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An excellent read by my good friend +Jens Graikowski!!! Its a bit lengthy, but worth every character to read :)
 
how i found my place at G+ ...
and how i get exactly what i want out of the platform ...

» ϟ#@!!%, it doesn't work ...
i bet there are many of you out there right now who think that #googleplus is a #ghosttown ... most of the time that is, because you don't seem to get anything (or very little) out of the platform ... you write posts, re-share those of others, find funny pictures on the internet, engage and do all the other things you read in various #guides and how-to-be-successful-on-google+ #tutorials you can find all over the internet and G+ itself ... still, you might as well write a diary that you only read yourself, for all the response you get from the community for your efforts ... you don't understand it and envy those who seem to effortlessly collect tens of thousand of followers and get 100 comments and 200 +1s per post ... you might be at a point where you feel like quitting G+ for good and heading back to the other large social network ... don't give up just as yet! ...

» you are not alone ...
i was at the same point you are now ... my +CircleCount stats used to look like this ...

0 comments per posting
0 reshares per posting
1 +1's per posting
(those numbers are from before february)

now they look like this ...

11 comments per posting
1 reshares per posting
6 +1's per posting
(those numbers are from the 18/04/2012)

i've learned how to get exactly what i want out of G+ and i'm sure that you can do that too ... but please don't expect a tutorial that will guide you through all the steps ... i don't have one ... the articles and posts i have collected under the unique hashtag #jgguides might be of some help, but in the end there is only one way that'll work for you ... your way! ...

i've been wanting to write this post for a long time and never had the balls to do so ... why now? ...

» everybody is an expert for what is best for him ...
i just read a post by +Visnja Zeljeznjak explaining that many people feel they don't have the expertise to write about something and therefore choose not to (http://bit.ly/HRHBQ0) ... even people who are generally considered experts in their field sometimes feel like that, as this article by +Scott Hanselman (former professor, now speaker, consultant and microsoft employee) shows (http://bit.ly/HRHxzP) ... i'm one of those too ... not one of the experts ... one of those who feel inadequate ...

i'm no #expert for G+, but i am an expert in how to make G+ work for me ... nobody knows that better than i do, because i'm the only one who knows exactly what i want to get out of the network ... i won't tell you, what you have to do to make G+ work for you, but maybe you will benefit from me telling my story and that is why i decided to write this post now ...

» this is my story ...
the post will be divided into sections as follows:
how it all started | i needed a break | what i was doing then | what i'm doing now ...

how it all started ...
obviously, when i first came to G+ i didn't know at all what to expect ... it was invite-only then and i got my invitation from an old friend of mine by the name of +Lars Mueller with whom i stay in contact via facebook ... he couldn't tell me anything about the then brand-new platform either, because he is a busy man and hadn't had the time yet to get into it ... i was then becoming increasingly annoyed with facebook and decided to give G+ a try ...

i read everything i could find about how to start and wasn't afraid to ask for help either ... i quickly got the hang of #hangouts (no pun intended) and found incredibly helpful people there ... i gained more followers in the first 2-3 months on G+, than i collected on facebook in two years! ... i was quite happy for some time, but then i fell into the ghost town hole ...

i needed a break ...
for all i posted on G+, the response was rather poor ... nobody seemed to be interested in what i was writing ... it seemed to me, like i was the only one who was reading my posts ... i fell into a G+ crisis ... my fall was made all the more terrible by the fact that i had been so enthusiastic about the platform before ... i had to do something or i'd quit G+ for good ...

i took a leave of absence ... i wanted to find out first, if i'd miss it and i really needed to reorder my thoughts, rethink my approach ... i was obviously doing something wrong ... the posts of others were read and interacted with here, so there was no reason, why mine shouldn't be ... i'm not one of those who start whining huuaah ... G+ is a ghost town because i don't get interaction ... if others are successful it means that i am doing something wrong! ... even if of the more than 100.000.000 G+ members there'd be only one person who got response to his posts, that would be enough for me ... that would mean, that the other 99.999.999 (incl. me) were doing it wrong ...

what i was doing then ...
so, first i analysed, what i was currently doing ...

