An Evangelist Makes the Case for Google+

3/23/12Follow @wroush

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overcoming the Google+ gender gap (the user base is heavily skewed toward males) from Lynette Young, the curator of the Women of Google+ page. Take the time to read and implement a few of Kawasaki’s tips, and you’re guaranteed to get more out of Google+, both personally and professionally.

But that still leaves the big question unanswered. Is Google+ so enchanting that it will woo hundreds of millions of people away from Facebook? I’m not convinced that it is. For all its amazing features, the service is missing a few of the fuzzier elements that, at least to me, would inspire true devotion. The main one is what I’ll call warmth. Google+ just doesn’t feel like a place where I want to hang out. Like most of Google’s products, it’s got a Spartan, utilitarian atmosphere, embodied in everything from its cryptic toolbar icons to its stark white background to its dominant typeface—the industrial-feeling Arial/Helvetica. One person’s profile feels pretty much like every other’s, except for the thumbnail images. Maybe the whole thing just reminds me too much of Gmail—which is an extremely useful tool, but one I want to spend as little time as possible using.

All this may sound really touchy-feely—but that’s exactly my point. Facebook feels more like a personal scrapbook, especially after the recent introduction of Timeline, whereas Google+ feels more like an infinite comment stream. Which one sounds more inviting to you?

Alas, if you’re interested in social media mainly as a tool for promoting your own content, company, ideas, or products (as I confess I am), you can’t worry too much about which social network feels more homey. You have to grok Google+, just as you have to understand Twitter and Facebook. Which is why Kawasaki’s book will be so helpful to many people. Go check it out—then circle back (pun intended) with your own comments, either here or on Xconomy’s Google+ page.

Wade Roush is Xconomy's chief correspondent and editor of Xconomy San Francisco. 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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