An Evangelist Makes the Case for Google+

3/23/12Follow @wroush

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it’s the main reason Android, which is in many ways a more flexible and powerful mobile operating system, hasn’t overshadowed Apple’s iOS. At the risk of over-generalizing, Google is full of people who are better at thinking than feeling. (To get all Myers-Briggs about it: Google has a huge preponderance of INTJs, when what you really need to build great consumer products is a mix of INTJs, ENTPs, and ESFPs.)

So, is it really possible that Google has gotten it right this time? Kawasaki admits at the beginning of What the Plus that “I need another social-media service like I need more e-mail or my dog to throw up on the carpet.” But he goes on to argue that Google+ is so good—combining superior, well-conceived features with a generous and creative crowd of early adopters—that it qualifies as truly “enchanting.” (For Kawasaki, that’s a word with a very specific meaning; see my March 2011 review of his book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.) Kawasaki makes his reason for falling in love with Google+ pretty clear: not only does it fit his own needs better than Facebook or Twitter, but it’s the underdog in the social media contest. “Macintosh was a better computer, and many people didn’t ‘get it,’” he writes. “Now Google+ is a better social network, and many people don’t get it, either.”

I won’t try to summarize Kawasaki’s whole book—it’s so compact that you really should just go read it yourself. But here’s a rundown of the big things that make Kawasaki so enthusiastic about Google+.

Google+ fills a new niche in social networking. If Twitter is about sharing perspectives, and Facebook is about following people, then Google+ is great for sharing your passions, even if it’s with people you don’t know.

Google+ has features that Facebook just doesn’t. Among other things, it lets you share longer posts; edit your posts after you’ve published them; show more pictures on your profile page; hang out in video conferences with up to nine other people; exert more control over who sees your posts and whose posts you see; and visualize how your posts are spreading through the network.

Conversations on Google+ tend to be longer, more thoughtful, and less vituperative than those on other networks. “The quality, breadth, and depth of Google+ comments compared to Twitter and Facebook blow me away,” Kawasaki writes. “This level of interaction separates Google+ from those other services, and it’s the reason Robert Scoble and thousands of other early adopters love Google+.”

Google+ is great for marketers. Because Google now integrates social connections into the results people get in traditional searches, being active on Google+ is one way to influence people and steer them toward your blog, your company site, or other content. Kawasaki says we’re now in the era of “WYKC-WYG” or “who you know changes what you get”—a reality that should “bring a smile to the face of every marketer.”

Google+ will only get better, since Google is big, powerful, and serious about social media. With “infinite money and talent” (Kawasaki’s words) and a lot to lose if Facebook were to displace it as the main way people discover new things on the Web, the company is going to keep working at social networking until it wins.

The bulk of What the Plus is a step-by-step guide to understanding Google+ and being smart about using it. There are chapters on how circles work, how to write posts that will attract comments and shares, how to gain more followers, and how to make your Google+ profile more enchanting (I’ve already applied some of Kawasaki’s suggestions to my own profile). There’s even a guest chapter on using the great photo-sharing options on Google+ from Tokyo-based photographer Dave Powell, and a guest chapter on … Next Page »

Wade Roush is Chief Correspondent and Editor At Large at Xconomy. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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  • http://www.kendall-press.com Keith Spiro

    Hi Wade,
    I had only toyed with Google + until the master of Enchantment himself, Guy Kawasaki, started talking it up and invited me to test his book. To quote Guy in his acknowledgement section..

    “near the end of the writing process, I asked my closest 1.1 million friends on Google+ if they’d like to test this book. Approximately 240 people responded…and 100 of them provided feedback” …..and I am one of those 100 people who provided feedback. Cool. I exchanged emails with Guy Kawasaki and am listed in the acknowledgments section.

    I bring this up because it was Guy Kawasaki who got me to re-look at an otherwise utilitarian and somewhat sterile tool. Why? – he’s warm, has a sense of humor and a good sense of the human spirit.

    I think you’re spot on when you talk about Google + lacking warmth. Utilitarian, spartan, powerful yes. Fun? no. But I have set up a few ‘hangouts’ and to my personal delight (in not having to drive 100+ miles to a meeting) it was amazingly simple to set up, pull our group together and all share via a hangout.

    As you’ve said – Google + is worth reading if only to find a few key tools and uses that help in whatever is your reason to be heard online. I like circles, some semblance of security/privacy, and hangout which works well for me.

    But my lasting approval of Google + has little to do with Google. Instead, it is that I got to interact with Guy Kawasaki, not a bot, not an algorithm and he acknowledged me, a helpful interactive human being, when he released his book.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/wroush/ Wade Roush

    Keith – You’re spot on. One of the best things about Google+ is Guy Kawasaki himself. Google should be paying him!

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    DAcA0T try it or not ?

  • World Wide DJWaydo

    Google+ is horrible, useless and for the first time in my life i’d actually rate something worse than I would Facebook. Why anyone would need help with using something designed to be easy-to-use and convenient is beyond me.

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