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Why being circled by 100,000 people is a big deal.

I just passed the 100,000 mark for the total number of people who have me in their circles.

It's not a competition, but that number ranks me as the roughly 144th most-circled user on Google+, right after +William Shatner (who's own circle count is boldly going up fast).

The reason this is significant, is that Google+ itself is my "platform." Let me explain.

Most of the circling activity on social networks among the most circled, friended or followed users is driven by "platform" -- the place that a person is associated with and which drives traffic to the person's presence on any given social network.

Platform is the central attribute in the content racket.

If you're a great writer and approach the major publishing houses with an amazing book idea, the first thing they want to know is: What's your platform? If you don't have one, you almost certainly won't get a book deal.

However, if you're Snooki, you can easily get a book deal because appearing on a TV reality show is a great platform.

Platform also drives social networking numbers. For example, Google+'s number-one user, +Britney Spears, is an international superstar and a household name. She's on TV all the time. Her music career is the platform that drove her to the top spot on Google+. Google is CEO +Larry Page's platform. +Tyra Banks has a long modeling career and a TV show. And so on.

This is all pretty normal and expected. And it's the reason why social network top-user lists are eventually populated by celebrities -- actors and singers have the most powerful platforms for driving fans to the social networks, where they circle, friend or follow.

What's miraculous and interesting about my followership is that Google+ IS my platform.

Yes, I write a lot of columns and blog posts, and drive some small amount of traffic from those posts to my Google+ profile, where some people circle me.

However, most of the traffic goes in the other direction. My Google+ posts that link to columns I write drive huge traffic and readership to those articles.

When I had a real job (I edited Windows Magazine in the 1990s), that magazine was my platform. I could mention my newsletter in a column and gain 15,000 new subscribers in a single month.

But when I decided to become an independent writer, I gained freedom and independence, but lost platform.

I still had a newsletter and several blogs, and have been on all the major social networks. But because I spread myself thinly across many media, I had been essentially platformless.

When Google+ came along, I decided as an experiment to replace my newsletter, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and everything else with Google+.

My intent was to simplify my life. But what I've discovered is that Google+ can be a powerful platform in its own right.

For example, when I'm introduced on +TWiT, host +Leo Laporte sometimes introduces me as "Mike Elgan from Google+." Leo is instinctively recognizing my true platform.

So that's why being circled by 100,000 people in only five months is such a big deal. Almost all of this community has been grown "organically," rather than being driven from external "platforms" as it is for most of the six-digit circle people.

And I've proved that Google+ itself is a powerful platform in its own right. You don't need a show, a movie deal, a book contract or a marketing department to build a social community and drive big traffic to your content.

You just need to embrace Google+ with all you've got, go big, stay active, post exclusive ideas and information and above all constantly learn from your community.

So thank you to all 100k of you who circled me! And for those who are looking for a platform of your own, well, I'm here to tell you that you've already got one. : )
Vanessa Ching's profile photoDaniel Harrington's profile photoMerin Fraser's profile photoAlison lapoint's profile photo
Congratulations Mike! And here I was thinking passing 5k was a big deal ;)
I have been circled by 49 people... I don't think I'm going to catch up to you!
Kevin S
I'm close to 50... stoked!
Congratulations, Mr. Celebrity.
I want to be like Mike!

Good work mike - we'll wait for your next boast at 200k
Excellent. I'd never considered audience as platform.
Congrats mike. Be happy aslong yo don´t have 100 000 in your own circles :D
Some people think it doesn't matter how many friend, follow, or circle you... but it does have it's benefits! Your megaphone is bigger than most! Congrats!
i'm not quite sure how you do it +Mike Elgan, perhaps it's your sincerity or frankness; but you never come across as snide or condescending or even bragging. That is why I follow you and have left some of the other "big names" behind.

