Do you have any circles on Google+? Have you filled out a profile and uploaded some awesome pictures of you, your family or real life adventures? If so, you’re already addicted to Google's answer to every social media site all in one, but can you overuse Google+?
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I thought I’d start off when a tiny (and I mean tiny) explanation of Google+ because if you’re on the Internet tweeting and liking things on Facebook or you really Digg things, then you’ve heard of Google+. Beyond that, a fellow writer of mine right here on Bright Hub has already done quite the nice review on Google+.
I must say back in July of 2011 when Google wanted us to jump in and join I wasn’t sure what it was. Was it a place to blog? Was it a place for real-time news such as Twitter? Or, was it a place like Facebook where you can share and comment on the posts of others?
Google+ allows you to have many, many friends (much like Facebook) but all your friends are neatly organized in circles. There are friends, acquaintances, family members and then those you just want to “follow."
Google is all of the above and more, and it is about to intervene and take over social media--so hold on tight.
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Don't Believe Me?
Caleb Garling reported on Tom’s Guide, “10 Reasons Why You’ll Be Using Google+ in Less Than a Year" and he’s got some pretty scary reasons why you will be. Some of his reasons include how “Google owns 23 percent of the browser market." Google also owns Android. Garling also points out that Circles on Google+ are “mandatory" and that “Google owns Search." He’s got lots of other reasons why everyone will be “plus1’ing" in a year and that, my friends, is what scares me.
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Why I'm Scared
Unlike Facebook, it seems anyone who is in my Circles can just blog and post away or leave me a comment on something I commented on and then plus+ my comment. You can block people but they never really go away—they are hiding in your circles—you really only block their stream of comments, likes and dislikes.
As an Internet writer, I often joke and tell people I have the words “Google" tattooed on my butt, and while they all laugh, I wonder if pretty soon we all will!
Even if you’re just a some-of-the-time Internet user and boast about how you love Bing searching or Yahoo!, we know you don’t really; you just need to be different. Google is it, really. It’s easy, there’s not too much confusion on the page (unless you want there to be—think iGoogle) and most spell checkers these days allow the word “Google" to pass without a hiccup.
Much like Christopher Hitchen’s book, God Is Not Great, Google really is, folks, and if you fear the new Google+ maybe it’s because you’re overusing it.
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Using Google+ for Business Gain
For businesses or entrepreneurs self promoting on Google+, I'm not sure overuse is a factor, if it's done correctly. Let's say your purpose on Google+ is to start a following of sorts on your business ideas, products or services or even goals for your business. Maybe you have a new book or eBook you want to promote. Or, perhaps you offer on-line freelance services people may seek out.
By enticing them into your circles, when you stream to your Google+ page, those in your circle will see your comments, links and just about anything you want to convey.
Can't we do this on Twitter or Facebook? Of course you can, but the simplicity of Google+ makes it more professional and, most importantly, if used with some discretion, a venue that is void of ads like Facebook. Instead, it's all about you or your businesses--even your ideas!
The "posts" and "videos" and "+1s" sections are all a great place to widen your inner circle, especially if your goal is to get noticed. Posts can be as lengthy as you wish, and if you've made a video on your product or service or even idea, you can easily upload it. The +1s are also a great way to reach out to more people on Google+. The more people you can get to +1 your posts or videos, even comments, the more buzz you'll receive and, ultimately, the ability to manage who is following you and capture that audience.
When it comes to personal or individual use of Google+, here's where I fear many will look at it as a place to complain, self-promote essentially nothing, or treat it like a social media venue it's not meant to be.
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I have one Google+ friend that no matter what I plus-one about, he comments—then he plus-ones his own comment. He’s just Google+ing all day long and he has no rhyme or reason behind what he’s Google+ing about! Does he like a post or does he just feel like because he has nothing to say he can plus one everything I do (or worse, things he sees my friends do)?
