Google+

Social media. It’s social. Innit.

by RosieS on February 3, 2013

Speech bubbles

Imagine, if you will, that you have just started a brand new blog. It’s all shiny and new and you’re excited about getting to grips with it.

At the moment it looks unspoilt and uncluttered. You’re wondering exactly where it will take you and whom you’ll meet along the way. It’s all good.

Except … you’ve only written four posts. And no one has commented on any of them. So suddenly you’re feeling a little deflated, a little disheartened. You’d expected immediate interaction, a sense of community and regular readers of your content, and it hasn’t happened.

You’re busy, time is limited and here you are investing in something that isn’t giving you anything back. What’s the point of it? Why bother?

But nothing happens overnight and once you’ve found your feet, invested time in your blog and looked around to see who else is out there in the community, it all begins to slot into place and before you know it it’s a fun place to be.

It’s exactly the same with Google+. It’s a brand new platform to many of us and if you want to make the most out of it, like all social media, you need to invest the time. Like the early days of Twitter, it was quiet initially, we weren’t really sure what it was about but it started to make the sense the longer we stayed on the platform and started to interact.

Like the early days of writing a blog, it takes time to find your feet, learn how it all works and discover what else is out there. But write a handful of updates and then wonder why your experience on the platform is as exciting as wine tasting without the wine, is very much like giving up blogging after dipping your toe in the water and wondering why your blog isn’t immediately ranked at number one in the UK and you’re not being inundated with sponsorship offers and free holidays.

Social media takes time. Google+ takes time. And above anything else it’s social. So enjoy getting to know the platform, if it’s of interest to you. Interact with others and let people know you are there. Then the mist will start to clear and it will all get easier. So try it. You just might like it. You might just become addicted, but that’s another blog post.

Disclosure: I work for Google UK so I’m slightly biased.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

liveotherwise February 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I remember twitter before it was all social. When it was just about a group of friends I actually knew.

Sometimes I miss that.

G+ isn’t going to be twitter. It isn’t going to be facebook. And it isn’t going to be for everyone. And it’s probably not going to be whatever google has in mind for it. Come on, do you think twitter imagined this when they started? And it’s going to take some shaking down until we work out what it is and what it’s for. Thrash out the social etiquette of the new platform and so on. It’ll work best if google listens to the users as well as trying to direct them.

Just a thought or two.

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for commenting. Feedback always welcome.

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Nickie February 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Twitter is what you make it though. Strip it back to your group of friends and you’ve got what you originally had. I actually preferred Twitter when it was an open stream. I found lots of great new people back then (still tweeting them with now).

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I think all social media is what you make of it. Who you choose to follow will shape your experience of it to a large extent. And yes, I’ve found lots of great people on Twitter too.

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liveotherwise February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

that group of friends abandoned twitter when it got too noisy!

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

We’ll all have to go back to old-fashioned phone calls! Not so noisy :)

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Nickie February 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I think people see “respected bloggers” and think “I want a bit of that”. They don’t realise that we’ve been beavering away at our blogs and our social media for between three and ten years.

The climate is changing simply because the internet is accessible to more people and because the next generation have grown up with it they expect everything to work NOW whereas us old hats have grown with the invention of social media platforms and seen how they develop over time.

The word “bandwagon” springs to mind. And yes, I agree that every platform isn’t for everyone but we have to try before we buy. Then we have to filter off what isn’t working for us.

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Great points. I think it’s a good thing that the number of social media platforms is growing, so we are able to make our own choices about what we use and when and who with! Yes, everything takes work. Especially with blogging it is easy to forget that many of us have put years of work into this.

I think the NOW culture is also a factor, as you say. My 9YO wants everything to happen straight away. The Internet and technology have definitely made life far more fast-paced than it used to be. Many of us, me included, aren’t used to being patient. We want instant results and give up when we don’t get them.

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Jean February 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

For a minute I thought you were talking about my new blog (it’s very quiet over there, fancy a visit?). Yes, I can see it takes time to find your way around G+ and I’m still very much a beginner there. I must ask a friend to visit, someone who knows what G+ is all about. Do you know anyone?

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I do know someone, Jean, but I’ve heard she quite high-maintenance! Ah, so my message with your new blog is to stick at it because nothing happens over night :) I’ve been reading it on my phone but will go over and comment more often so you know!

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lucy at dear beautiful February 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I must confess that I’ve kind of avoided Google+ up to this point. Nothing personal, but I just felt like I had enough social media in my life with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my blog. Like you have said, I acknowledged that it would take me time to really get to grips with it, and quite frankly I wasn’t willing to give that time.
That being said, getting my head around it is near the top of my list for 2013. I figured I shouldn’t dismiss it when I haven’t tried it, and I’d rather make an educated decision about which social media platforms I like best and cut out ones I’m less fond of rather than never try them. Plus as I use Blogger, I’m increasingly seeing that there may be more and more advantages to me using Google+.
I’m kind of scratching my head with it at the moment though (I appear to have two accounts for a start!!!) but I’m sure I’ll get there. Either that or I’ll start hounding you for help. ;) x

