How an average daily user sees Google+ after 9 months.
Posted on April 09, 2012 by @mqtodd
These are my thoughts after about 9 months on Google+ as an average user.
I will start by saying that I love many things and am giving 6/10 for what Google+ is right now but am giving it 10/10 for potential. It is this potential that keeps me going back each day.
It has now been bit over 9 months since I was lucky enough to join Google+ on the first morning. Thanks Jen Barr for the invite. It has been a fun and interesting time being involved with the development of what could be the next big thing.
Many of us were so excited about the hangouts and the chance to talk to each other live in person. We had some good fun and video and sound definetely increase the connection started onor Facebook.
I fully expected Google to add these hangouts to Facebook group – like communities. Perhaps even building on the existing “Google group” email tree like communities. I thought that these would run 24 hours a day but it has never happened.It is hard to see Google+ gaining more “traction” until communities are introduced. Many of us spend the majority of our time on Facebook in Facebook groups and this is where we have the most meaningful relationship building and knowledge sharing.
Many apps and plugins and extensions have been built for Google+ and have enhanced its usability.
Google+ does not have a “story” like the one portrayed in “The Social Network” or like all the other online communities that have begun as a startup. Google is no stattup. For me this does not hold it back as I feel the special community whenever I visit but for some users this may be something of a stumbling block.
The technology, general smooth running, visual nature and more of Google+ is excellent as could be expected.
I have met new people on Google+ and also renewed and deepened relationships that I made ona few years ago that had not transformed into Facebook relationships. I am inspired by several people who are making a massive success of their time spent on Google+ these include Amanda Blain, Peter McDermot, Laurie des Autels, Chris Lang, Thomas Power, Matthew Rappaporte, Reg Saddler and Bobbi Jo Woods. What these people are achieving is a big factor to my daily presence, albeit at a much much lower level than they are experiencing. Watch how these guys are using it and add their methods to your own unique style.
I have been circled by just over 9000 people. I have circled the maximum number back that I can being 5,000. It does not sit well with me not to reciprocate the circling. This is a disappointing aspect of Google+. I am into supporting those who support me and I feel kind of empty when people circle me now. Around 100 a day. At least on Facebook I can make a connection by subscribing.
I post say 3-5 times a day. Is this average? I am not totally sure but I think so. These 3-5 posts attract around 10-20 +1s and say 5-10 shares and 5-10 comments on average. Is this average? Again I think so. It is about the same level of attraction my posts get on Facebook but the variety of people liking and commenting on my Facebook is much wider.
Is this “attraction” on Google+ increasing? Not really. I have experiemnted with various strategies to increase engagement. I have done days where I have clicked +1 on every post by every person I have circled for example. I have been a sporadic attendee of hangouts. I throw myself into the odd discussion when and where I think I can add value. I am using different circles to watch and to share. I have a key inner circle of around 40 people whose content I regularly +1 and/or comment on and share.
This can be evidenced by the Klout algorithm saying that around 85% of my “influence” comes from Facebook and only around 7-8% from Google+ (despite the figures I have quoted in the last paragraph being so similar). Interesting isn’t it? That has not significantly altered over the past 2 months by the way and those levels are shared by several of my friends with similar social media activity and Klout scores as me. In short Klout does not see Google+ as a particularly influential place right now. Realistically I am on Google+ about 10% of the time I am on Facebook so Klout has probably got it spot on! I will step this up to 15-20% and see what happens.
A common cry is that “Google doesn’t do social”. I am loathe to be negative or critical but it is hard to disagree with this. You really have to wonder to what extent Google have consulted people who actually do social media. The lack of communities, event pages (a key ingredient of social media as social media is so much about events) and birthday notifications (a big feature of Facebook for me) are holding back Google+ a great deal. I am not looking for it to be an Facebook but these things are basics which when initiated will be heavily used. A hangout “manager” Chee regualrly pops in and out and is a great guy. His focus however is strictly on the technical aspects of hangouts and not how they can be added to the social media mix. Many people are doing that though but one wonders if the whole of Google is similarly bereft of social media savvy.
I was a heavy subsciber and supporter of Google Friend Connect when it was unveiled 3 years ago. I can see it being especially useful if added to our Google+ profiles and Google is missing the boat big time with that. This is a blogging network where we can at the same time promote our own brand by exhibiting the blogs we follow and also promote those blogs.
Google Wave and Buzz have both been ditched. One senses an increased committment by Google to Google+ though and there are raving fans and advocates which those 2 platforms did not have. It really is time to take it forward though and build on the excellent base that exists. As I said at the beginning of this post I see massive potential.I will persevere and give it every chance. It is Google after all and they have unlimited funds to keep Google+ running. I do not believe it will go away. There are SEO factors and interconnectivity with other places which are developing quickly and keep Google+ as a place that demands the attention of any wanting to maximise their online efforts.
Get involved! Learn some tricks and some applications that will enhance your experience.
Lets see where it is in say 6 months time.