Plan B Gives Google+ an A Minus

While developing my Plan B website I want to test social media platforms and apps, to find ones relevant to my project. I want to know whether on not using them would increase site traffic and help to develop a stable online community.

Exploring Google+ has led me to a large number of organizations involved with natural hazard emergency planning. Plan B is following pages and profiles providing trustworthy information and not following overtly political, commercial or on the fringe. Plan B wants to grow relationships with thoughtful pages and profiles. Getting the time to identify thoughtful content and content developers will take time. I need to develop a mission statement and a strategic plan. My choice of pages and profiles to follow will help me to define my mission statement:

Dylan Sandler
Works at the Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters. I can’t see anything on his page. I’m not sure if that’s because we hasn’t connected with me or if he is not posting. I need to figure out how Google+ configures pages and relationships between Pages, Profiles and Followers. Following someone who has a stream I can’t access is kind of useless. If I have to be recognized by Dylan Sandler before I receive his updates then I think Google+ needs to add some kind of alert that tells me I need to request access or contact with that specific profile.

Earthquake Kits
This appears to be a placeholder page or it has a private stream that I need approval before receiving update. This might be a ghost site since when I clicked on the pages’ website I was linked to a placeholder for a cooking site – with no recipes.

Earthquake Report
Earthquake Report shares links to breaking international news stories about earthquakes. This will be a good background source when I’m writing about earthquakes for Plan B.

Earthquake Survival Kit
A woman uses this page to promote her Emergency Survival Kit business and to share aggregated news related to Natural Hazard Emergencies. I might get some insight into the emergency kit industry but I don’t think I would use this sight as more than research way station. I find more opinion and anecdote than fact.

Earthquake Tsunami Info
Earthquake Tsunami Info provides exactly what you think it does – links to news coverage about earthquakes and tsunamis from around the world. It links to a website with a similar name. This is a good example of using Google+ to promote your website – and skill set – without cold calls or e-mail solicitations. It’s a service that has value to users. Interested users will visit the website and perhaps develop a relationship there.

Earthquake Update
Earthquake Update appears to be a sibling to Earthquake Tsunami Info. What’s missing from this site? Tsunami coverage would be the correct answer. I’m curious about this Page. What expectations do the page owners have for this page? Are they trying to increase traffic to their main site? Is this a site that’s related to profit making? Is this site curated or hosted by an earthquake expert who might engage users and develop enough interest for a community to form? Such a community might use Google Hangout to discuss earthquake news and related topics. I’m asking a larger question – what is the purpose of a Google+ Page?

First Aid Equipment
This appears to be a static site. One post was made in January 2012. That’s over a year ago. It appears to be a “broadside” page – someone searching or First Aid Equipment might find this page through search and then click on to the main company page. As a user I would be leery of a company that practiced such sloppy marketing practices.

Flood Cleanup
I’ve been hoodwinked. What I believed to be the website of a PhD candidate researching flood cleanup delivers me to a website that offers information about waterproofing and clean up services for homeowners. I was duped.

NASA’s Earth Observatory
Following NASA’s Earth Observatory makes perfect sense for Plan B. I’m interested in connecting users to their home and neighborhood. This NASA site provides maps, photos and stories that will give hyperlocal users a chance to be high minded and consider their place in the wider world when making a personal safety plan.

Pet First Aid
Pets are the unfortunate family members overlooked or abandoned during a crisis. Including pet first aid reminds users that they need to have a plan that includes all of their pets – dogs and cats – as well as rodents, birds and reptiles. Everyone in the family needs to be part of the plan.

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
You can write about natural hazard disasters without including the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Some might even blame the Corps for these disasters because of poorly executed – often-brutal – alterations to natural water flows, interstitial habitats and once viable riparian communities. Following USACE provides insight into our federal government’s hazard response and mitigation programs.

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