Wanna Be My Plus One? Why I’m Falling in Like with Google + (and Why You Might, Too)

Wanna Be My Plus One? Why I’m Falling in Like with Google + (and Why You Might, Too)

Green Heart apple with Google Plus symbol

 

About a month ago, I made a conscious decision to spend more time over on Google+.

I did this knowing that the odds are you’re not hanging out there (yet) — even if you do have a G+ account.

I did this even though I have no desire to learn some newfangled social media platform (another one? really?).

And despite the fact I hate to give Google anymore control over my life than it already has, I made the conscious choice to quit dipping my toes in and take a solid step toward understanding what the heck I needed to be doing there.

But Mostly? I made this decision because I’m falling out of love with Facebook.

There. I said it.

I imagine my experience is similar to what happens in any relationship:

You stop feeling heard and understood by your partner. You try to speak up and see if there isn’t a way to work things out. But when the other party doesn’t listen (I’m looking at you Mark Zuckerberg), you’ve got to get your needs addressed somewhere, am I right?

We all know Facebook has been buggy since Day One. And constant updates to the user interface notwithstanding, most of us have soldiered on.

But between the recent privacy snafus and the need to now to pay for the privilege of reaching our own audiences, it’s really become a chore to enjoy Facebook at all.

All of this just drives home the fact that it’s never a good idea to pour too much time and/or money into building something on someone else’s property.

Facebook owns the virtual playground they’ve built and that means they can (and will) change things whenever they want to. If they decide tomorrow that you’ve been violating their terms of service, you could be out on your ear. Your investment of time and money could go up in smoke — *poof!*

So focus first on your own website. Be sure that you hold the keys to that site (don’t host it on someone else’s playground if you can help it — sites like WordPress.com or Blogger.com are great starters, but never a good long-term solution). And then let everything else you do be about inviting people to visit you there — in your own home. 

Having said that, I’m now going to tell you that while Google may not own your website, it certainly owns the phone book and all the other ways people can find you.

Which is where Google+ comes in. There’ve been a lot of really good articles out lately about why we might want to take a second look at the Big G.

I really enjoyed this piece on Fast Company’s site. The author tells us:

Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today.

He then followed that up with another article where he explains:

Google Plus’s Ganesha-like arms can handle all of your company’s communications–if you let it. My buddy Andy Wilson, for example, runs an e-discovery company called Logik. He has swapped out everything with Google Plus. Instead of Yammer, employees post to their “work” circle. Instead of Skype, employees use Google Hangouts for cross-coast meetings and calls. Instead of Eventbrite, they use Google Plus events.

There’s also this article by Linda Asherman, where she asks:

Would you rather be the person at a cocktail party that seeks out people you already know and talk to them all night – or will you take the chance to meet new people?

…and then proceeds to give us the details on what we’re missing.

Personally, I’m enjoying the Hangouts on Air — a lot more than I thought I would. In case you’ve missed it, we’re using Google Hangouts for Prosperity’s Kitchen and for the most part, things have gone pretty smoothly. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve. And of course, things aren’t 100% perfect. But overall, the fact we can hold a video conference with 10 people and have it recorded automatically to YouTube is pretty dang slick. (If you want to start playing around with hangouts, I highly recommend you connect with Carol Dodsley. She’s been extremely helpful in compressing my learning curve with Hangouts.)

So, will I be throwing all my proverbial eggs into the G+ basket? Of course not. But you can bet your Sweet Baby Lettuce that I’ll be giving it a lot more attention than I did a year ago.

Wanna be my Plus One?

This post is part of the February Word Carnival and this month we’re trying something a little different. Instead of a topic, we’re going with a theme, and that theme is love. We hear it’s all you need. Catch all the other Carnies’  creative takes on this month’s theme here.

  • http://getpaidtowriteonline.com/ Sharon Hurley Hall

    I love Goolge+, Tea, and find that the multiple ways of connecting with the people you want to meet are really useful. And I’ve never been in love with Facebook. I think the key thing with Google+ is to set up your circles right. That enables communication to flow rather than getting overwhelmed with noise.

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      I think the ONE thing that’s holding me back from true G+ love is the fact that I’ve got THREE G+ profiles. So the overwhelm and frustration with getting everything together is still there. I ignore it most of the time, but I’d really like Google to give us a way to integrate all this stuff. When G+ was first released, you could only use it with a gmail account. So I have that one. Then they let those of us using Google apps create accounts. So I have one attached to my Word Chef email. And then we could create branded pages, so I’ve got that one, too. If you ever find a solution for fixing this stuff, let me know?

