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The great migration to Google plus

Last Saturday, tech pioneer and Digg founder +Kevin Rose announced he would be moving his online presence from his blog to Google plus (https://plus.google.com/110318982509514011806/posts/ZoUX52aowxy).

Yesterday IdeaLab founder +Bill Gross followed suit (https://plus.google.com/100612175927429294541/posts/4Js65fAiYZW).

To say this has gotten a bit of attention would be an understatement. Actually, to say it has caused a shitstorm would be an understatement!

Yesterday MySpace founder +Tom Anderson published an article on Techcrunch titled How to build an audience on the internet: the Kevin Rose school vs. the Fred Wilson school (http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/11/how-to-build-an-audience-on-the-internet-the-kevin-rose-school-vs-the-fred-wilson-school/).

I want to highlight a few of the things Tom said in that article:

“Where to host your content is a tricky issue. When blogging started to become a serious endeavor and Internet folks realized they could amass their own audiences, they naturally assumed it was important to own their domain, control their distribution list, maintain the links that have been built up to their content, or in summary, control their own destiny.”

“That model of posting everything on your own domain might have worked in the earlier days of the Internet. But who is so interesting that they can get a large enough audience to keep a bookmark and check their website? Technorati doesn’t show a single personal blog in the top 100.”

“… more than anything, I think, you need to remain flexible and pay attention to how the Internet is evolving.”

Also yesterday, +Christopher Mims published an article in the MIT Technology review which was even more provocative than Tom's: Google+ marks the end of blogging as a means of personal expression (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/26986/?ref=rss).

Christopher points to +Kevin Rose and +Bill Gross as first-movers in a mass movement to abandon blogs:

“…the speed with which bloggers who have spent years building a presence on the web, accumulating credibility with search engines, etc., made the switch to a platform they don't really control, shows that blogs themselves have outgrown their original purpose.”

Like Tom, Chris sees the move to G+ as a great blog exodus, leaving ghost towns behind.

“With social networks competing for our attention, personal blogs that didn't professionalize -- turning into miniature versions of the publishing behemoths they were intended to overturn in the first place, completing a dance of mutual co-option -- simply became ghost towns.

No visitors means no comments, and without engagement, what's the point of sharing your thoughts with the world?

Hence, the exodous to Google+…”

These ideas were echoed in a more personal conversation I had yesterday here on G+ (https://plus.google.com/113173288673338357626/posts/JPzPsqKQ6s9) where a group of friends in a circle I would loosely call “knowledge management/learning/collaboration” or maybe “social business” debated the pros and cons of G+ as a collaboration tool.

Again the key question of place came up. Where to post your information, on your blog, here on G+ or somewhere else?

I’m with Tom, Christopher, Kevin and Bill on this one. Since I first joined G+ on June 30 I’ve been posting a lot of thoughts, mostly on the topic of G+. At first I posted them here because G+ was in limited field trial, and I didn’t want to post a lot of things on my blog if nobody would be able to get in to see what I was talking about.

But I was quickly amazed at the level of engagement and conversation I was seeing here on G+. It simply blows away anything I’ve seen anywhere else.

A great migration

What I think we are seeing is something similar to the great migration from farms to cities that happened during the industrial revolution: Blogs, in a way, are like farms: Every farmer is a business person, producing goods and selling them to a market. Bloggers are also producers: they produce content, information, ideas, sparks for the imagination. You have a lot of control with a blog, but like a farm, it also takes a lot of work to maintain it, and a blog is only worthwhile if people are consuming what you produce.

People migrated from farms to cities because that was where the action was. The increased density of cities lowers transaction costs, increases the number of connections and interactions, and creates a huge amount of opportunities for people. As Stephen B. Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come from and Santa Fe Institute physicist Geoffrey West have both pointed out, city populations become more productive as they increase in size and density.

G+ is a city, plain and simple. Like Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and many that came before, G+ is a densely-packed community that increases the opportunities and productivity of its population.

