Do You need to be on Google Plus?

Last week I wrote about Google’s new social network, Google Plus. Since that horse hasn’t been beaten to death as thoroughly as it will be soon, I thought that this might be an opportunity to answer the question I have seen reverberating through the “statussphere” – Why do you need to be on Google Plus?

The short answer is of course, you don’t. You don’t have to do anything except die and pay taxes they say (though there are political groups and religious groups that will have you believing you don’t need to do those things either) . But with a viable, well funded network, backed by one of the largest technology based companies in the world, you might well want to consider whether Google Plus is a platform that will help advance your personal business or social agenda. Then, and only then do you need to consider that tools the platform has available for you to use to advance your agenda.

The first and most significant question is whether your online community has, or might migrate to Google Plus. Odds are that many people will not – at least in the short term. With every new platform there are early adopters, later adopters, and never adopters, and if you are monitoring your online community, you know where your community is heading, so the answer to that question should be well within your grasp. However, you probably want to consider some of the factors that  might influence adoption by people who are not just first wave geeks like me.

People that use Gmail and Google calendars now have their social notifications right in place without leaving the tab open in their browser. Its not a big deal at first glance, but there’s a lot to be said for unified ease of use. Hence the move by Google to re-brand Blogger as Google Blogs, and Picasa as Google Photos, while redesigning Gmail and Google Calendars to reflect a newer minimalist theme similar to Google Plus.

The penetration of the Android platform and a seriously minimal but elegant mobile solution doesn’t hurt Google’s case either. Now photos taken with your android phone are poised for easy upload to your Google Plus page in one simple motion.

Google is a well recognized brand and they are trusted by huge numbers of web users.We have learned to trust Google as a search engine because it returns relevant searches,  That trust may well translate into adoption by people that don’t seem the first wave of adopter s- older , more conservative users or  people who are concerned about what the owner of the social platform might do with their data.  With the introduction of Spark, Huddles and Hangouts, they have designed a platform of shiny objects that will be attractive to most of their user base – people who randomly leaf through the internet on their site. (If you have not yet been to Google+ – Sparks is a compilation of information sources Google+ thinks you will be interested in, Huddles is a group chat platform, and hangouts are an instant videoconferencing  platform needing no invitations – my favorite of the three)

For me, new platforms are fun to explore and cross channel engagement is part of  my online strategy – but it may not be the case for you. So I would ask four questions to determine whether this new platform is for you;

  1. Are the people I want to connect with on this new platform?
  2. What is my purpose in engaging on the new platform?
  3. Is the site a redundancy or a fail safe in my social media strategy?
  4. Is this a sustainable tool for me?

As always – you have the answers to the questions- but I would love to know what they are for you – Will I see you on Google Plus?

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