Thanks for being genuine.
Congrats Mike. So you're the Snooki of G+
I know the Feeling... ;) Welcome to the 6 digit club!
Mike Congratulations. You are really working hard.
Congratulations +Mike Elgan, proving once again that almost any platform can work if you work at it.
at close to 13000 I am catching up. ;) Most of the other high rollers I could care less about, but I follow your posts frequently +Mike Elgan :)
+Mike Elgan , i un-circle too often if i found it's not worth keeping. So keep up your good job :D
You sir have interesting post and that is why I have you in my circle. Congratulations on the 100k bench mark and keep up the good work.
It's much better that you've hit 100,000 by giving people information, than by doing it for being a ditzy slut :P
I need to be a better / more creative / prolific writer. I've only got about 30 that have circled me :D
nice work, Mike, and tasteful use of the split infinitive
I wish I knew your secret hehe. Maybe in another 10 years, I can do the same? Great concept, isn't it?
Congratulations, +Mike Elgan not only for the 100000 followers, but for the reason you consider it is important.

In a way, the fact that you give the explanation (which I agree makes a difference with other 100ker's) is why you have this follower. That, and the rest of your posts, of course.
Congratulations and thank you for being constant and always posting interesting stuff.
Despite having a huge following, you still engage with your fans.. which is rare from any other user with 100k.. so you're alright in my book, +Mike Elgan.
+Mike Elgan I totally get what you are saying. I guess we are both in the same shoes. I use Google+ as my platform to disseminate information to people. When i got in here, i was just a black kid from Africa who knew nobody today, i have about 630 people following me, and not only that, i feel like people are listening to me and are waiting to hear what i have to say. Perhaps, maybe that's why i am such a Google+ fan. BTW, i am still waiting for you to add me to your!!!
This is really great that you are reaching such a big milestone. +Mike Elgan it has been a pleasure reading you over these last 5 months!
After reading this post, I can understand why you have been added to 100k circles. I will not hold your prior Windows Magazine affiliation against you as you obviously know how to do what you do. I just broke 100 circles and am looking forward to gaining a better understanding of this "platform". The recommendation to circle you was a great start.
+Mike Elgan Thank goodness for people like you that write informative posts and likes to share with us, that is what makes you stand out among others. Congrats on the big number and may you keep on growing. I agree with you about following the stars because they are famous. It's too bad really because there is so much more to share. May the common man win!
Mike, you are no Wm Shatner (but who is???). My thanks for getting me hooked up with +Google. It's been a fun ride so far.
Mike, you're easily the most consistently awesome contributor in my Circles.
Here's to 200,000!!! :D
+Mike Elgan Your posts are good, and get other people started in discussions. Like a good talk-show host, you're the catalyst to get other people talking. Unlike some who might want the spotlight on themselves.
Congrats +Mike Elgan I was particularly delighted to read about you growing your fanbase 'organically'.

In an age when every scam artist is selling their version of get rich quick as some form of get liked fast, I am pleased to meet someone genuine. I have also moved platforms (not in your league, though) and decided to only go for genuine growth (though I have worked out how to "game the system"). So well done on this great milestone, and I hope to see you oust Britney one day (who really has nothing significant to say to people like me)
How do we found out who is the most circled? Is there a table showing us?
Quem derá ser esses número tivesse na minha conta bancária. hauhauahauahauahua
I disagree about Britney Spears' platform.. It sure wasn't her Music or her Voice.... It was her TITS!
Well Mike, you are 2nd person I circled when I join G+. And now I enjoy G+ more than any of the other social / communication networks.

So I am following slowly in your footsteps :)
Excellent! Congrats, Mike I especially enjoyed reading how Google+ has become your platform. That confirms what I believed to be the strength of G+, it's ability to be "live" yet solid enough to hold substantial content on its own (as opposed to simply links etc.)
Amen. I have made G+ my platform as well and it has helped me tremendously. While I still only have 14% of the amount of circlers you do. It is exponentially higher than I ever had anywhere else.
Put this on Vic's share but it's probably more appropriate here.

