I’ve long supported Google+, and often continued to play when no-one was there, out of some kind of weird loyalty thing. I believe it had a purpose still, I liked that it was predominantly business contact led, and have long held the opinion that Business-to-Business is the market Google should be channeling Google+’s opportunitism, NOT trying to be another Facebook.
2012 has in my opinion, been a good year for Google+. The Hangout function has gathered steam as a very viable face-to-face-and-more-faces communication format, and the iPad application is really nice. And I mean REALLY nice, in the way that iPad apps increasingly usurp the traditional web formats (thinking LinkedIn, and now Gmail here).
Usership however, in reality – was still down. There was still no tangible draw to the network. The company pages aren’t really pulling up trees in truth.
But this month has seen the biggest move in Google+’s make-up, in my opinion. The introduction of Google Communities. At last, a tangible reason to bring like-minded people together on Google+. Hurray!! – maybe someone at Google Towers read my blog post and every comment I have made on blogs on the subject for the last 15 months!! (…or something like that)
I’m TALKING to people on Google+, ladies and gentleman. Every day. People in similar circles, you see – oh yes, that old `Social Media being enhanced by the bringing together of clusters and communities` thing – Google have worked it out and created the opportunity to build theme-centric content and discussion groups. Like LinkedIn, but with no bluddy spammy recruiters with one degree of conversational skills: jobs, jobs, jobs… (yet)
The B2B focus has kicked in, in the Communities – although in truth, there’s no reason why this cannot extend to non-professional networks too; but let’s be fair, none of my wife, my brother or some of my friends know what Google+ is; so let’s stick to where there’s an audience.
But communities is the key to all of this. Circles were fine, and remain fine; but didn’t actually define real communities – they were filing cabinets – whereas real Communities can interconnect, collude, learn, debate and meet up. They are vibrant, interesting and informed – and THAT is what Google+ will have found in the inevitable growth in use of the platform in the past 3 weeks.
Sometimes, we dare to doubt companies like Google. We sit in our blogging chairs and journalistic pews, and tell them how their businesses should be run – like we ever knew – because it’s easy from over here. But they get there, they work it out.
This is only a step in the right direction for Google+, but it’s a big step; a leap. I think it’s time for many to dust off their old Google+ profile again and give it whirl, find your communities and grab some decent B2B discussion networks again – non-LinkedIn style.