My Google+ ‘aha!’ Moment
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Up until last week, I wasn’t overly excited about Google+. I wasn’t UNexcited, but I seemed to be engaging on it with almost the same group of people as on Twitter. Yes, there are aspects of the functionality I prefer to Twitter or Facebook, and the user experience feels nicer; but in reality, I was seeing largely the same content shared by the same people in a new location. I’m also not very good at watching instructional videos at the best of times, so apart from poking around every so often, I was mainly following the stream, sharing the odd tidbit and trying not to replicate my tweets. It all changed last week, though, when my sister-in-law signed up.
Some context: my sister-in-law is a pretty impressive lady. She’s travelled the world, set up at least a couple of her own businesses and is in the process of raising four fantastic kids with my brother. What she isn’t, is passionately engaged with the world of social media. She’s grudgingly on Facebook and even more grudgingly has a Twitter account. Last Thursday, she signed up to Google+ (yep, grudgingly) and added me to her Circles. I happened to be online at the time and instantly we were chatting. Almost as instantly we were hanging out, chatting some more, playing around, recommending people to add to each other’s circles, and, yes, sharing content but doing so in an entirely different way from the way we had before. It felt like the good bits of Facebook, Skype and Twitter were all in one place.
So last week, my experience on the platform became a personal one, not an intellectual exercise in exploring the next big thing, and I think it’s great. I always felt that the true test of Google+ was going to be at this point – when everyone else started getting involved, not just us social media anoraks. Although I find it a bit too subtly designed in places (it took me a while to work out how to start a hang out), and it would be nice to be able to integrate it with other platforms, it’s given me a new and better way to stay in touch and that’s a very nice thing indeed – until the next, next big thing comes along, of course.
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