I have been playing with Google+ for a week and it reminds me of the early days of Facebook, Twitter and several other social networks.
One of my guiding principles has been to try just about everything and to abandon anything that doesn’t work out, which is why the Internet is littered with my accounts.
I have made more social networking mistakes than I care to list, and as I dive into Google+ I am being a bit more cautious than I have been in the past because I know what a time-suck social websites can be.
One of the biggest mistakes I have made on social networks is having hundreds of friends who I don’t know. Part of the problem is that I never took a proactive approach to the whole friendship thing.
My friends will tell you that is because I am not a people person. I only know a small percentage of my Facebook friends and I actually like six of them. I don’t use my Facebook account for business. I know that I am a Realtor all of the time, but I want and need a social life that has nothing to do with work.
What makes Google+ unique is that it handles lists graphically, and they are called groups. Groups can be created by dragging pictures of people into circles. Circles work just like lists work on Facebook.
The very first thing I did when I set up my Google+ account was to make a special circle for people who I want to ignore. Since no one can tell which circle they are in, there won’t be any hard feelings.
Circles make it easier than ever before to ignore the people who need to be ignored and to pay attention to the people who I want to pay attention to. In fact, it inspired me to update all of my social networking accounts.
The ability to filter out the advertisers is more important than ever as people flock to social networks to promote their businesses. I was only on Google+ for a day before I saw a promotional update for a business, and I moved that friend to my special circle.
The lists I use on Twitter work the same way. They help me sort people out so that I never miss a tweet from the people who I enjoy conversing with or learning from, and the rest go into a general list that is ignored until I have some time to read.
Twitter taught me how to listen and how to organize my account so that I see what the local media are talking about but don’t see which homes were just listed on the East Coast, or who is at a conference today.
After I set up my new Google+ account I went into my Facebook account and worked on my lists. I organized them better and then onto my LinkedIn account, where a friend pointed out that most people were updating LinkedIn via Twitter instead of actually logging in.
I am not sure how LinkedIn fits in, but I have been told that if I ever want a job or want to hire someone for a job I need to use it. The release of Google+ was a reminder to me to keep my accounts organized and to actively avoid the conversations and people who don’t add value.
Another feature of Google+ is the ability to create a "hangout" where we can video chat with a group of people. I have had that capability for many years but have used it only a few times. For some reason I have not had much of a desire to hang out on my video camera and chat.
Already people are claiming that Google+ is the next big thing. It was not all that long ago that Google Wave was the next big thing, but the Wave quickly died out. There is nothing innovative or new about an online social network that allows us to put people in groups, but that doesn’t mean that Google+ won’t catch on.
There isn’t room in my life for another social network, nor is there a need for one, but many people consider having a profile on a social network to be tech-savvy, and being thought of as tech-savvy is desirable in business.