Google+ – the Latest Social Media Platform?

It seems almost weekly that some new application comes along promising to be the single platform you need to conduct all your social media interaction. Facebook has Branchout and doing almost nothing, I constantly have people joining my “empire.” But, do I want an empire? Can I manage it? I barely have time to get deal with household chores, work, family…now an empire?

I manage several Twitter accounts; more blogs than I care to admit. I have over 25 websites that need my attention; and Facebook and LinkedIn statuses and groups. Hootsuite helped me streamline my social interaction and best of all, enabled me to post to several platforms easily and quickly.

LinkedIn has become an invaluable tool for reaching business contacts, establishing connections and yes, even getting projects. It stands as a record to what we have accomplished and many times I have referred people to the glowing recommendations our course and technical writing services have received.

The latest tool out there is Google+ and I’m only getting started. I love the concept of Circles and the ease with which you can apply them to your contacts. This morning, I dragged one hundred people into a Circle in seconds – that was truly exciting.

I’ve set up a Business circle for general contacts that relate to WritePoint, the technical writing world, and hi-tech in general. I’ve set up a WritePoint circle so that within the company our writers can share comments and thoughts. I’ve set up an SMConnection circle where I am slowly adding all my Twitter friends, and so on. You can drag and drop people to one or more circles and build and rebuild your networks and targeted audiences. Something you can’t do between Facebook contacts, Twitter contacts, and LinkedIn contacts.

In the past, many of us built numerous networks. A network for business – perhaps more than one; a network for personal contacts; a network for a specific cause or political agenda. Each network was separate – different people, different agendas, different interests. I found myself maintaining about 10 Twitter accounts; a LinkedIn account for business; a Facebook account for family and friends. A WritePoint fan page in this platform and in that one; several blogs, etc.

Some tools, like Hootsuite, for example, enable you to access several networks at any given time, cross-posting to all or some of them at will. What it doesn’t allow you to do, however, is interact within the network. It is all about pushing your message in a world committed to interaction and communication. There is a limit to how much you can only push and so while extremely useful, tools such as Hootsuite are limited in their effectiveness as a true social media platform for engaging with others.

And so, we come to Google+. The beauty of Google+ is readily apparent. You build one vast network and then you categorize in Circles, each of your target audiences. The downside is yet another ramp towards building up your network. But like Twitter, the outreach potential is as vast and as open.

I love the Circles concept. I love being me in all its glory. What I mean by that is – I don’t have to maintain separate identities (though there are sometimes benefits in doing so). One thing that has bothered me in the past is the tremendous effort it takes to build numerous networks. Conceivably, that effort is no longer necessary, once I again work hard to build the Google+ network.

As of a short time ago, it seems Facebook is making an effort to block people from importing their Facebook contacts into Google+. While I find that incredibly anti-social media, I understand why they might be doing it. Clearly, posting on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn can become cumbersome. If we succeed in truly building one united network that allows me to reach all my contacts when I want to, while targeting individual networks when necessary, we will have reached a new and wonderful world of social interaction.

Does Google+ reach that high, seemingly unattainable level? Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll all find out.

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