Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why Are You On Google+? Seriously. - Google  Statistics   Get your CircleRank   see the most popular people at Google [1]
Last year I found myself wondering why my posts were not gaining any attention from the 13,000+ followers I have. A quick search on my profile revealed that in 2013 I had gone from 2,870 followers in   January to 13,066 by December. I was blow away by how many people felt I was worthy of being followed, but I also realized that perhaps I was celebrating such an accomplishment a bit too soon.

Granted the stats also show I had a poor number of posts in 2013 (660 is not exactly an super active Google+ user) and that I received nearly 3 times as many comments but still that’s not that many comments considering the number of people who are following me.

I was a bit disappointed as I actually wanted to be a bit famous on G+ and have lots of people follow me and comment on my stuff like some of the more popular Plussians on here. I kept wondering if maybe it was me, my style, the topics I choose. In a way it is partially my fault, those numbers in my stats don’t lie. But I also realized that I was depending on the number of followers I had to thrust me into G+ stardom while ignoring the truth behind that number. A truth I better understood after reading +Jesse Wojdylo post What Does It Mean to Have Over 50,000 Google+ Followers? which spoke about +Eli Fennell , an awesome Plussian and a blog post titled Living with the Google+ Suggested User List Revisited that he wrote. This is when I realized that all my excitement over my 13,000+ followers was nothing more than excitement over a huge number that really means nothing if most of them don’t bother to interact with you.

And thus this conclusion brings me to my question. Why are you on Google+? Seriously. Why? I can’t deny at first I was one of those people who wanted Google+ to become “the social media site to be on” and crush Facebook because to be honest I find Facebook to be boring. I love my family and the few friends I have on FB but I have to be honest and say that I get bored of all the food pictures, selfies, random “what a boring day” short posts and constant pictures of religious images and quotes from a bunch of hypocrites. I’m Catholic but I can’t stand people who claim to be religious and carry themselves as if they do no sins yet seem to have more in common with the devil. But I digress. Basically I found very little interaction on FB that lead to awesome debates, discussion and even arguments on the latest and greatest in tech, what’s in the news or even politics. Nope, all I saw were little “meh” comments, pointless “(insert political party or politician name here) is/are stupid and destroying the country” comments lacking any real educated facts behind them and the too common “silent” comment which really is a post that no on cared to have a word to say about and Liked just because they were use to clicking that damn Like button.

S4BWxK2eH6IASI4pbgxHDkKrpbHfF_iynKo3ys8JOjI=w203-h202-p-no[1] FB is a great place to stay in contact with family and friends (as my wife proves to me daily) but for a person like me who likes to meet new people, actually have conversations, debate a point or topic in order to understand why we think differently and perhaps maybe even rethink my own point of view, FB is not the place for me to do that. FB would be the equivalent of me hanging out at a cheap bar in the worst part of town and me daring to express an opinion that just might differ from everyone else there and then find myself having to duck for cover as the rampage begins and then my pictures and video end up on instead of Youtube. These days I don’t care much about what social media site is better. The way I see it if FB makes you happy (like it does my wife who has been unable to let go of FB and try G+ more often) then my all means enjoy it.

For me on Google+ I found exactly what I was looking for. A place where people express their thoughts, where people share what they found on the Internet, a place where conversations can actually lead to making friends from all around the world. Some may think that online friends are not real friends but I beg to differ and I have my Secret Santa Gift videos to prove that (Secret Santa Strikes Again & Secret Santa Strikes Again Part 2). I have never been successful at making friends in the real world but have found some awesome people online. Even as far back as 8 years ago when I became a Call Of Duty PC gamer and join a group of people and played with them often. Some who I eventually met in person and who were kind enough to give my some spare PC parts to build the PC I have today because my previous one died on me and left me PCless and thus unable to play with them online.

TQcJzE0v_b17d6DAQcxDVThFjo9Lpcww429VktV-vEsM=s216-p-no[1]So I ask again. Why are you on Google+? Why do you bother circling people if you have no intentions of  interacting with them? It makes no sense to me that so many people decided to go out of their way to circle me only to ignore me completely. In all honesty I wouldn’t get mad if my number of followers suddenly dropped dramatically after this article if only those who care about what I write kept following me. I would prefer to know that I am followed not because I was on a few shared circles that people just added to their circles without bother to see who was in them. Makes me feel like a strawberry that was picked only because I happen to be in the bag with a whole bunch of other strawberries and not because I looked good enough to eat myself but I happen to be at the bottom of the bag and if you don’t eat the bag fast enough I end up as waste.

I know what they say about people who assume but I still have to wonder. If you went out of your way to create the G+ profile, perhaps add a profile picture and then follow some people, find shared circles and add people like me to you profile then I have to assume you had more intentions to use G+ than you did to simply have the profile because you were “forced” by Google to have it. And if you had intentions of using G+ then you had intentions of interacting, commenting and maybe even sharing posts of your own. Otherwise “why are you on Google+” if not for the interaction? Maybe you are having trouble understanding Google+, how it works, how to use it, how to make the best of it. If so there are a ton of posts out there specially dedicated to help you learn more about G+. But let me honest about something. No amount of knowledge on G+ will help you if you have no intention of interacting with the rest of the Plussians on G+. The key to G+ is not just how often you post or how many people have a profile on G+, its the interaction. Its commenting on peoples posts and replying back to them on your own posts. That is what counts the most on G+, even more than the shares or +1s everyone does.

If you’re afraid to meet new people then G+ is not the place for you because while many have family and friends who have joined Google+ the foundation of G+ is based on the new people we all meet because unlike FB where most of the people are your list are family and friends, on G+ the best experience is found circling strangers who actually have content worthy of reading and interacting with. Otherwise you will only experience the Ghost Town effect that so many ignorant reviewers, who failed to understand how Google+ works, ranted about before.

There are 2 kinds of Google+ experiences:

The Ghost Town Experience where you only circles friends you found on G+ but are scared to follow strangers because of fears of privacy and of meeting new people but you end up with a mostly empty stream and eventually find your way back to what ever other social media site you used before.

The Awesomeness Of Google+ Experience where you take a chance, treat Google+ following like you do on Twitter and treat commenting and posting like you do on Facebook, combine that with Hangouts, Events, proper circle management and a huge desire to interact and what you get is nothing less than an awesome social media experience that can only be topped by getting to meet some of the awesome people on Google+ in person someday. A Hangouts In Real Life (HIRL) as so many have done on here and I look forward to doing in the near future.

Its your choice. I already made mine.