So my pal Roberto Kussabi wrote an article in The Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network a year ago outlining why he thought Google Plus was important, but was no match for Facebook or Twitter just yet. I said in the comments that I couldn’t see the point of G+ until it had the kind of user numbers that Facebook enjoyed – and that I’d eat my hat should I change my mind.
A year later another third sector sounding board and pal, Jennifer Begg, exulted on what Google Plus means for business and why we should all be using it. And a further commentator and practitioner I admire, Sylwia Presley has been evangelistic about G+ for a heck of a long time, and regularly shares her thoughts about new changes and developments to the network.
Well, pass me the seasoning, because I am tucking into my headwear.
I am a matter of days away from Facebook deleting my account for good, after I deactivated it a fortnight ago – and I haven’t looked back. There are some great blogs on why people make the decision to leave the networking behemoth; my favourite (and one I most concur with) being this one by Jessica Taylor in Forbes. I made my own brief list on why Facebook and I drifted apart in my last post.
I’m not going to repeat verbatim the sage advice of Roberto, Jennifer or Sylwia on why Google Plus is now a serious contender as your social network, particularly if you do the comms for a business or charity – but here is a rundown of why Google Plus ticks some major boxes for me:
1. Circles. An intuitive way of adding connections, and entirely straightforward process of sharing your thoughts with one, some or all of your contacts. Why Facebook grapples so much with this is symptomatic of how complicated and inflated it is.
2. +1. Facebook Likes with SEO and bookmarking pumped into its bloodstream. Like something on the web, or in Google Plus itself? +1 it, and find everything you ever liked sitting in your own +1 tab. And if your friends are logged into Google when they search, they’ll see your recommendations in their results: friend referrals as a way of discovering new content. Superb.
3. Open. Facebook is hardly private, but it was more likely that you ended up talking in a bit of an echo chamber. Friends and friends of friends all chewing the fat – and that was typically around a photo of someone on a night out or an inconsequential status update. By (optionally) sharing your thoughts and comments with the public and using Twitter-style hashtags, you open up and invite debate from a much wider pool of people. In this way, Google Plus is like Twitter with bells on. Yes, you get this in Facebook Groups and Pages, but opening up everything you share in this way, just enriches your experience. And to be honest, there are less douches on Google Plus…for now.
And I haven’t even tried Hangouts yet.
4. Ground zero. This one is personal. Facebook had, for me, got dense and bloated. While I liked the concept and storytelling potential of Timeline for organisations (particularly for charities), it was a little bit creepy for individual profiles. Starting afresh from G+ allows me to be more cautious about who I connect to, what I share with them; and I don’t have to worry about business mixing with pleasure. And for that read: all and sundry seeing everything my friends decide to tag me in.
So I invite you to join me – let’s connect on Google Plus and see how we go. I’d love to see the cool things you find out while using it.
My name is Rob and I am a Google Plus convert. Now…I’m taking a gulp of water to ease this hat down my gullet.