. Overall it looks great.
    btw, loved your site! thank you

  17. To tell you the truth, I still haven’t looked into joining Google+. But, according to what I last heard, don’t you still need an invite to join?

  18. Google Plus is going to rock in the near future,but as of now people are still using Facebook and they won’t be shifting to G+ until and unless lots of girls shift there :P

  19. Sounds as though you are really having fun with Google+.

    I responded to my Google+ invitation; however, have not yet had time to explore it. One functionality that really appeals to me is the Huddles video chat service that lets you create adhoc chats. Sounds like a great collaboration tool for some of my groups to support one another. I

  20. Google + is getting popular by the day. More than 18 million users in such a short span of time proves that Google + is here to stay. The cool features make it all the more attractive. I really like the Circles and the Hangout!

  21. Google plus can be the next big thing. I think it will overcome Facebook someday but not so soon. Facebook have dominated the scene and have a very huge user-base making it a bit difficult for Google plus to amass quickly. The thing is Google plus offers more new and cool features than Facebook.

  22. @Shree – those are my favorites too. I can see how Hangouts could become addictive.

    @Rylai – I think it’s cooler than FB but I know many people are torn between them. For a while, I think it will come down to where your friends are. Most of my online buddies are on G+, with other friends and family on FB.

  23. I’ve only been on Google+ since yesterday (I know, I’m a little bit late), but so far I’m loving it, too. After using it for less than 24 hours, I can say that one of the main reasons I find it so appealing is because the user interface is, to me at least, so much easier to navigate than Facebook. Everything’s much cleaner, much simpler. It seems much more intuitively easy to use than Facebook. I’m sure I’ll be sticking with Facebook for a while too, though, as not that many of my friends have made the change over to Google+ yet.

    • I know what you mean, Petra. One of my close friends has only just joined Facebook! Don’t know how I’ll break it to her that I’ll be on Google+ most of the time! :D

  24. Honestly i must say you always strick me with your posts. One thing stands out here , you always share your experience on what ever you do or descover. I now see why one of your objectives is to share. Reading through most of your blog post leaves me with many things to carry back home.
    I had google + installed on my blog and in less than no time, i had amazing results.

  25. I wonder if many of the features you enjoy about Google+ are because there isn’t the number of people involved like there is on Facebook. Think about it- would your conversations with people still feel fluid if there were hundreds of people you were friends with? And what about those people you recently connected with on +? Would you have seen them if you had dozens more in your circles? I like what Google+ promises, but I agree that we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.

  26. All I can say is that the features in Google+ and in Facebook.. it’s totally different.. more like a different genre to be honest..

  27. So far everything I saw, heared and did with google+ is really positive. The only reason I’m quite hesistant to switch is because it’s google. It seems google is starting to get quite a monopoly over the internet and that’s never a good thing, they will have too much power. Or maybe I’m just worrying too much.

  28. I also love Goggle + and this plugin really starts grabbing traffic . thanks for bringing this nice and authentic post into my knowledge.
    i also wants Goggle + to bring revolution because i am fed up with FB and other social medias.

  29. Their is no alternative…you should be where the traffic is. Simple as that. If you don’t like facebook then don’t waste your time but Google + is not an alternative.

  30. Yes, Google + is absolutely a revolution in the not only in the cyber world but also in the real world as well. You have pointed out that so nicely and someone who is totally new to Google + can get a vivid picture about it from this post.

  31. I am not sure if I will be happy to replace my facebook and twitter with Google plus. I haven’t really navigated it a lot. But a lot are saying that it is really better than other social networking sites so far.

  32. It is soft of in between Facebook and twitter. My preference is FB, G+ then twitter. You can put in more content than twitter but still I am already get used to FB, the interface, etc…

    But who knows, 1 day everyone might be using G+ (just like what happen to FB a couple years back…)

  33. Interesting article and very interesting comments thread. I just followed you on G+ and if you check you’ll notice I have no posts yet as I haven’t figured out what I want it to be – professional profile, social or a bit of everything. I wish they’d integrate a Twitter feed because if they did that it’s be an easy decision for me to make. For now I’m just watching – and reading blog posts and comments from users about it.

  34. Hi Sharon!

    Well said about Google+, actually I am not really fan of Facebook, but now I am addicted to it, LOL

    Now it comes Google+ which is really great if we want to have a “circle” in our network, and heard that it has better privacy, though I am not sure about it either.

    I do really hope that Google+ won’t be ended like Google buzz.

    Thanks.

    Kimi.

  35. I consider Google Plus as a great source to drive traffic..This social network have all the essentials which makes it unique..I love “circle” section a lot.

  36. This has grown so much more quickly than facebook/twitter or myspace but I have to think that a lot of the growth is down to spam accounts and bots!

  37. Robin

    You really inspire me to create an account in google+…I have heard a lot of people about their comments about this google+…Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts…

  38. Hi Sharon,
    I’ve heard so many good things about G+, and I especially appreciate the fact that it addresses all the privacy and post editing issues Facebook had! But, like you said, the majority of followers are still on Facebook…

    • The conversational potential of G+ remains a big plus for me, Ivin. And now my Facebook stream, with very few exceptions, only has updates from friends and family, which makes it much more usable.

  39. I have google+ but wasn’t very interested in it, it felt like another annoying facebook time waster. And most of my friends have not adopted Google+ yet.
    But after reading the first quote, my interest is sparked, not just sparked it turned into a wild uncontrollable sea of flames, ok that is exagerating it a bit but serious; this is revolutionary.
    Not only can you do everything with google+ like twitter and fb. but if everybody starts using google+ I can get rid of twitter and fb. And when I get sick of people disturbing me on my phone with social networking, I only need to tell one program to shut up.
    Loving “Feeling the Google+ Love” part as well. Really eye opening.
    It would be such a shame if google+ doesn’t catch on.
    I hope facebook and twitter are not the “internet explorer” of social networking. (ie. there are many better options like chrome and firefox but people just use what they know)

  40. After using it for less than 24 hours, I can say that one of the main reasons I find it so appealing is because the user interface is, to me at least, so much easier to navigate than Facebook.

  41. Thanks Sharon for sharing your information about G+ – i think it’s a combination of both twitter and facebook. The main difference i see is that you can share information with whom you select out of your circles. Is there any other difference i might have overseen?

  42. I been using Google plus since it came out and I have to agree with most of the comments that it is easy to use and if you don’t have an account with Google I would definitely sign up. You will love Google + as much as I do!!

  43. i have been using google plus for the past 6 months..its been very interesting and i like very much..the hang outs, circles evrything has many advenced features other than social media networks….

  44. Orkut is first social networking site I used to connect with friends. But, when I came to know about Facebook, I had left orkut completely. Google plus has many advance feature so I am daily user of this site.

Trackbacks

  1. Why I’m Loving Google+…

    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….