Google Plus is a Social Backplane Service | Chris Brogan

chris brogan offers another "not dead yet" perspective on google plus.
he makes some good points, including this closer:

Don’t reply with “no one’s there.” You don’t buy a fridge and find it full of food. Millions and millions of people are there. You’re just not doing the work. If 500 million have an account and reports estimate about 250 million people are fairly darned active, that’s more people than Twitter. You’re just not following them yet.

via click through to read the whole article. t's worth it


Google Plus Local: Do's and Don'ts | ThriveHive

nice article from thrivehive on boosting your profile on google's local business profiles. google plus is still not getting a lot of respect in the marketing world, but when you're talking local search, it is smart to play as nice with the big g as you can. I have summarized the recommendations in the excerpt below.

we’ve pulled together our list of four things to do and 2 things to avoid to help your Google Plus Local listing dominate the local results.


1. Link it up

include a link to your google plus listing on your website 

2. Take a N.A.P.

consistent use of business name, address and phone number

3. Show your stuff

photos and video - visual content is more engaging

4. Seeing stars

try to get customers to review the business


1. Can’t buy me love

don't try to game the system with phony reviews

2. Quit nagging

google doesn't like reviews resulting from "please review us" reminder emails. thrivehive suggests using a QR code to encourage customers to do quick reviews on site.

via click through for full recommendations


Show ads with your Google+ Page endorsements | Google AdWords Help

Last week I posted on why Google "Plus Ones" help links pop more in search results than Facebook likes. Here's some great tips straight from Google on how to makes the same Plus magic happen in your ads


George creates a Google+ Page for his company, Happy Burgers. He also creates an AdWords campaign, some ads, and then a social extension by linking his Google+ Page to his campaign. When 32 people +1 one of his ads, Happy Burgers' page will receive 32 new +1's.  Alternatively, if George connects his AdWords campaign to his Google+ Page after it already had 32 +1's, all of his ads can now have these +1's as social annotations.

via click through to read the whole article


Google+ Pages Get Multiple Admins, New Notifications and More (via TNW)

In what looks to be the last major feature push before the Christmas period, the Google team has today announced a number of new updates for Google+, delivering multi-admin controls, new notifications and +1 analytics.

After listening to user feedback after the public launch of Pages (which saw us reinstate our The Next Web account), Google now allows brands and businesses to nominate up to 50 named managers as administrators for a page — perfect for companies with large marketing and social media teams that previously needed to share login credentials.

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 13.21.13 520x190 Google+ Pages get multiple admins, new notifications and more

Also dropping is a new notification flow that delivers all of the activity on a page, giving admins the chance to keep an eye on conversations, messages and shares of their content.

In an effort to provide managers with a better idea of how Google+ users are interacting with page content, Google has combined counts of users that have engaged with a page, whether it be a +1 or the addition of a page to a circle.

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 13.22.09 Google+ Pages get multiple admins, new notifications and more

To demonstrate the new features, Google has posted a new video which describes each of the new features and how to add them:

With additional page controls, Google has taken a step closer to providing users with access to features similar to Facebook Pages. Google says this is just the start of its page updates, we will of course notify you of them as they roll out.

this will help more businesses and organizations use g+

Could Google Plus Lose The Battle Against Facebook? (via allfacebook)

Google Plus started out growing faster than any social network has so far, but may not be able to compete against Facebook longer term.

The appeal is not sticking because many of the people that quickly flocked to Google Plus have made their way back to the comfort and familiarity of Facebook.

In fact, the inability to keep users engaged has some observers wondering just how long Google Plus will be able to survive.

A Closer Look At The Battle

Google Plus entered the social game at a time when competition was arguably at its fiercest. Facebook was just reported to have an estimated 750 million active users, while both Twitter and LinkedIn were making notable gains of their own.

In order to garner attention, Google would have to give users a different experience, and different is what it strived to be from the very beginning.

Even in its original beta form, Google Plus was equipped with a new friends system in Circles, a discovery engine in Sparks, and a group video chat tool in Hangouts, which recently made its way to the mobile platform.

Apparently all that wasn’t enough, as Facebook went to work with some countering of its own.

In addition to combating Circles with Smart Lists, and answering Hangouts with a Skype-powered video chat feature, Facebook rolled out some huge updates that once again made it the talk of the town.

The majority of the changes involved making the popular social platform more user-friendly, starting with the news feed.

The news feed has been designed in a manner that presents users with posts that are deemed to be most important to them, opposed to the most recent updates.

According to Facebook Engineering Manager Mark Tonkelowitz, the news feed experience is now like users having their own personal newspaper.

Despite not being embraced by the community as a whole, or at least not at first, the recent changes at Facebook have reclaimed the attention of both the general members and brands who spend their time on the site.

And while Google Plus still has some attributes that enable it to stand out, the lack of activity and return visits is a sign that users are having trouble justifying its worth in comparison to what they already have in Facebook.

Last Chance?

Google Plus is not the search giant’s first attempt at social networking.

If you recall, the company launched Google Buzz in 2010, which fizzled out due to a major privacy flaw that accompanied the initial release and the same issue the company faces today — being useful in what can be considered an overly crowded space.