If you consider your career, I think you will find that your career path is inseparable from the social networks that made it possible. At each step, people recommend you, offer up ideas and opportunities, keep you in mind for future reference, and so on. Entrepreneurs like me always have a circle in their heads called “people I would start a company with” (Note to self: make that new circle on G+ :).

What is happening here on G+ is that the density of people and ideas is creating that innovation energy that you see in the world’s top cities. Michael Dell, Kevin Rose and others are opening G+ hangouts that are open to the first 9 people who see them and jump on. Newt Gingrich is doing the same thing. Just like a big city, there’s a level of access and engagement here you can’t get anywhere else.
Tom Anderson commented on one of my G+ posts the other day. Was he going to find my blog on a random search and comment on one of my posts there? Possible but doubtful.

Yes there are some big inconveniences here. G+ is new and they are still working out a lot of kinks. If you want to link to things it’s a bit of work. It’s hard to bookmark things for later. It’s a hectic, continuous stream, like a busy street in New York city. Like any big city, the level of noise is high and the inconveniences are significant. But the flip side of that coin is the serendipitous connections, the conversations, the sparks and yes, the tremendous opportunities for personal and professional growth.

I haven’t decided to abandon my blogs yet. But for now I am having my conversations here on G+ where I can participate in that magical energy and flow you can only get in a rich urban environment. At the same time I am going to be careful about encouraging friends and family to join G+. This city is still a bit raw, like San Francisco during the gold rush. It’s a noisy, boisterous town in high growth mode, lacking a lot of modern conveniences that characterize more established metropolises. Facebook is still a lot safer and G+, in my opinion, isn’t quite ready for the mainstream yet. But it will be. And if G+ can keep its promise of being an open city, where I can pull in streams from other places (Flickr and Wordpress blogs for example), then it’s going to be one of the most killer cities on the web.

What’s your opinion? Are you going to kill your blog and move your conversations here? Or do you feel that G+ isn’t ready for prime time yet? would love to hear your thoughts!
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45 comments
 
Not going to kill my blog but could be convinced otherwise if Google+ adds more blogging friendly options here. Another option would be some sort of Google+ / blog integration (via a comments plugin/service, as one example).
 
Not killing my blog, it is where I go that isn't distracting and synthesize what I'm learning.
 
I haven't killed my blogs yet but I haven't posted anything to any of them since I joined G+. The level of engagement here is astounding.
 
I'm not going to kill my blogs. But Google+ does provide a platform for me to blog about new spheres of interest without having to set up a new blog.

The commenting experience here is great. I had recently turned commenting completely off in one blog because I was tired of moderating spam. The fact that we are already signed in here, with our reputations on the line, encourages engaged commenting. All the sign in and Captcha stuff discourages commenting on blogs.

I may take the next step of turning off commenting on all my blogs and linking just using +1
 
+Dave Gray I have posted - the last week about Google + but decided to use the engagement and energy to generate and evolve thinking. Maybe the culture here on Google + will evolve to verbal, group think and we will loose the ability to work in solitude ...:-) Oh, look - an interesting conversation thread just popped up .. gotta go chase it
 
+Dave Gray very intrigued by what you've written here. I've got an online space for my "social media hack" writing and then have had a personal journal through various iterations and on a few different platforms over the years. Right now my personal is on wordpress.com - and I'm really intrigued with the idea of packing that one in and pointing folks to my Posts feed on G+. It looks like "Public" posts at least can be seen by anyone whether they're on the service or not, so that's a huge plus for me.
 
I think I'd like to do here what I do elsewhere. Blog once, point everywhere. Until G+ has feed reading capabilities its all moot, IMHO. G+ will never be my sole universe, just like none of the others are.
 
I have a Wordpress install on my site, but my posts are effectively images in a gallery, but I may add a 'Blog' tab to my site and point it to my Profile/Posts to see what kind of interest it gets.
 