      • http://getpaidtowriteonline.com/ Sharon Hurley Hall

        I wish I knew, Tea. I eventually deleted the G+ profile on my Gmail account and moved everything over (manually!!!) to my Google Apps account. Only one problem – I was living in a different place when I started my Apps account so I can’t use Hangouts on Air with that one. :( Having said all that. I STILL like it better than Facebook.

      • tammy vitale

        Here’s where I’m with you 100% – I can’t quite figure out how to integrate the two accounts I’ve set up when I wasn’t paying attention, thinking I’d never use it. If you get answers, I hope you’ll share! I also hate the disqus sign in – am not sure about making it permanent (yet another thing to keep track of?) – so I have to type in every.single.time.

        • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

          Thanks for weighing in on the Disqus sign-in, Tammy. It’s actually not that different from most commenting systems in that most commenting systems ask you to fill out your name, email and website address before commenting. Plus – and this is HUGE for me – it does a freakin’ awesome job of keeping out the comment spam. For free. (Much better IMO than Askismet.)

          I’ll let you know how my G+ consolidation efforts go!

  • Pingback: All You Need Is “Love” – Whatever That Means To You! | Word Carnivals()

  • Melanie Kissell

    Thanks for the intro to Carol Dodsley, Tea. Love the video she shared via her Twitter stream regarding Google Plus! And guess what? I thought I had already become your Plus One but now I realize you have more than one G+ account. Yikes!! I have enough trouble keeping up with my itty bitty solo account there. Don’t know how in blue blazes you do it! You’re the equivalent of Mother Earth in the realm of social media. :)

    Here’s what I know about Facebook after using it for YEARS:
    Facebook. Is. Not. My. Friend.
    I’m falling out of love with FB more and more every day. The relationship is mediocre, at best, and hanging on by a thread. It’s wonky, it’s wacky, and I feel as if some blinking control freak is having a field day with my sanity!!

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Yeah – I think the only reason I’m still there at all is because of the groups…but will be seeing if I can move these to G+ soon…

    • http://getpaidtowriteonline.com/ Sharon Hurley Hall

      Totally agree, Melanie.

  • http://www.WTFMarketing.com/ Nick Armstrong

    Yes. Google+ is so efficient that it will likely replace most of my targeted group posting in the future – the only problem is that it’s not my first instinct to go to yet.

    I love how ubiquitous it is, and since I already use Gmail, G+ is the next evolution. Their iPad app is beautiful, and their notifications aren’t totally filled with suck.

    I have to spend some serious time revamping my circles though, because I honestly just don’t like how I’ve set them up – like Twitter, follow everybody – show me ALL THE POSTS. It’s an ADD nightmare. That’s my fault, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/panAngler Laurie Nylund

    This multiple account thing with Google has to be resolved. For various reasons, over five years I have acquired four accounts. If I could, I would happily combine them into one – but as a manual process, fugeddabout it. It seems like I am never in the account I want to be in, when I try to do something!

    I never did FB much before the last year, but in a lot of ways, it is so much better than it was 5 years ago, that I became more willing to use it now. Charging to connect with your community is bogus though.On the other hand, they do need to monetize the beast.

  • Sandy McDonald

    Just testing Tea to see if Disqus is working!

  • Sandy McDonald

    I see it didn’t. You are a natural challenger Tea! Have just spent a great hour with Laura Petrolini on the benefits of Twitter, which I had been making a # of :), so next challenge is Google+. The multiple account thing is a nightmare. That is a pretty awesome tool, that you can video a hang out direct to You Tube.

    Will you abandon Facebook altogether? It is true, they have really pointed out, in the long term sabotaged themselves (?), that we don’t count for much if we cannot reach our own audience all of the time.

    Hmmm, much munching of apple-type food for thought here Tea. As is always the case with your posts. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

    I admit, I’m just not that into it. Not that I’m into Facebook either. Actually I dislike Facebook quite a lot except for the few groups that I belong to (Carnival!). If that group were somewhere else, I’d go there. But I “get” Facebook in a way that I don’t get G+.

    Facebook is about people’s kid photos and vacations and dinners. Interspersed with annoying reminders of games I should be playing.

    G+ is… stuff? To your point, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing there.

