Why You Need to Stop Hating Google+
and just roll with it.
Don’t Worry, This Is Normal
Do you remember when Facebook first popped onto the scene? You probably don’t, unless you were 18 – 22 years old at the time. You had to register with a valid university email address, which Facebook would verify before letting you past its sacred gates.
“This is stupid,” I said. “MySpace for life.”
And then one day I had enough friends on Facebook that it convinced me to give up the hating and give it a try. Hooked, instantly. When I signed up in early 2005, I had just received my email address for the university I would be attending in the fall, which I used to setup my humble little profile from the back of my AP Literature class.
I was part of the very first group of kids to go to college with Facebook. How people found their classes and bribed classmates for notes before my day is beyond me.
When Facebook started letting people with valid work email addresses in, we bemoaned the fall of the perfectly secluded club. It went downhill from there, until even your mother could setup her profile and Tupperware business, “poking” you from dusk ’til dawn!
This, my friends, is the Gen Y. We hate what’s new, until it becomes our regular, everyday habit. Then we endeavor to protect what we love–but used to hate, because it was new–against what’s new. Er. Newer.
And then we get over it, and defend what once was new but now is old and ours against what’s new. Est. Newest. And so on and so forth, until we’re successfully adapted to change, yet totally oblivious of this accomplishment.
Our Kids Won’t Understand This Section
(Because There Will Be 6 Billion Google+ Users in 2050)
Enter Google+. Why aren’t you on Google+ yet? All your friends are on it, playing show-and-tell (in almost-real life) and giggling during their Google Hangouts about their friend who’s totally behind and still gives Skype currency gift cards for Christmas (you).
Oh, wait. That’s the problem. Your friends aren’t doing that. In fact, Google claims they have around 135 million active users on the site, active meaning they understand what the +1 button means and visit their homepage every now and then. How many does Facebook have? Oh yeah. Over 1 billion.
What about Twitter? 200 million.
The difference between Google+ and Twitter isn’t that big, when you think about the statistics in light of Facebook’s behemoth hold on the eMarket. Yet I’d venture to guess that a huge number of users you follow on Twitter aren’t your real friends. Meaning, you didn’t meet “in real life”. Your followers probably look something like this: favorite bands, clever bloggers, a few friends you were shocked tweeted in the first place, and maybe some big brands with particularly suave marketing strategies. Your following list probably looks very little like your Facebook friends list.
Google+ reminds us of Facebook, and so we don’t like it too much because we don’t have enough friends on there. Instead, think of Google+ like a remarkable mélange of the top 3 social media platform giants: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
With proper understanding of Google+ circles, you can almost manage each of the activities which used to belong to one and only one platform. You can network with other professionals and ensure that your “Screw this job! Who wants to go get trashed at lunch?” post on Wednesday at 10 a.m. stays safe. Sort of.*
You can follow and interact with companies, celebrities, personalities, and bloggers like you do on Twitter somewhat, but I have a feeling Google will end up coming out with a more suitable 140 character-esque answer to Twitter’s highly interactive, open conversation, news and information feed.
You can mention fellow users and friends in your stream, but people can’t post “on your wall” so to speak. Instead, your message will be shared with the people you choose to share it with. How many times have you come home after a peaceful technology hiatus, only to find a horribly embarrassing post on your wall, scrambling to delete the message before any damage is done?
Google+ truly is a pocket of potential wealth for your social media strategy, but don’t let the fact that few of your “real-life friends” are on there convince you that you don’t “get” it or, worse, need it.
Let’s face it: Google is a killer company, and, well, they own most of our Internet experience in the first place. To think that Google+ won’t reign supreme is like thinking that H.H. Gregg is going to put the town Wal-mart out of business. Google has the funds, genius, and, honestly, pretty tight habit of giving us what we want.
Go get yourself a Google+ profile. The best part? If you have a Gmail account, you basically already have the thing setup for you. Either way, get on there now. You’ll look so much cooler when all of your friends are finally coming around–and you know they will.
Oh. And add me to your circles when you’re there. Follow SQ Modern Media, too, because you share really awesome stuff, and we love chatting with you guys.
*For near-hyperbolic example only. I never ever recommend posting anything to the wise old internet that you wouldn’t want your boss to read aloud at a staff meeting. When posting, let the question, “Would my mom cry if she read this?” guide you.
Cheryl Hurley is a social media marketer and manager at SQ Modern Media. SQ Modern Media provides social media solutions designed especially for your business. Contact Cheryl for more information on SQ Modern Media’s services or rates.1