Congrats Mike. It's good to see someone be able to use Goolge+ as their primary platform and be able to generate a following like you have. I think for Google+ to succeed its going to continue to need people to see it as their goto place for great engagement so that's where they put their content. I know it has worked for me (at a smaller scale) and I hope it continues to bring successes like this.
Congrats Mike...Got addicted to G+ mainly because of you....Also I thank G+ for getting opportunity to follow people like Mike and others
Good stuff Mike. Makes my 3k seem small. 
What's interesting is that the number of people commenting isn't directly proportionate to the number circling.
+Mike Elgan - Curious to know what percentage of them actively participate & make sensible comments & observations. Sheer number of followers may not mean anything much as has been evident from the no. of people following Zuckerberg who is yet to post anything publicly on g+.

P.S. Must add that I personally enjoy quite a few of your posts.
Google+ is your platform? I never would have guessed! Well, it explains all the Facebook bashing :-P. Keep up the good work, I enjoy your posts. 
Congratulations Mike! Your posts are one of the reasons I love logging in to my G+
Kudos - I am adding you to my circle as well... I hope it helps my friend..Happy Holidays
I just uncircled you, so it's now 99,999. Sorry about that.
Just want to say congrats..
I follow many content producers....many.
But some how, I think I don't read as many posts from one single person as you..
best of luck..
It's sad what the internet had done to me... I keep reading "circle jerked" instead of "circled".
Мир Вам! Вы верите в Бога и в Его Сына Иисуса Христа.
Главное в жизни вера и Христианская любовь, тогда Вы свою жизнь проживёте не напрасно и спасёти свою Душу после мирской жизни.Аминь.
+Mike Elgan , congratulations, I remember when G+ first started back in the summer and when I circled you and heard about you G+ diet thinking how brave and risky it was to devote so much attention to a new platform and look how it paid off! I think some of the people reading this can't really appreciate exactly the risk that you took when you started this, I just love seeing things like this pay off. Personally I've been too involved in projects to devote myself to writing and posting on here much like I started out doing in the summer but it's never too late to start again and it is still early days after all.

Keep it up and look forward to hearing more news, more healthy eating and baking tips and more Google+ thrashing in the future. :)
congrats +Mike Elgan you have shown in resent times that content is a king and ofcourse you need a platform to share your content
Yeah, well doneand all that jazz. However, please stop trying to sell crap like those Zombie things. Its embarrassing. 
Great post Mike. It compelled me to circle you! ;)
My big take-out comment is surely this one, "You don't need a show, a movie deal, a book contract or a marketing department to build a social community and drive big traffic to your content.". I couldn't agree more. It's surely the defining characteristic of the internet - the most potent platform of all time.
As a long time follower since the 90's, I congratulate you. 
Excellent post and I agree with you on the potential power in Google+ – something I have been raving about to my friends and clients for the last couple of months. I was skeptical when I signed up as I have seen so many Google products come and go but Google+ is one I am using more and more and Twitter/FB less and less.
Well done and keep going, you're a good 'plusser' :)
Well deserved. Congraulations.
That's a well deserved big number. I'm guessing that your email newsletter "Mike Elgan Daily" has contributed greatly. I subscribed to your daily several months ago when you posted details on how this email letter is produced. Now, I would like to do the same type of newsletter, but I can't find your original post. Can you point me in the right direction? +Mike Elgan
But I read most of your posts just to see how wrong they are.
+Mike Elgan Congratulations! You deserve it. Your posts are nearly always interesting and informative. I look forward to seeing them when I am on Google+.
Will you ever read/respond to my email? Please? =/
congratulations Mike! And thanks for all the great content. :)
You got me beat by about 20 to 1. Good Job !!! :-)
Congratulation and thanks for sharing your insight. It's a great point that spreading yourself to thin can be a huge problem. (One more thanks that you pointed me to +William Shatner .
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