Google Plus definitely has more potential than Buzz, but should it bomb, it could very well be the last shot at ever touching Facebook in the social realm.

Guest writer Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the non-profit partnership liaison for Benchmark Email.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.

think reports of g+ demise may be premature

Fluid personal communication in the era of Facebook, Skype and Google+ (via gigaom)

This week’s announcement of Skype’s acquisition of GroupMe, and the recent introduction of Facebook’s Beluga-based Messenger, are part of something much bigger than group text messaging: The landscape of personal online communication is changing. The very communication paradigms we’re accustomed to — email, text messaging, chat and wall posts — are starting to be blurred and redesigned. In the next generation of social media interaction, users will communicate online in ways that better mirror their organic interactions in real life. Welcome to the age of fluid personal communication.

In a thoughtful recent post Om said:

“…instead of getting bogged down by the old-fashioned notion of communication – phone calls, emails, instant messages and text messages – [Google] needs to think about interactions…..To me, interactions are synchronous, are highly personal, are location-aware and allow the sharing of experiences, whether it’s photographs, video streams or simply smiley faces. Interactions are supposed to mimic the feeling of actually being there. Interactions are about enmeshing the virtual with the physical.”

I agree, but the concept of fluid communication goes deeper. Until now, personal electronic communication could be crudely divided into two types – active and passive. Email, chat and text messaging are the prototypical active forms. Facebook wall posts, tweets, and Google+ posts, are the prototypical passive ones. Until recently, these two types lived separate lives, but that’s changing, and with it are some of our basic assumptions about online communication. Here are some thoughts about the new challenges and how to deal with them.

Three issues combine to make the story interesting: groups, informational side effects, and the social contract inherent to social networks. They are all important, but the interaction among them is particularly interesting – and confusing.

Groups. If you think of the continuum between emailing a small group of people and posting to a newsgroup or mailing list, Facebook wall posts resemble the latter. But the recent introduction of Google+ Circles, and the renewed interest this has brought to the long-standing (if somewhat dormant) Facebook Lists, blurs the boundaries.  Is sharing a photo with my eight-member “Immediate Family” List on Facebook (or the corresponding Circle on Google+) much different than sending the group an email with that photo attached?  Experience suggests it’s not.

Informational side effects. Email has long recognized informational side effects — the distinction between To and Bcc is the best example of it.  When I address a message to Sally and Bill we’ve achieved common knowledge of the content:  we are all aware of the message.  When I send a message to Sally but Bcc Bill, something more complex happens: Sally and I achieve common knowledge of the content, and Bill and I achieve common knowledge of both the message content and the fact that Sally and I have common knowledge of it. There are other, more subtle informational side effects of To.  For starters, if Sally and Bill don’t know each other, then by emailing them both together I’ve made their existence common knowledge, and disclosed that I have a relationship with both. And obviously they now can communicate directly. I once had a banker who sent email to several of his clients using To, a gross privacy violation. The banker could have used Bcc in that instance, but in other cases that’s throwing away the baby with the bath water. For example, a company may need to send a message to its investors. It’s important that everyone know who all the investors are, but at the same time it may be inappropriate to reveal their email addresses.

Social contract. Careful control of who sees what is perhaps something of a corner case in email, and one can imagine various ways to deal with it; for example, in the company investor’s case, one could Bcc everyone, and includes just their names in the body of the message. But what is possibly a corner case in email becomes central in social media.

A social network is not merely a communication medium. It is first and foremost a place in which social contracts are established and maintained; and when you overlay a communication framework over such a social graph new things happen. The most noticeable complication arises when the social network requires permission to establish a social connection. For example, when I post on my wall, since Facebook adopts a version of email’s “reply-all,” my friends see each other’s posts. Is it appropriate for two of my friends who are not mutually connected to comment on each other’s comment?

So what does this all mean?

The lesson from this is that in the era of social networks we need to revisit communication conventions that previously served us well. In particular, we can’t take for granted the distinction between active and passive communication. Every developer of a new communication service should ask him/herself the following questions:

  • When a group is created, are the group members aware of it in any way? If yes, what exact information do they get and who decides it?
  • Is the communication style active, passive, or does it span the spectrum?
  • What are possible responses to a group message? Reply? Reply-all?  Reply-only-to-other-people-who-have-also-replied? Reply-only-to-people-the-sender-is-connected-to?
  • When a user communicates with a group, what information does each recipient have about the other recipients?
  • Who can initiate communication with whom? In particular, when a group receives a message, can any group member now communicate freely with any other member?
  • If I create a group and communicate with it, and the system permits the recipients to freely initiate new communications with the group, does it remain “my” group or have I now put it in the public domain?

Overlaying multicast communication on top of a social graph is tricky; you need to think about the informational side effects and to respect social contracts. This can get complicated, but the issues are real. To borrow from Einstein: Communication in social networks should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Yoav Shoham is a professor of computer science at Stanford University and co-founder of Katango. These issues have been the subject of much discussion at Katango, but this should not be viewed as describing Katango’s strategy or product offering; the goal is to have a conversation among all of us attempting to improve users’ digital social experience.

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