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

That makes total sense Lucy. There is so much social media out there and we can’t use it all. It is definitely a case of finding what works for us and making our own choices. And with Google+ is it best to take a look at it when you have the time to do so as it definitely requires some time investment. I think making an educated choice is the right way to go. Yes, do hound me any time, but only when you’ve ready to give it a try and you’ve got the time, which is bound to be in short supply with a young baby! ;) x

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Mark Ure February 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

There would need to be some kind of tipping point. However, as human beings we filter out almost everything we could experience just so we can cope. That applies to social networking sites. Having said that, one difference between that and a blog, at least for me, is that i’m probably more attached to the idea of something i post on a social networking site being noticed than i am to a blog post being read. I assume nobody reads my blog and i’m absolutely fine with that, but the paucity of attention i get from social networking sites is problematic because the way i use them is partly, though not mainly, connected with trying to get an income. Since time is money, that makes them expensive to use – i could be doing something else with my time for which i stand a very small chance of being paid. At least with a blog i know i won’t be paid or read, which means i know i’m not doing it for money – it’s more like a diary i can’t be bothered to make private.

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I understand what you mean Mark and I do like it when people notice updates I’ve posted on social media, I think because it is social and I expect more interaction there than on my blog. It used to be the case that more people commented on blog posts, but since social media has got more popular we all seem to comment there instead. I do think there is value in using social networking sites as a way of trying to get an income, but as you say time is money and I think you have to get the balance right or it could end up an expensive past time if that money isn’t forthcoming.

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Eggdipdip February 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I must admit, I didn’t ‘get’ google + when I first had a look. But then I remembered I didn’t ‘get’ twitter at first either. But as I find more people to follow and discover more and more interesting stuff through it, it’s starting to make a bit more sense!

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Thank you. Exactly my point!

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Midlife Singlemum February 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I find the communities helpful on G+ because I’m doing some PR for a company and I can join our page to specific interest groups about that subject. So I use G+ a bit like stumbled-upon, to read about and discuss a certain topic. Most of my real-life friends and aquaintances all hang out on Fb and my online friends meet up on twitter. Each one has it’s purpose and, although both fb and G+ would like to be everything to everyone, I like having a specific purpose to each site. One all encompassing social media giant for everything would be too Big Brother and overwhelming I feel. It’ll be interesting to see where we all are in 5 years time regarding this.

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I don’t think FB and G+ would like to be everything to everyone. They are very different platforms and never could be. There’s room for both I feel. I think having a specific purpose for each site is the way to do it. That’s how I use social media too. Yes, who know where we’ll be in five years’ time. Very interesting to see how the entire Internet develops over that time. Thanks for commenting Rachel.

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Jay February 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Oh Rosie. Quite literally, your post, word-for-word.

I’ve become tired of people bitching about how G+ is a graveyard (really? Because when I look at the G+ posts I’m seeing, I can barely keep up…). I’m also tired of people ragging on about it trying to be Facebook or twitter or what the hell ever. Where does it say that in Google’s mission statement? You (the user) turn it into what YOU want it to be.

Like EVERYTHING in the world, you get back out what you first put in. And some things take time. AND if you don’t have time, fine! Don’t do it! No one is twisting arms, etc. I don’t expect to find a ton of photography WORK from G+, but I tell you this: it has been BRILLIANT for me, learning to use it properly, building up my circles and being circled, and as a result seeing some of the most stunning images I wouldn’t normally find by myself. Also, I “hangout” with my clients and other photographers, which has been ACE for help, support and petrol savings. ;) The hangouts are currently better than Skype for me – save the chats? Multiple connections? Business/marketing strategies and branding? Um, yes please.

In short, if people spent as much time using G+ (and other forms of “soshul meeja”) as they did complaining about it, it’d be one helluvva networking platform already, moreso than it already is.

And I DON’T work for Google UK so I’m not at all biased.

xx

PS I *STILL* laugh at people who, 6 months ago were slagging off twitter at every given chance, and now they won’t actually shut up about it.

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RosieS February 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

So true Jay. I think the point I was trying to make was that for those interested in Google+ it takes time, nothing happens overnight and you have to interact before giving up. And that’s it. The thread seems to have taken a slightly different turn!

You’re totally right, it’s there for people to use as they wish, and only if they want to. It’s all about choice in this day and age. It isn’t Twitter or Facebook. It’s Google+ and there’s room for them all. xx

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Louise February 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Working out Google+ is on my to do list. Never thought I was going to understand twitter, but I love it now!

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Bob Greig February 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

Hi Rosie, I just wanted to add a few words I hope will help newcomers to the world of social media:

The first thing – it really REALLY isn’t about numbers. Pick three or four blogs or twitter accounts that really touch you in some way, and concentrate and interact with those. Become known bit by bit and your ‘community’ will start to grow.

Secondly, be supportive of others. There will always be charities, organisations, and blogs that you like that will welcome a bit of a push. Think of what you can give, as much as what you can take form social media.

Thirdly, and it’s in the title of this article – keep it “social”. A particulary important point for anyone looking to support their business on-line!

My last tip is (and it’s already been mentioned by others) do give it time!

Bob

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