How to Survive and Thrive on the New Google+

By Mike Elgan  |  Posted 2014-07-22 Print this article Print

New users are presented with different categories of people and pages to circle. I’m on this list in the “Technology” category.

I have no idea what percentage of new users chooses to follow the “Technology” category, but I assume it’s a minority and I assume it’s fairly consistent. So if my own rate of circle growth declines, I figure the rate of new users to Google+ is also in decline. But it’s not declining. I get about 2,000 new followers per day, and that’s been pretty consistent for a couple of years.

In short, while Google+ has become less elitist and while the quality of conversations has declined by default, it’s still the best place to blog, in my opinion, and the best all-purpose social network.

The first thing to remember about Google+ is that network effect doesn’t apply.

Network effect is the concept that the value of a network goes up as the number of people using it goes up. The telephone system is the classic example of network effect. If only one person had a telephone, the value is zero. If everyone has a telephone, it’s so valuable that you can’t function without being part of the network.

Network effect is not present on Google+ for three reasons. The first reason is that a public Google+ post is just another page on the Internet, accessible to every human on the planet with a Web browser and discoverable via search. So if you have a message for the world, a public Google+ post is a great way to reach everybody.

The second reason is that any post can be addressed to anyone’s email address and they get the post as an email.

And the third reason is a service Google offers called +Post Ads. If you have a page for your business, you can turn a post into a banner ad that’s targeted to specific types of people outside the Google+ network. They see an ad, but when they click on it, the Google+ post fills the screen on that Website (it doesn’t take you to Google+).

So Google+’s three most powerful ways to target and reach people—a Web page with SEO, direct email addressing and targeted advertising—are perfectly ambivalent about whether the target does or does not have a Google+ account. The fact that Google+ posts are internally viral is just icing on the cake.

My best advice for surviving and thriving on the new Google+ is: Be active and aggressive.

In order to maintain Google+’s high quality conversations and community, you’ve now got to work harder than ever to block trolls, spammers, haters and idiots. Don’t even think twice about it: If anyone bugs you for any reason, block them and never look back.

You’ve also got to now click on each post’s “Show comments removed as spam” link at the top of the comments section, and use the flag tool to restore legitimate comments. In my own experience, I’ve found that every comment has good comments flagged and sidelined for the wrong reasons. They have to be unflagged.

It’s very helpful to be active in other ways too by selecting the comment, plus-one, mute posts and must people features. These actions tell Google’s algorithms what you want and what you don’t want.

Google+ is changing. It’s becoming less exclusive and elitist. That’s both good and bad, but it’s also inevitable.

The good news is that Google+ has all the tools you need to create the community and the quality you want.

You’ve just got to use them—now, more than ever.


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