11 Sep Confessions of a Google+ Convert
Since its release last year there’s been a lot of debate over the merits (or lack thereof) of Google+. Heck, we’ve even gone back and forth about it here on this very blog. Is it an effective social media channel for businesses? Does it stand shoulder-to-shoulder with old stalwarts like Facebook or Twitter?
I’m not going to attempt to answer those last two questions here. What I will do, however, is mention that I’ve been using Google+ quite a bit recently – much more so than I ever thought I would, to be honest. The reason is that Google+ provides me with the ability to easily interact in meaningful ways with the many technology journalists I follow on a regular basis.
For someone like me, who avoided the social media train until it had well left the station, this is actually saying something. But I’m the type of person that uses Twitter exclusively as a newsfeed. I follow the writers and companies that I’m most interested in; that’s how I learn about what’s going on with the things that interest me the most. And I do like it.
Facebook? Sure, it’s great for keeping up with friends, family, and organizations – not so much when it comes to following your favorite journalists or bloggers, who typically only accept friend requests from, you know, their actual friends.
To me, Google+ is an ideal combination of the strengths of Twitter and Facebook, at least when it comes to being able to follow and connect with bloggers and other industry influencers. There are several reasons for this:
1) Google+ is still a relatively young social media network. That means there aren’t too many people using it yet, at least in the grand scheme of things. You’re not jostling with thousands of other people who might be posting comments or questions. Because of this, whatever question I post might have a better chance of getting answered.
2) The nature of Google+ encourages interaction and conversation. I’m much more comfortable posing a question or engaging in a discussion with a journalist via Google+ than I ever would be over Twitter. And, on Google+, they actually answer!
3) Text isn’t limited to 140 characters. The concept of a limited amount of characters can be good – it makes people get to the point – but it also limits the breadth of a conversation. Google+ posits no such restrictions. Thus, journalists and those who follow them are allowed to (within reason) express more full-fleshed out concepts and ideas.
4) I like the idea of a +1 button. Whether or not it impacts search results, there’s something empowering about finding a story, written by someone whose opinion you respect, and voting for it with a +1. It’s probably inconsequential, but, hey, it makes me feel like I’ve made a difference (and it’s an election year, too!)
5) Tech journalism is heavily represented. Google was a company started by geeks that somehow found itself as one of the largest organizations in the world. But the company’s geeky heart beats heavily within Google+. The network is a bastion of technology reporters (M.G. Siegler, Joshua Topolsky and others are frequent users) who are well worth paying attention to. On Google+, the geeks still rule.
6) There’s a visual element that’s appealing. Sure, I know Pinterest exists. But since I’m not in the market for a wedding dress or the latest fall line from Donatella Versace, I’ll never use it. I’ll stick with Google+, which, in addition to providing an attractive forum for discussion, allows me to gaze longingly at tech gadgets that I’ll probably never have the money or use for but still long to add to my arsenal regardless.
I realize I might be a lone wolf in a wilderness full of Facebook devotees. I also don’t care. The more I use Google+, the more I think it might just be the social network for me – and, perhaps, other communications professionals looking to make connections.
– Pete Larmey
Google+ logo copyright Google Inc.