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So, Google+: Do You Need It?

 

For still being a newborn, Google+ is creating a lot of buzz in the social media world. Up until about a week ago Twitter was filled with people begging for invites to the beta test of the new social network. So, is it all it’s cracked up to be? Is it really the mecca of social networking that Google is hoping for? Will this stamp out Facebook at last?

I’ve been playing in Google+ now with intent for about a week, and, well, yes and no. It’s clear to me already that the social media outliers what Jason Falls so brilliantly calls those of us first adopters will blossom in this new space. Already it’s reminding me of my early days on Twitter, when the conversations happened fast and furious, no one was selling me anything, and every single post got plenty of engagement. So I’m a little bit in love with it on that front.

But I know one thing for sure: my mother will never have a Google+ account. She barely dabbles in Facebook, and then only because she felt pressured by friends to be there. She describes Facebook as “invasive” and hates the loose definition of “friend.” The Google+ circles might have a minor appeal for her, but I can’t imagine her making the leap.

So will it be embraced by everyone? I think it’s pretty unlikely.

But it is BEAUTIFUL. Look at that white space! The clean black and white lines! The lovely dove gray! I confess to being drawn to it simply based on its simplicity. I find that I visit and stay longer because of the ease of engagement and its soothing visual appeal. I don’t know how, but it manages to somehow make Facebook feel like MySpace.

On the business side, well, we’ll have to wait and see how that develops. Apparently Google is asking brands to hold off on signing up at this point because they want to make that process as seamless as an individual signing up, and avoid the Fan Page/Personal Page confusion of the early days of Facebook. That doesn’t mean people aren’t already planning to muck up Google+ with marketing; Chris Brogan has already released a webinar about marketing on the platform.

However, my favorite business feature is the Hangout. Finally, for free, I can have video conferencing with multiple people at once. Yesterday I met with Calliope and Jo-Lynne to prepare for a workshop they are doing this weekend about blog design; it was a great fast and easy way to see each other’s faces while we talked (you do have to a

lready have the Google video chat functionality working in order to do a hangout, but if you don’t, Google makes it VERY easy for you toinstall what you need). Please forgive us in this picture for not looking our Sunday best (and for the shot being an iPhone photo of a mac screen – how meta!), but you can get an idea how a hangout looks.

Overall, I give Google+ a huge thumbs up for both visual appeal and functionality. Frankly, it’s the one to beat.

 

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