▶ posting: i realised, that i was all over the place with my posts ... you see, i tried to please as many people as possible with my ramblings ... i wanted (no, i needed) to be accepted by the #community ... i spend hours on the internet, searching for articles, that i thought might interest the people here ... i posted 4-5 (or even more) times a day, every posts about another subject and usually all together ... i took the advise of some successful peeps here and always added my own take on the story, but that didn't seem to make any difference either ... so, i read through my own stream and tried to figure out, what it would look like to somebody else and if that person would find it worth reading ...

and it wasn't! ... i put myself in somebody else's shoes and realised, that because of me writing about so many subjects, there was too much noise ... sure, if somebody was interested in G+ related subjects, he'd get at least one post a day on that from me, but he'd also get at least 3-4 posts that wouldn't interest him ... also most subjects i wrote about were not what i was interested in or knowledgeable about ... they were what i thought the community would be interested in ... i added my own opinions to the article, but they were not usually based on any expertise ...

i realised that i added a lot of needless noise to the streams of my followers, further "improved" by my senseless babbling ... i'm surprised some stuck with me as long as the did! ...

▶ interaction: all this posting had a negative side effect too ... i didn't have time anymore to read through my own stream, which meant i rarely interacted with the posts of others and my own enjoyment of G+ was greatly diminished ...

▶ circling: i had a V.I.P. circle (the one i read daily) of more than 250 peeps ... who is supposed to follow that many? ... dunbar's number suggests that it's viable to maintain between 100 and 230 stable social relationships, with a commonly used value of 150 [sourse: wikipedia http://bit.ly/J41BIZ] ... i also had other subject based circles i would've liked to follow,but there was no time for that ... i could hardly keep up with my important one ...

what i'm doing now ...
i did a 180° turn ...

▶ circling: first i did some spring cleaning in my circles ... i sacked quite a few people completely (and lost some good ones accidentally), but the most important step was, to reduce my V.I.P. circle ... i now maintain it constantly under 100 ... with the sliders of some other circles set to minimum i still get the posts of about 150 peeps in my daily stream ...

second i decided to care less about my "success" and more about what i wanted to get out of the network ... i decided to make G+ more enjoyable for me rather than try and make it enjoyable for my followers ... as bill cosby said ...

i don't know the recipe for success, but the recipe for failure is trying to please everybody ...

▶ posting: so, i reduced the number of my daily posts by at least half ... i decided to write about what i am interested in and only that ... i still write some posts about G+ (because i still love it), but generally i leave that to much more knowledgeable peeps like +Denis Labelle +Rahul Roy +Shamil Weerakoon and others ... i now write mainly about #formula1 , a subject that is a passion of mine, but which i completely neglected before ... i like cooking, sci-fi and fantasy movies and book, gadgets and future technology so i add the occasional posts about those subjects too, but all in small measures ... my followers now find far less noise in my stream ... they now know, what to expect from me ... also, because i'm now writing what interests me most and what i'm reasonably knowledgeable about, i increasingly enjoy joining in discussions about my posts and i can make informed comments ...

▶ interaction: because of my reduced posting i suddenly found myself with some spare time on my hands ... i'm using that now to read through my own stream ... due to the fact, that the size of that is reduced significantly too, i can spend more attention on each post and i have time to write some comments and even get into lengthier discussions if i feel so inclined ... the effect was, that i began to enjoy G+ much more again and with that interaction i suddenly seemed to catch the attention of my peers and people started to interact more with me too ... i noticed a surge in my follower count too ... i found myself in some well curated shared circles and collected followers who are really interested in what i have to say and interact with me ...

» summary ...
i found my place at G+ ... sometimes less is more ... less posting, less following, that was the recipe for me ... quality over quantity ... i'm now having interesting discussions about what i post with my fellow plussers ... one of my posts reached more than 100 comments the other day and all of them meaningful and inspiring ... even if you just go by stats and numbers people interact far more with me now ... regarding my followers i now attract more people who are interested in what i have to say ... less in total maybe, granted, but more relevant ones ...

as you can see, just like bill cosby i don't have the recipe for success either, but what i do now works for me ... you will have to find your own way, but maybe this post helped you a bit ... thank you for reading it! ... please fell free to let me know your take on it and of course share it on! ... my ramblings might be of benefit for some of your followers, who would otherwise miss it ...

greez,
+Jens Graikowski ...

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