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January 29, 2013

Google Plus Engagements

Upvoting the Last Space WalkBernie Goldbach in LIT-Clonmel | Photo from G+.

I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND why Google+ gets dismissed as a place for meaningful online activity. Just looking at brands, I see there are 30 brands above the million follower mark on G+ compared to 33 on Twitter.

There are real social followers in both places--and that's the point--provided the brands offer something interesting (or they dump a load of money into advertising).

I listen to dismissive attitudes about Google Plus in Ireland and think it's really down to people preferring to hang out in familiar settings with friends. During my six years on Twitter, I've followed and later met up with really interesting people. The same is happening for me inside Google Plus.

Some of the loudest social media experts advocate Twitter and Facebook because it is much easier to control messages inside the same two platform. So it pays to encourage everybody to hang out where they've enjoyed good chat (recognising it's really difficult to get thousands of people to change where they're networking). It's not just that people would have to change their conversation pit. They would also need to change their conversational style.

You cannot treat Google+ the same way that you treat Twitter or Facebook. Each of these social networks enjoy distinct cultures. Brands often just post links to content on Facebook or they tweet special offers, leaving without any hint of interaction with real people. I'm used to getting direct messages from evangelists who need to get +1 love. Their jobs depend upon moving the needle towards more likes than previous campaigns earned.

I've been putting stuff into G+ about the creative multimedia degree programme we teach in Clonmel, County Tipperary. I believe that all the short form content I write for Google Plus will weave into Google Search results. But I know that the closed ecosystems maintained by both Twitter and Facebook are engineered to prevent content from being indexed on the web crawling. From a brand perspective, it doesn't make sense to put a lot of effort into online communities that won't deliver for the simplest search requests.

So what you see from me on Twitter and on Facebook is miniscule compared to the footprint I've made inside Google Plus. I doubt we'll see an internet where Google fails to provide the leading search service. A Lazy Web search request on other networks is only as strong as the people listening at the time. Google's results have always worked for me and that's where I'm putting my footprint.

Bernie Goldbach [http://gplus.to/topgold] teaches web analytics at the Limerick Institute of Technology.


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