So, I’ve decided to break down how to determine if you’re overusing Google+ by the type of Google+ person you are:
Bored – If you’re like my one friend commenting and giving me thumbs up all day on Google+, get a life already because you are bored and are in violation of my Google+ rules. I don’t want my Google+ page to be like my Facebook page. I want it to stream in things from my blog and I want to offer up links I think are important. If you want to comment on my comments all day long, do it on my Facebook page.
Nosey – Then there are those who sat up when Twitter started and needed to know what you were doing right, right now—they are just plain nosey. “Really, Jean’s on Google+? What’s she saying? What could she possibly be doing? I’m joining and now she’ll be forced to be in my circles whether she likes it or not." These are people who have nothing of value to say but in fact are followers. Much like the hunters and gatherers, they are the gatherers and they need to stay off my Google+ page.
Family Feuds – Google+ is a great avenue to start family feuds or continue one from Facebook if you’ve blocked everyone in your family or they’ve blocked you on Facebook. Even if you block a stream of incoming comments from other family members in your circles, it’s only a hop, skip (actually a click) away and you can see what the family’s up to; or, worse, what they think you are up to. Unless one of my family members can advance my career, I don’t want them on my Google+ page either. So, none of my family members (except one exceptional sister) are in my circles, and I intend to keep it that way.
Celebrity Chasing – This is what Twitter is for folks, not Google+. I don’t care what’s in Jay Leno’s garage, I really don’t people, and those of you in my circles streaming such things to me are about to be blocked. If I want to follow a celebrity, I’ll do it on my own. If I want to be “winning" I’ll win alone, too!
It’s Not Twitter - OMG, LOL and all LMAO don’t belong on Google+, save them for Tweets, or better yet, texting. If you treat Google+ like Twitter or a texting venue, Google+ should be allowed to kick you out. Three strikes and you’re out, so to say. Wouldn’t it be cool if a little Google character shot up when you typed in LOL and warned you—“That’s your second time to use an acronym instead of spelling out the words, are you sure you really want to do that, Dave?" If you’re guilty of this, you are not only overusing Google+, you have no life goals.
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Why Google+ Is Great
I’d like to think Google is not trying to take over the world—well, the Google people do own YouTube, and that’s scary, too. However, there are some things I’d like to see people doing on Google+:
Self-Promotion – This sounds terrible at first, right? But it’s really not, and if you are networked with like-minded folks, you can return the favor. By posting links to some of their articles, blogs or posts, along with your own, people will connect with you. For instance, since I started using Google+, my Twitter followers have increased vastly. I’ve also found many websites and people I want to follow in Google+ and Twitter.
Share Ideas – Whether you want to debate about your cause, global warming, and animal abuse or just offer advice on how to do just about anything better, Google+ is a great venue for this. I do hope, however, we won’t see it used for stupid ideas like how to lose weight by eating all you want and taking one pill a day and never exercising—that’s not an idea, it’s a fairy tale.
Managing Your Outreach – With Google+’s Circles it’s easier to manage who you want to share your ideas with. For example, if you are an expert in accounting but also are an entrepreneur, you can have two circles of friends, one where you comment and share on accounting tips and another of people who may seek guidance from you on being an entrepreneur. It can be really specific to your outreach needs if you want it to be.
Combo Attack – Because Google+ does offer real-time feeds much like Twitter, it does seem to be nice to use it for all my social media needs, but alas, it can’t do it all. Well, it can, but I think everyone should pick and choose how they want this combo attack social media source to work for their individual needs. For example, I love to Tweet about the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I find it seems unprofessional on Google+.
Go Away LinkedIn – I have never been a fan of LinkedIn. Why? It’s confusing to me, or should I say, I don’t want to read page after page of FAQ to figure it out—that’s a definite waste of my valuable time. With Google+, I hope the professionalism shines through.
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What are you using Google+ for and why? Do you think Google is taking over the world, and maybe it’s time to pull the aluminum foil out and cover our heads in fear? Are you guilty of overusing Google+ or are you using it for all the right reasons? Has it helped you in any way?
Drop me a comment and let’s discuss Google+ (and hey, that rhymes). Better yet, I better see everyone in my Circles Google+ing this article as soon as it’s published!