This is Part 1 – What is Google+ Anyway? Links to the entire series are at the bottom of this post.
Have you heard about Google+? It’s the latest offering from Google and is causing quite a stir. Many people love it, many don’t, and a whole lot of people don’t understand it at all. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. I’m a newbie too. But I’ve read more than a few articles by both social media and tech bloggers and I’m slowly trying to make sense of them. Nothing against tech bloggers, of course.
Outside of the social media and tech circles, however, there seem to be three recurring questions about Google+, particularly amongst the creative bloggers -
- What is Google+ anyway?
- I’m already on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest – I don’t have time for anything else! Why do I need to be on Google+?
- Google Buzz didn’t last. Why will Google Plus be any different?
I’ll make an attempt at addressing the first question today, and then I’ll delve into more detail on the other questions and offer some how-to’s in future posts.
What is Google+
Basically, it’s a social network. This is not Google’s first foray into social networks either. Something creative bloggers may find interesting is that Google Friend Connect – the badge of followers in nearly every blogger’s sidebar – was originally intended as a social network and is scheduled to be retired from nonBlogger blogs in March of this year.
Ding. Ding. Ding! This announcement is precisely what got me interested in Google+ and is also what has fired up all sorts of commotion in the creative blog circles I frequent.
To be fair, I’ve never used Google Friend Connect as a networking tool. Other than the representation of status of blogs in their sidebars, I personally don’t see an issue here. But then, I don’t have thousands of Google followers either. Of course, the number of GFC followers does not necessarily equate to a large readership. At least on my blog. I get more readers from email subscriptions, StumbleUpon, Facebook and Pinterest. But that’s just me. For those blogs with over 1000 Google followers, there’s a lot of concern and doubt swirling.
Is that concern justified? I can’t answer that. What I can say is things in the Google+ world are changing fast. Like nearly every week, fast. Another thing I can tell you is Google+ had an estimated user base of 62 million as of December 27, 2011. With an estimate of 625,000 new users each day, predictions for 400 million users have been stated by an independent consulting firm. 1 By the way, Facebook has over 800 million users.
For me and my blog, those numbers are pretty impressive. So are a lot of the features on Google+. Not all of them, but quite a few. Tomorrow I’ll share my personal pros and cons of this new social network and address the I’m already on Twitter and Facebook so why Google+ issue.
In the meantime I’ve got a few questions for you –
Do you look at blogs’ Google Friend Connect boxes?
Does the number of followers on any blog make a difference to you?
For instance, do you pay closer attention when a blog’s GFC numbers are over 3 or 4 thousand?