Never had a blog (besides a few half-hearted attempts).
I never could like tumblr/blogspot/posterous well enough, wp was too banal, so I hosted my own on the app engine :D
But the lack of response you get just trowing a blog out there, I just wasn't motivated enough to stick to writing.
Maybe g+ will catalyze what few writing neurons are still lying around in my brain and I will finally make a proper one.

Comment management is an hassle everywhere but here. Interesting metaphor, g+ as a city is really fitting!

Increased big names chance encounter probability: everyone here has been dropped on a clean slate, bridging the twitter follower concept to facebook-like advanced privacy produced a new social behavior which encourages to look farther than your own usual circle.

Twitter feels like shouting at running people, facebook feels like a private hangout, just you and your close friends and g+ feels like a free buffet where you get to know interesting people in a relaxed environment, with no pressure or distrust (free food (= free new social network toy) might be helping everyone feel good).
 
I agree that a tighter integration of Google+ and Blogger will be great. However I think that Google+ (in its current form) cannot replace the blogging software. For personal blogs or simple blogs - maybe, but many designers, developers and professional bloggers use complex custom themes, additional JavaScript widgets, etc. And I don't think that such freedom will be possible in Google+. I'm not even sure if it's desirable, because I still remember the nightmare that MySpace turned into with the custom themes. I hope Google will not do the same mistake. Also, +Dave Gray, I think that this post is a good example that the Google+ interface is not intended for long reads. No offense, it's just my personal opinion. But this is the longest post I've seen on Google+ so far. :-)
 
+Ignat Ignatov yes it was long, but you read it! I agree the interface is better suited for short bursts. But I don't think that's a bad thing. +Claudia Doppioslash Here's hoping those neurons start firing again :). +Beth Kanter I like the idea of a blog as a quiet space. I could have easily said "garden" instead of "farm." A blog is in many ways like a personal garden.

I agree with the comments about how much easier it is to comment here. I think there will be less trolling too since you have more control over your network.
 
+Dave Gray I disagree with part of your statement: "G+ is a densely-packed community that increases the opportunities and productivity of its population"...specifically, the "increases productivity" part. :-)
 
+Dave Malouf G+ will never be my sole universe either, but if they do a good job opening up APIs it could be my sole dashboard. That is my hope.
 
I would use G+ as a 'blog' if it had better editing (let's see that Google Docs innovation put to work!). I'd love to use multiple inline images, better text/link formatting and various other rich-content editing tools.
 
+Shaun Scovil I agree if you look at it in the short term :)

But long-term opportunities often come from short-term idleness!
 
+Tom Bielecki I want those things too. At least the ability to add an html link to a post.
 
I think G+ is a very flexible platform for just about anything social this includes blogging. Too me, sparks is very important If they used sparks/google search to light up posts, then we'll see 100x more interaction we see now. If they add reviews, events, and anything local, OMG then they have really done something great here. Just imagine.
 
Hey +Dave Gray did you ever use FriendFeed? Very similar to G+, but it didn't ultimately "make it". I'm exploring where G+ leaves FriendFeed behind.
 
+Hutch Carpenter I used FriendFeed but only somewhat peripherally. I was never a really active user.
 
G+ is also a great platform for creatives to showcase their work, the album thumbnail layout looks great. I can see using G+ as a dashboard where I can push out content to other social networks, I installed a chrome extension that allows me to do that, but it isn't perfect, hoping Google makes that sharing function part of G+.
 
I'll admit, playing around here has taken some time away from my blog (where's that post!?) but I don't see myself deserting it anytime soon

Then there's the whole question of content ownership.
 
+Dave Gray Well, actually scanned would be a better definition of what I did. The small font and the narrow format makes the reading of such long posts too hard IMHO. Even if the content is interesting.

However there's actually a bigger problem. When I saw the picture I was ready to reshare it right away. But when I expanded it the decision not to do it was instant. :-) I'm sure that most of my contact will move me to the circle Spammers if I reshared it - the circle that people read only when they're totally bored. And I don't want to go there. ;-)

On the other side I saw many posts with funny picture, 1-2 sentences and a link to have hundreds of reshares. It's basically a domino effect - if it's fun and easy to read -> Share. That's why IMHO someone could have much bigger success if combine Google+ and a blogging platform - get the attention with a funny pic and few catchy phrases and resend the readers to a platform optimized for reading.
 
