Bernie Goldbach reading the Indo | Photo from my iTouch
SEVERAL TOP-FLIGHT presenters, athletes, musicians and other celebrities have been targeted by snarky, rude, and often downright threatening behavior on Twitter. When this happens, I wonder why those targeted don't set up camp inside Google Plus.
Yeaterday's Irish Independent (shot below) filled two pages with the story, with first-hand accounts of people acting rude, spiteful and intimidating. A lot of the examples would never have occurred inside Google Plus, mainly because it is much more difficult to assume a cloaked identity. And if you're given a red card on Google Plus, you can be blocked from your Gmail, from your Google Docs and from your Google Places.
Google Plus also handles hashtags differently. On G+ a hashtag creates a channel. You can constrain that channel to selected people, creating a live chat zone for people whose identity you have checked. This sort of online dynamic would have prevented RTE presenter Pat Kenny from reading out a bogus comment during a critical Presidential debate.
I can understand why broadcasters want to hang out on Twitter because that is where most Irish have set up shop. But if you want to dial down vitriol and dial up personable engagement, it might be worth giving Google Plus a serious look. I have and now have a bigger footprint on Google Plus than I have on Twitter.
There are several compelling reasons that suggest it's better to simply use Google+ as your direct channel. You can easily automate publishing your G+ posts directly to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, then just reply on Google+ to readers who I've discovered are less likely to erupt into a flame war.
If you're like me and you prefer threaded conversation, Google+ is the only place you can do it easily. G+ was set up like Jaiku, rather than the scattered conversations that occur with Twitter.
If you have a real job, it's better to select one network and focus on it. That's what a lot of Irish men and women have done as they approach more than 100,000 tweets about everything under the sun. They don't want to use Foursquare for tips or check-ins so they check into places by announcing their points of travel on Twitter. They share images directly on Twitter and don't use apps like Flickr or Instagram. They do all these things because they recognise the social media fatigue that comes with the game.
If you want constructive community instead of a haven of critics, my experience suggests G+ is the place to be. It is definitely the fastest-growing social network. I've 1000 more followers on Google+ than on Twitter and I've been on Twitter for 54 months longer than I've been using Google+ and that suggests you can quickly ramp up a real following.
And these real followers count because unlike Twitter, Google has an anti-spam algorithm that purges accounts that appear to be spambots or bought followers. You won't find people accuse those on G+ about buying their loving minions.