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Google+: It’s A Matter of Trust


This post was written prior to yesterday’s announcement regarding Google+ being open to everyone. Whether this changes Mike’s outlook remains to be seen :-).

I was in Denmark (among other places) the last couple of weeks and I had a chance to sit down with an old friend from IBM, who once wrote a comment on one of my blog posts that reminded me of something that I sometimes forget. Trust is relative. Trusting someone to answer a question isn’t the same as trusting him to watch your two-year-old. In marketing, we talk a lot about gaining customer trust, but it isn’t a blanket thing. For some purchases (buying a car), we need a lot of trust and for others (buying a coffee), not so much.

But then there are those times when you just can’t figure out how much trust you need to decide something.

I bring this up because I don’t know whether to trust Google+. I got one of those precious early invites, like a zillion other cool people like me. And I signed up right away. And I started getting notifications that people were adding me to circles. So I added them to my circles.

I have a few dozen circles now. Lots of people in them. There’s just one problem. OK, two problems. Problem one is that I have never posted anything to Google+. Problem two is that I have never paid any attention to anything anyone else has ever posted.

Those are two kind of major problems, actually, in terms of me being a Google+ user. I don’t have anything against Google+, honestly. I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, so I guess I should be on Google+, too. But what I am learning is that I need a higher level of trust to be a Google+ user. I need to make a commitment that I am somehow not ready to make.

A commitment of my time.

You see, I have been two-timing all the other social networks. I haven’t really made a time commitment to any of them. What I have done is to have each one alert me by e-mail when anyone says something to me or about me. Then I can respond to them. So my time commitment is to e-mail, not the social networks.

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That’s half the equation. The other half is posting. I’ve got that wired, too. I post everything on Twitter and have it automatically mirrored to LinkedIn and Facebook. So anyone can use whatever social network they want and if they want to see what I am saying, they can. But I’m not committed to any of them—I can switch whenever I want.

It was all working great until Google+ came along. I can’t just mirror my tweets to Google+ because of this circle thing. So it means that I need to actually make a commitment to updating Google+ on top of my tweeting—which means a commitment of time that, so far, I have not been willing to make.

So, I started thinking. What if I start posting everything to Google+, but use one circle to mirror to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn—my public circle? But then that trust thing comes back. Do I trust Google not to pull the plug on Google+, the way they have on Buzz and Wave? Do I trust my own judgment on whether Google+ will attract enough of the right people for the conversation to be as lively as on Twitter? Can I trust that if I start posting on Google+ that it won’t take more of my time? Or do I trust that if it takes more time, that it would be worth it?

I like to tell people to do it wrong quickly, but sometimes there is no easy way to do that. Right now I just don’t have the trust to change what I am doing with Twitter. And people keep adding me to circles and I haven’t given them anything to see.

About the Author

Author of the acclaimed book on Internet marketing, Do It Wrong Quickly, on the heels of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., Mike Moran led many initiatives on IBM’s Web site for eight years, including IBM’s original search marketing strategy. Mike holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing, is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and regularly teaches at Rutgers, UC Irvine, and UCLA.

In addition to his contributions to Biznology, Mike is a regular columnist for Search Engine Guide. He also frequently keynotes conferences worldwide on digital marketing for marketers, public relations specialists, market researchers, and technologists, and serves as Chief Strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing agency. Prior to joining Converseon, Mike worked for IBM for 30 years, rising to the level of Distinguished Engineer. Mike can be reached through his Web site (mikemoran.com).

  • Dave Janey

    I’m in 209 circles on G+ and no one ever posts anything. The thing is a ghost town. With the exception of few addicts like Scoble, no one ever goes there.

    RIP G+

    • http://www.mikemoran.com Mike Moran

      I agree, Dave. The whole circle thing makes tons of sense to me, but I don’t want to get started using one more social network, as I said in my post. I have some content posted by others when I go look, but I don’t go very often and I’m not ready to post myself. Thanks for your comment, Dave.