    I don’t know anyone there. The people I do know there are like me and do a whole lot of not much. And the one thing I find distracting is that it’s very image-heavy. I know people like that but for me I have to parse through all that visual nonsense to get to the point. Could someone just SAY something without a photo?

    With that said, I’m not opposed to it. I like the hangouts. I talk to a few people on occasion. So I think ultimately it’s about getting familiarity and finding people to hang out with. Eggs in many baskets! Maybe I’ll take a stroll over. You never know what’s cooking up :)

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      I think the quality of your G+ experience is definitely tied to understanding “what can I do here?” — there are communities (similar to FB groups) and definitely different people there (for now). I think one good thing to start with is asking “Who would I like to network with?” and then searching for them to see if you can follow them/network/etc.

  • IncomeTrigger

    Right now I see it as horses for courses. I participate in a few Facebook groups that concentrate on sharing relevant info and where self promotion is a No No e.g. Tea’s Digital Dining Room. Until these groups move over to Google communities, as a number of the social media savvy ones are already doing, I’ll stick with Facebook for that purpose.

    The major benefit that I see when I’m posting in Google+ is that I can send an email to everyone in the circle that I’m sharing with (limited to 50, so need to keep the circles small).

    The multiple Google accounts are a pain so if anyone knows of an easy way to amalgamate them I’ll be their fan for life. :-)

  • clarestweets

    Great insights into Google+ Tea. I’ve been ignoring it for awhile. I have one big customer who is addicted to FB even though I am not so been ignoring G+. Based on your post I think its time to give it another go. Thanks for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      There are SEO benefits that we just can’t ignore…as hard as it is to tackle another platform!

      • clarestweets

        Yes I think you may be right. Can I say ugh?

  • Kim Doyal

    I’m loving Google+ too! Going to do my first ‘official’ hangout next week (have done a couple tests so far).
    I’m really enjoying the communities as well.
    I don’t think realize the power of Google+ and authorship either. Not only can you be indexed for your own content but you can rank higher in Google for sharing OTHER people’s content.
    Oh- and I just found this out.
    By sharing your content (post or page) on Google+ you will get your page indexed in Google. Great way to highlight older content and get it indexed at the same time.

    And THANK YOU for the link to Mashable in the comment below. My Google+ account is with my gmail, not my business apps.
    Guess I have a little homework to do! ;-)

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Let me know if you get stuck, Kim. It’s a bit of a process (which I haven’t yet completed) so I’m sure it will be an adventure, lol.

  • Michelle Nickolaisen

    Google+ is on my list of things to check out in more detail – I know the Hangouts have a LOT of potential, especially. It’s just one of those things that feels like a chore because it’s been so long since I set it up and I know I’ll want to tweak/revamp all my circles, my profile, and then figure out some kind of posting habit and…sigh…I’m already bad enough about spending too much time on Facebook! I definitely get where you & the article writers are coming from, though.

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Yep. Choreyness for sure. Take it a baby step at a time, Michelle.

  • http://www.thenumberswhisperer.com/ Nicole Fende

    Hmmm.. I hate to be the Debbie Downer of the group. Yes I’m on Google+, but it’s really like when I joined Facebook. I’m doing it because I know I need to for my business, NOT because I want to. As Nick mentions below, Google is ubiquitous. That doesn’t sit well with me. Ok pass the tin foil hat please :)

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      I feel you, Nicole. Which is why I’m really only “in like” (not love) at this point. God help us all if something bad happens to Google (or they decide to be evil).

  • http://www.byjanet.net/purple Janet Brent

    I’ve been liking the hangouts and may even explore ways of doing it for myself!

  • http://gplushow2girl.com/ Carol Dodsley

    Great article Tea, and THANK YOU for the mention too – really appreciate that and so glad I was able to help you to get up to speed with hangouts for the ocntest as well. I am soo with you on moving away from Facebook and to be honest havent even been able to get into Facebook for almost two weeks as they keep giving me error messages, which is just confirming my decision to focus on Google Plus and why I am even more passionate about helping others to use it to see real results too.

  • http://www.scatterthestones.co.uk/ Anita

    Great post, Tea. I know I need to get to know G+ more, which means I need to spend quality time with it. I haven’t utilized as much as I should, as just don’t feel comfortable with it yet. I used to like Twitter, not so much now. Getting more and more frustrated with Facebook… I think it’s quite hard. Thanks so much for giving me more to think about.

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