If there is one area of the online space that there seems to be little or no middle ground, it’s regarding Google+.
In one camp we have Google+ converts. They are the ones who have decided to go and utilize Google+ no matter what the consequences. These folks get into it heavily and are definitely working to move the brand forward just by their attention to it. Chief amongst those that I have been made aware of is Mark Traphagen. If you are interested in learning just about anything about Google+ he is a good place to start.
In the other camp we have the “It’s a ghost town” crowd. This group doesn’t believe that anyone does anything there and there is virtually no reason for its existence. Extreme? Yes. It is a position, however, that is losing steam. One recent experience that bodes well for Google+ comes from Rae Hoffman who told of her experience being on only Google+ for a week, in place of her other social media favorites. She summarizes her experience in her own inimitable style with this summary.
DID THIS WEEK CHANGE MY THOUGHTS ON GOOGLE+?
Absolutely. Even if you completely ignore the potential effect it might eventually have on the algorithm, my week there taught me that my former opinion that it had no merit to a real person was wrong. There’s a lot of value (for me) in participating there. Like all social media, if you use it like an asshat as your personal advertising channel vs a way to network and find cool things, you’re not going to find it very productive.
Now add to this some findings from Burst Media as reported by eMarketer and, as a marketer at least, you may have to ratchet down your distate for Google+ and at least recognize that there are some numbers there.
This kind of finding in no way points to ‘engagement’ levels (whatever that means to you). It’s just a number of accounts. But take the growing number of Google+ proponents and a ‘convert’ like Hoffman and it might just mean that Google+ is here to stay regardless of the pundits and hate it generates even today.
Hard to imagine that Google+ wouldn’t stick around. Google has been chopping services that people were very involved in, like Google Reader, but there is never any talk about a similar fate awaiting Google+. What many seem to fail to recognize is that Google is investing in Google+ and it has something that only a very select few companies have: nearly unlimited resources and time.
Google+ may actually become more useful to more people because it can play in a game of attrition that will help them outlast or out power other competitors. Also, as people continue to move away from the Facebook comparisons it will help it grow even more.
Personally, I still under-utilize Google+ greatly. I will say, though, that the times I get in it to take a real look, I have a lot of questions (which is a good thing) and see plenty to be interested in. The problem for me is that unlike Google, I don’t have limitless resources. Ultimately that could be the thing that stunts the real growth of Google+. Social media users (normal ones) will only give so much time to social media. They have lives otherwise and are not willing to give the effort (read: time) necessary to truly benefit from the investment in another social network.
So as we approach the two year anniversary of Google+ how do you few the service? Which camp are you in? Why?