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RESULTS: Your Google+ self: Private or Public?

Yesterday I asked you to give me a coordinate pair (x,y) to describe your activity on Google+, where x and y are defined as follows:

x : on a scale of 1 to 10, is your Google+ profile that of a private individual (1), or a public/business/corporate figure (10)? example: +Paris Hilton would be a 10.

y : on a scale of 1 to 10, are you posting to limited circles (1) or publicly (10)? example: if virtually every post you originate is visible to the public, you're a 10.

Thanks everyone for your participation; I got 72 results directly in my thread. (I haven't tracked down all the shares, so there may be more hiding there.)

I decided to plot a "bubble chart" which is like a scatter chart, except the size of the bubbles depicts the number of responses. So, for example, we got 15 (1,10)'s so that's why you see large circle/bubble with a 15 in it at (1,10).

I don't know if this is an earth-shattering result but it was interesting to collect. As we may have expected, people are tending toward (1,10). Of course people that don't post publicly may not have even seen my post in the first place, so I don't know that we can draw many conclusions about G+ as a whole.

Any thoughts?
Giselle Minoli's profile photoMax Huijgen's profile photoYifat Cohen's profile photoAndrew Mackenzie's profile photo
This tells me that the analytics who are analyzing our post on #googleplus should have no problem seeing that we spend more than 3.3 minutes here.
+Yifat Cohen while their methodologies may well be flawed, keep in mind that these are AVERAGES.
Looks like I am in the majority with my 2,9. This doesn't surprise me though as most people are looking to push some type of agenda but at a personal level. Why else would we be here?
That's really interesting. I'm sitting at a 1,3. I'm a huge fan of posting to private circles and use it for most of my communication with friends.
We both agree +Alex Schleber that on average most people here spend more than 3.3 minutes. Right?
+Josh Nicholls I would be a huge fan of that too, except none of my "RL" friends are here. (with apologies to my new G+ friends -- you know what I mean...)
+Brian Titus yeah that's true. The majority of my "RL" friends are not quite on board yet but I still use it to send them stuff. I figure eventually they will give in.

I use it a lot with family to share pictures too. They don't use it much but at least they get to see the pictures.

Same disclaimer as +Brian Titus to all my new G+ friends
I've gotten to the point where I hope my "RL" friends don't show up. I'm having so much more fun without them. Now they feel like baggage.
+Yifat Cohen that depends on your definition of "most people here". If you count every user that ever logs in in a given month, then the average could well be that.

You have to assume an 80/20 Principle distribution, which is also recursive. So 20% of users will have 80% of the minutes in the system per month, by recursion, 1% will have about 50% (rounding a bit to keep the math simple).

If we assume 60M U.S. users with any monthly activity (generous), then they would spend a total of 180M minutes if the 3 min average were true. And the top 1% of those would spend about 50% = 90M, divided by 600k users = 150 minutes on average per user per month. That would be 2.5 hours.

If you recurse it one more time, you could get 120k of the top 0.2% or so of users, spending 72M hours, or 600 Minutes (= 10 hours) per user per month.

Do you see how this works? So it could well be that Comscore is off in its estimate, but probably not by an order of magnitude. Let's say the average was really 10 minutes. Would that make you happier about their findings?

That would mean that the 120,000 top active U.S. users use it for 30 hours or more per month in that case. Keep in mind that that sample of the 500 or so people that YOU are following on here may be among the even more active subset of those 120,000. That's actually extremely likely.

But that doesn't mean that the average for the entire system is suddenly going to be 10 hours per month per user.

/cc +Alexander Becker +Max Huijgen
The beauty of recursive math +Alex Schleber — did you lay out that trap on purpose or are you just playing along? ;)
+Alexander Becker no, I honestly wanted to address the concern, since many people had been incredulous at that stat. Did I get anything fundamental about the math wrong?
j/k +Alex Schleber. The math looks kosher and you should spin it off into a post explaining the concept of 80/20 and the value of average numbers.
That would mean that the 120,000 top active U.S. users use it for 30 hours or more per month in that case. Keep in mind that that sample of the 500 or so people that YOU are following on here may be among the even more active subset of those 120,000. That's actually extremely likely.
I´m pretty sure by now that there are no more than 100.000 active users worldwide. Active in the sense that they post more than once a week. Unfortunately there is no way to proof it, but if you look at the number of real followers (so except the sign up SUL) you will see that it maxes out around 50K with a few exceptions going upwards to 100K (a handful).
+Alex Schleber +Alexander Becker +Brian Titus
It's interesting how the SUL list is adding followers pretty linearly.

But something doesn't add up. Look at the "lower echelon" of the SUL, say, the technology group, and the people that are most likely only in that one group; e.g. Lynette Young, Dan Gillmor, Carl Zimmer, and Marshall Kirkpatrick. They are in a similar range of followers 600-900K (maybe a bit more), and seem to be adding followers at about the same rate per day: 4-6K/day.

