What’s All The Fuss About Google+?

I’ve been on Google+ (G+) plus for at least one year and I’m still not certain how I’m supposed to use it. To be honest I don’t think I enjoy using G+. I try to remember to post articles to my personal G+ page but I most often remember to post something there only after I’ve posted to Facebook and tweeted a link. By then I’m done with sharing and don’t post it to G+. It has become my default last place social media platform.

My social media posting routine starts with my g-mail account. That’s where I begin curating my content. I regularly review sources for my potential posts and resources worth sharing.

I post on social media for a variety of reasons. One of them is my desire to increase my Klout number. I’m not competing against anyone. It’s a competition between Klout and whatever algorithm they use to determine my number. I would like to get a number up into the 60s.

I’m also posting on social media, reading about it and trying lots of different platforms and plugins to become familiar and fluent with social media options available today. I will never know whether they’re worth using until I work with them.

So where does that leave G+ in my social media platform pantheon? I think at this point G+ is a steady 3rd place. I follow a wide variety of people, issues and topics on my G+ personal site. Researching features and functions while writing this post has already shown that I’ve really only scratched the surface of G+.

My Personal G+ Follows

Val Swisher

Founder and CEO of Content Rules, Inc., and her company sources and develop content for a wide-ranging customer base. Their services include: content strategy, content development and global content distribution and management.

Mark Wilson
Wilson works at Fast Company and writes about design related topics. I decided to follow him on G+ because of one of his Fast Company articles. His association with FastCo gives makes his content seem more credible. Prior to his current position he created a startup called Philanthroper.com. I’m discovering that start up veterans – active, rich and retired, poor and disillusioned – often have interesting insights about business now they’re not in a startup. Having startup experience is a plus for me when deciding on whom to follow on G+.

Technocrati Media
I’m following Technocrati Media because someone told me it was an important site to follow. I was hoping for an insightful social media, online technology, wired culture resource that would provide articles I could read (under 800 words) replete with buzzwords I could pilfer and plug into my own argot. Then I would have argot plugins! I follow Technocrati to understand how web entities, news sites, content developers, information exchequers atomize their data and monetize their momentum. But as I’m reviewing the G+ pages I follow I’m learning that I only follow them. I don’t ever really examine their trails or inspect their spoor. It seems like clicking and following and occasional scanning is mostly how I goggle Google+. It’s kind of embarrassing.

National Geographic
At one time in my life I would have said that I’m following National Geographic because it’s a source of useful information. For instance, did you know that Lolong, the largest crocodile in captivity – 20.24 feet – recently died in the Philippines from unknown causes? I bet that’s news for you. I’m following National Geographic because I want to improve my understanding of science and natural history. It’s also a great resource for researching background and helps me develop a context and overview of major themes related to a story. After researching National Geographic I ask better questions and show my subject that I’m enthusiastic and curious about their knowledge and expertise, which makes the interview and final article a better read.

SEO
During the Digital Publishing Certificate Program content development class I discovered the importance of good Search Engine Optimization. Following SEO puts a rich variety of topical articles and resources at my fingertips.

#waywire
from the founders: “Cory Booker, Nathan Richardson and Sarah Ross saw that the internet was full of places where young people could watch funny animal videos or clips from reality shows. But there wasn’t a place to talk about the serious things, which affect you as citizens. Things like getting a job, economic fairness, politics, and local and world events.”

Video is everywhere. There’s so much of it that when I start to track down one video that tells the story I need to share or want to hear I end up nowhere. #waywire is a video sharing social media platform designed for people with something to say, a story to share, an issue to promote. Cory Booker – the activist mayor of Newark, New Jersey and possible presidential candidate for 2020 – is one of the three founders of this platform. I’m following #waywire because I want to find interesting stories and learn how to make my own videos by watching videos others have created. This platform design could contribute to how I’m thinking about integrating user video into my Plan B website.

The Young Turks
I’m from a small city in Massachusetts where it was not uncommon for one mayor to hold office for over 20 years and everyone knew that his mistress lived in a big house next to St. Joseph’s rectory. I was raised with the idea that if you did a week’s worth of hard work you would be rewarded with a good wage and health care for the entire family. I find those values in the words and deeds of The Young Turks hosts. I like Cenk Uygur’s casual banter about causal events. However, as I review my G+ activity I realize I’m not fully engaging with the content I’m following. I need to schedule social media content time everyday so I’m not simply a follower but an active listener and eventually an authentic content creator.

A Google+ Minus
I wish Google+ provided a place where I could link an article and read it in context with other readers or topic enthusiasts. It would be something like a “Reading Room.” Anyone could create a Reading Room and enjoy a space that allows them to research deeper and read deeply into one area with other like-minded readers and thinkers. I would link articles I’m reading to this page and include my thoughts, comments or questions. Questions would be important and could be presented as open questions to others interested in this topic. Users could share links in response and their own understanding of a specific point. There would be a feature on the “Understanding” page that allowed users to schedule a Google chat so users could discuss content in a real-time, develop further understanding of the topic and turn strangers into colleagues and even friends.

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