+Dave Gray Totally! And when the direct links to posts are opened they are in full screen much easier to read. I saw it before but didn't realized the effect until now - that actually works pretty well for long posts. :-)
 
Desculpem a participação em outro idioma. Creio que o que se encontra aqui no G+ em termos de englobar funcionalidades possibilita gerar novos formatos. O modelo de blog (já mantive três por cerca de quatro anos) terá outras características adaptas ou novas, mas, certamente tem um bom caminho aqui.
 
I will live in G+ city and spend the summers in Twitter. I will occasionally go back home to visit family (on Facebook)
 
+Ignat Ignatov Eases the "Expand this post" clicking fatigue, and by stealing away the post to its own browser tab solves the Anxiety Inducing Stream Pushdown Effect, that is when new posts are appearing on top of the stream pushing down the one you're reading, interrupting you and dropping on you the reality of time passing, reducing your attention span to 3 secs.
 
I've been testing shutting down my blog (theFrontSteps.com) for quite some time. Tried just doing short tweets, then Facebook, and I'm seriously considering shutting All of those channels down and posting exclusively on G+.
 
When you control the platform, you can offer categories, posts with similar themes or tags. all things I'm missing when reading this post in full-screen mode. Instead, I have to do the digging myself and G+ is not there yet to find relevant information quickly.

Who is the art from?
 
I did the art myself Olivier
 
Congratulations, I like it a lot :)
 
One of the things that irk me about social media activity streams like Google+ and Facebook is the temporality of it all. Sure it is nice to be able to group people into Circles, and if Google+ lets you pull feeds from Twitter and Facebook as +Dave Malouf suggests above, it would be fabulous, but as time passes, you lose all that good knowledge below the More/Older Posts button, or if they adopt the Facebook/Quora popularity model, which pins up more active or higher rated posts, I fear that you will miss out on what some interesting new person has to say.

I saw a lot of products at Enterprise Search Summit that placed a very high focus and lots of real estate to activity streams, either Q&A type forums that allow employees to ask the crowd questions or seek talent, or like LinkedIn and Facebook, where anything you do in the system is broadcast to all users. Yes it is engaging. Yes you get a lot of interesting even fabulous discourse. But man does it seem like such a distraction!

But it is not just a matter of being able to expand/collapse or ignore a person by switching which circle you are viewing. Another thing that you lose outside the blog format is a person's unique categorization scheme and mental model. This is particulary valuable as a recruiter. If I am hiring I can look at a person's unique blog to get a sense of what makes that person tick. +Dave Gray 's art aside, this forum is a bit bland for my taste. (Twitter on the other hand is great b/c you can jazz up the graphic design to your personal taste - and still point to your blog posts.) And that's the other thing. How many Facebook or Google+ posts get people to your Product and Services page on your (or your company's) website? It seems you're sacrificing some marketing traffic for the feel good of conversation.

Maybe I'm just too much of a librarian and need to have my files in neatly organized folders, or too individual minded to move to a sterile system where, except for our avatars, we all look alike (can we get some Twitteresque backgrounds here). I mean, I just spent a few hours today consolidating a few old blogs of my own so I can get back to writing for myself again. I don't think I'm ready to get lost below the More button. And I'm still going to visit all your blogs.
Dan Zen
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Well written and a neat analogy but it sort of falls apart because farmers produce food - and when we come into the city, we probably do not produce. So when you leave blogs to come to social media, you tend not to write articles with paragraphs, etc. but rather smaller posts. We had notes on facebook and I never got the feeling they caught on. You have done well with a long post here but as others may have mentioned, it will probably go away soon whereas blogs are currently better archived.