Yet look at the engagement on their streams. Our own +Max Huijgen with 20K gets the same types of interactions. So who are these people clicking "Add" at the signup screen? Are they really signing up for G+, or are they just clicking through a screen because they bought an Android phone and need a Google account? They surely don't seem to be looking at the people they've circled.

+CircleCount you have a bunch of data, you should be able to figure some stuff out here!
+Brian Titus While I agree that a lot of people add someone just because they are in a shared circle or on the SUL or some other recommendation, what's wrong with that?

On the rare occasions that I add a shared circle, I don't evaluate each person in it first. I just dump them into the stream and then weed them out later. I'm not really "following" them -- that is, I don't hang on their every word, or read their every post. I look at whatever pops up in the stream when I'm online. I can't have a discussion with every person I follow, nor on every post I read.

Not every reader is an engager, nor should we expect them to be. Following is not friending; it's subscribing. And when you're getting started, following strangers is like a trial subscription.

The constant demand for attention is what turned me off of blogging. Once you began interacting with a certain smaller audience, they'd get so offended if they left a comment that you didn't comment back on, or if they left a comment on your blog and you didn't "return the favor" and leave one on theirs.

I can read The New Yorker without writing a letter to the editor each week and no one calls me a lurker.
I can read The New Yorker without writing a letter to the editor each week and no one calls me a lurker.

good point. rethinking...
OK, if we use the SUL as a guide, it seems that Google+ is adding somewhere between 4K and 15K users per day. At least that's how many are clicking "Add" at the SUL screen. What would be interesting to know is to what degree engagement levels are rising on the SUL. It might indicate the rate at which people are turning from subscribers into engagers. Of course, that's flawed too, because people might become engagers, just not on those SUL profiles they first clicked.

Anyway, although I have no data or facts to back it up, I tend to agree with +Max Huijgen re: the number of "active" users.
+Brian Titus I have been trying to get more insight in the system, but Google is blocking access as I posted here
What I wanted to do, but what´s blocked now, is collect data from some of my followers by collecting these lists described there.

I wanted to see if we all had the same people following us or that it were completely different demographics. Not using my profile as I have a limited number of 20K (almost, it seems to be stalling just before that 20k). I will be close to my natural, organic maximum for the kind of posts I make.

The idea was to use lists of my followers as a reasonable number of them are on the SUL, mix this with ´organic´ accounts from other followers and see if these groups were separate or all came from the same pool.

In effect if I have second degree following of about 20+ million (that was the calculation months ago, I guess it´s up to 30 million now) OR is it limited to the number of followers of my largest follower.

A confusing sentence, but rereading it will help and just thinking that it could be that everyone on the SUL could exactly the same group of followers will clarify it.
+M Sinclair Stevens that made me chuckle. I'm with you. In fact I don't spend any time trying to convince people to use the platform. I think great things are self-selected. It is the best way to begin/do anything. It's a more difficult, but possibly a more interesting challenge than FB. When something is first people sign up because there is nothing else and everyone is doing it. Sort of group think. But when choices become available, then people have to start asking themselves who they are, what they want to do, what matters to them individually. That is much more difficult. People have to shift from automatic to manual. I drive a stick shift. Always amazes me how many people don't know how to drive a stick because they assume it's too hard or too much trouble.
+Giselle Minoli said " I think great things are self-selected." I agree with this on so many levels. Engineers can build tools but they are rarely used for the purpose for which they were designed. The users are also innovators.

In response to that reality, I think Google has a throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to product development. This is frustrating for early adopters who get behind a product that Google then drops.
+Giselle Minoli said, "But when choices become available, then people have to start asking themselves who they are, what they want to do, what matters to them individually. That is much more difficult."

When trying to help people sort through all the conflicting advice on how to get the most out of Google+, I find myself over and over trying to get them back to step one: requirements. What do you want to do here? The only right way is the one that suits your needs.

But as you say, there are a lot of people who are not willing to make that effort. They are not introspective. They don't want to use something that forces them to think about who they are and what they want. They want simply to be passively entertained.
PS. I drive a stick shift, too. Some people have said it is because I need to be in control. That might be part of it but I think the real reason is that it helps me focus -- to be attentive and aware. Too many people drive through life on automatic.
Don't get me started on this philosophy - to be or not to be in control, +M Sinclair Stevens. I am a big believer in being in the kind of control that requires personal responsibility. I had a discussion with a man on the airfield not too long ago about the difference between a pilot's license and a sports licence and he wanted a sports license because there is no medical required. I asked him why he wouldn't choose the pilot's licence, which in effect, requires more of him - that he take care of himself and knows the state of his health at all times. He didn't "want to know." Glad I'm not flying with that man. And you are absolutely right about the difference between driving a stick and manual. You have to pay "much more attention because you use both your hands all the time. You can't be texting while you're driving! I don't believe in passivity. It's dangerous.
Folllowing this analogy +Giselle Minoli I would prefer to be the pilot instead of the passenger and on G+ you have a chance to steer things a bit more than on the already established facebook.
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