Friday, July 22, 2011

Thoughts on Social Media: Early Days with Google+

OK, because everyone else is doing it, I thought I'd write a post on my experiences using Google+.

First, I'd like to say for the record, I do work for Google, but not on Google+. I work on Google Geo, and specifically helping external developers use Google Geo APIs. I don't know why, but a variety of people have said to me "Now that you're working on Google+..." or something like that. I think I might have shared a post by someone who does and that's why people think that. Or something. And as always, these are my thoughts, not necessarily those of my employer.

Anyway, here's some thoughts:

I Heart Circles
I do feel like they solve an issue that I've had with social media in the last several years. I have a job where I represent a company, Google, and therefore don't want to mix-up my public sharing of photos and link with my private sharing with friends and family. I haven't really had that since getting on Facebook and Twitter and having thousands of people following me. Which basically meant I didn't have a private life online. Many people my age wonder why that's an issue, but I have nieces and nephews who really communicate mostly online, and it is a great way to keep up when you're away. And I travel a lot. I mean 30-50% of the year I think. So I'm often in different time zones, etc.

What I am still trying to figure out
I represent a company. So in some ways, the more people "follow" me, or rather in this case have me in their circles, the better for me. The means sharing a lot of things publicly. But that means everyone I share with sees all of that. And everyone who has put me in their circle. But if I limit what I post to certain circles I've defined, it means people don't see it when looking at whether they want to follow me. So that's interesting. Certainly hashtags and following someone by only certain hashtags would solve that, and I know the team has said they're looking into it.

I Heart Hangouts
Great experience, a really nice feature. I want to start doing some evening "let's have a beer" hangouts with folks. Or perhaps use it while playing video games or something. Anyway, still many use cases that haven't been figured out yet.

Lots of people adding me to circles quickly
I think there's probably a lot of overlap between my Twitter/Facebook followers and my Google+ community. I am already over 1000 people with me in their circles, a number it took a lot longer to reach on Twitter.

Basically, loving it so far. I think that more tools to manage your stream will help a lot.