So it seems a matter of levels or depth - we have a book, a journal, a post and a status (probably left out some levels) and as farmers still feed us, bloggers can still offer nourishment to the socialites. Even that analogy breaks down if you just say - well let's put our farms in the city - this is virtual after all... and perhaps that is what you are getting at.

With respect to community - yeh - that has been tough for bloggers. I always felt bad when things get reposted and comments are going on on various walls, etc. and yet the original post loses out. I know we can't declare a social etiquette - always comment on the original post because people care perhaps who sees their comments and may also care whose comments they see. Integrating facebook comments with blog posts was quite an revealing experiment.

Anyway - bla bla bla - my wife is waiting!



WebRep
Overall rating
 
+Ignat Ignatov well the results of our little experiment are in. It looks like most people are happy to share long-form posts with their streams.

The long-form post was shared far more times (44 shares vs. 16 shares for the short-form post). But they were pretty even on garnering comments (37 on the long-form post, 32 on the short-form post). Long-form got four times as many +1's (45, vs. 11 for the short form). So it seems that long-form wins on the numbers.

If you look at the word count the comments on the long-form post are much wordier: 2678 words (long form post) vs 1690 words (short form post). So it seems the short-form post encourages shorter comments than the long-form post.
 
Great migration? Industrial revolution? Farms and gold rush? As if blogs established over 10-15 years represent a real, valuable producer economy? Everyone's been migrating inside the big corporate intra-Microyahooglefacenet for a long time, in order to work there for free. (It's cheaper than building your own site and apps to spread your braindroppings.)

People who want the biggest possible audience, especially those who aren't able to generate it themselves on their own merit, will prefer social media, sure. So will those who are popular but have no business sense or no interest in profiting from what they publish. But some people don't want a big audience -- even within social media -- and lots of serious "content producers" (or their businesses) want to retain control and maximum profit which they might feel is better served by staying off of Google's corporate intranet.

But there are other, better reasons that have to do with technical and economic efficiency that explain why the "self-hosted" web of today will probably end up with most of its hobbyists, individuals and small businesses running entirely out of the Google intranet. Maybe Google will end up selling more conventional hosting -- a virtual server environment -- to the rest too. I am pretty sure the big shared hosting ghetto will migrate to free or cheap hosted applications and social media just because it's better on the user experience, cheaper to operate, and more secure.

Those left behind in the previously popular self-hosted ghetto will be the lower-level spammers and fraudsters, cranks, and non-geek cyberlibertarians, but they may get dumped not just because they present a problem for their hosts and everyone else (mainly for by being insecure sources of zombie spam and phishing), but because a lot of hosts are going to increase their prices and services when their business model ceases to be giving everyone an oversold chunk of a shared server with too much access to web/mail/database functions.
 
在中国国内的各种的社交网络中,QQ是其中的优秀者,但,比之真正的创造,还是有着不如。
 
I already blog(ged) on G(eo)+Cities ツav
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeoCities

I was blogging on Tumblr http://avichr.tumblr.com/ and liked it mainly because of the excellent sharing bookmarklet. Blogging in Ning http://socialfuturemedia.ning.com/ never worked for me – although I am consulting clients how to use Ning.
http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-alternatives-to-Ning/answer/Andreas-Vichr

But already since the beginning of the private launch of G+ I realized that Google+ is the better (micro)blogging platform for me. So http://profiles.google.com/vichrarchiv IS my new blog. Tumblr is sleeping for me … zzzzzzzzz. Maybe this changes when there is a publishing link from Tumblr to G+ (hopefully soon).
 
Dave, can you share that circle you described as people roughly interested in “knowledge management/learning/collaboration"?
 
G+ has become my primary sharing environment and I'm about to enable it for a Google Apps domain of about 10 people.
 
+Don Burke I don't intend to share that circle but I have added you to it.
 
HOLY CRAP! EVERY THING HERE IS IN CARTOON FORM AND EVERY ONE TALKS ABOUT IT LIKE ITS REALLY IMPORTANT! HOLY CRAP!
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