Google+: The Bridge Between Social Media & Blogging

Editor's Note: This is a collaborative post experiment by +Demian Farnworth,  +Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales, +Matthew Loomis  and +Dustin W. Stout. Our goal was to answer the question "Is Google+ the bridge between blogging and social media? If so, what does that mean?" We each took turns in answering those questions on a private Google+ post. All links are only to other Google+ posts. If this works out well, we may tackle more questions about this social network in the future. Thank you for your time and attention. Enjoy. 

+Demian Farnworth 
Let's start by defining social media. In simplest terms, social media is content created for an audience who the creator invites to interact with the content.

The creator wishes the audience to respond with comments on the social site itself, like or dislike via a simple signal (up or down vote in Reddit, plus one in Google+, like in Facebook, favorite in Twitter), re-share across the social web, or piggyback and build upon the original content via another post on another social site -- not unlike the early days of blogging (http://goo.gl/9itGGp).

If we can agree that this is a fair definition of social media, then it must be also agreed upon that blogs are social media, too -- with a difference.

Blogs, for the most part, are parked on a private, personal domain the content creator owns. For example, thecopybot.com (Demian's personal blog). All other social sites -- and the user generated content -- is parked on a domain owned by a corporation: Facebook, Tumblr, Medium, even Google+.

This is one of the greatest distinctions between blogs and other social media. And it introduces an idea known as digital sharecropping: creating content on someone else's domain. We'll revisit the problems with this approach later.  

Given this definition,  then we have to ask the question about our original thesis: is Google+ the bridge between blogging and social media? If so, how?

+Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales  
I was trying to look for a way to really distinguish the difference between social media and blogging, and I am thrilled with the definition provided.

A small disclaimer, I have been an active Google Plusser for a whopping 2 weeks now (at the urging of my boss) so my observations and ideas are based on a relatively small amount of data and what we discuss at PID (Portland Internet Design).

I came to the conclusion that Google+ is the bridge between social media and blogging after first realizing that it doesn't fit squarely into either the Social Media or the Blogging category.

Google+ fits the description of Social Media perfectly, but it provides something more, something that I think is what gives blogging its value: Authorship.

Now, through Google+ not only do we get the Social aspect of resharing our content on our Blog, but we get the blogging aspect of receiving credit, if you will, for that quality content.

So while it fits the Social Media criteria of being "on a domain owned by a corporation," being a productive member of Google+ relies on you.

I was told with Google+ "you are the only variable that makes it work or not." I don't think that's applicable to any other Social Media platform out there, but it is one hundred percent true for any Blog.

However, I think there is still a question that needs to be addressed: Why is Google+ a BRIDGE and not a SOLUTION to Blogging? Why haven't we all ditched our blogs for Google+?

+Matthew Loomis  
One reason why we have not all ditched our blog platforms and set up shop here on Google+ is because there currently is not a way to monetize a blog on G+. 

This is especially true with B2C bloggers who want to sell a product online. There is no ability to create a product page that funnels prospects to get them to buy your product. No way to set up for credit card transactions.

Granted, the lack of ads on G+ would be beneficial for B2C blogs since visitors would not be distracted away from the product, but still, without these needed tools, G+ is a long way from providing blog monetization. 

Now for those who are interested in blogging not as a direct source of revenue, but instead as a means to drive traffic to blog real estate you own, Google+ can work effectively.

+Mike Elgan is one of the best examples, and a frequent proponent of using G+ as your complete blogging platform. But as +Demian Farnworth has pointed out, there are drawbacks to doing this. Not only do you not own the real estate as a G+ blogger, but you currently cannot set up your own unique domain name for your blog. 

How easy would it be to get folks to visit a domain like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100996085777307578024/posts

Not a sexy domain, to say the least. 

So, the fact that Google+ hangs in limbo between blogging for fun or self promotion and blogging for money, not quite fully on either side, actually helps solidify its position as the bridge between blogging and social media.

+Dustin W. Stout 
Google+ is more than a bridge, it's social+. There's no way it could be a viable blogging alternative for many of the reasons +Matthew Loomis already stated. However, as far as social media is concerned, it is much, much more. 

Social media, as we think of it by channel -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on -- are all individual channels. Google+ on the other hand has the versatility of several channels. Thanks to Hangouts and heavy YouTube integration, along with other Google Apps (Gmail, Drive, Play store, etc.) it is as if all possible social mediums have converged into one solitary network. 

In other words, one channel to rule them all

With the tools available in Google+, we have the opportunity to distribute our blog content in more innovative and engaging ways than ever. Rich media, video broadcasting, meme creation, and so much more is made available through this one platform making the other channels pale in comparison. 

Not to mention-- this channel has obvious, and nearly immediate SEO benefits (http://goo.gl/wJQwXi). 

The innovative potential is on a whole new level. Most people don't understand it because it's ahead of the curve, and the norm has become comfortable. 

So is Google+ bridging the gap? Sure. But it's bridging a gap with a super-highway to the next level of creative social media distribution. 

So, reader, help us out: Do you think Google+ is the bridge between social media and blogging? If so, how? Share your thoughts, brutal and all.

#socialmedia   #blogging    #evang+  
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