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Don't be shy!

Millions of people are on Google+, but not getting much out of it. Why? They're shy.

Most people on Google+ have never posted anything publicly, commented, participated in a hangout, posted pictures of themselves or their lives or blocked anyone. Yet these are the very things that make Google+ enriching and enjoyable.

Here's the problem: Google+ is massively powerful.

On Twitter, everyone feels comfortable posting anything. I just searched Twitterfall for the word "dream," and up came these tweets:

"I had a dream i guess it was just a dream tho"

"Dream a little dream of me."

"I wonder what that dream meant :/ lmaooo"

And a thousand others posted within the span of a minute or so.

Posting on Twitter is utterly without consequence. Nobody is paying much attention. A tweet is just a needle in a haystack. People tweet like it's a bodily function, and feel no pressure or embarrassment. A tweet is there for a second for the minority of followers who happen to be looking at Twitter, then it's gone forever.

On Facebook, people feel pretty comfortable engaging, too. It's mostly just family and friends. And EdgeRank will prevent most people from seeing it anyway.

But something about Google+ gives people stage fright. That something is: power.

When you post something publicly, it's indexed and placed on the public Internet. When you comment, your comment will be "judged" by a lot of smart people. Doing your first hangout is like public speaking. Posting pictures feels exposing. And blocking people feels rude.

That's why Google+ is "dominated" by journalist, celebrities, writers, musicians, bloggers and others who are used to being "out there," living and thinking in public.

And that's the key to overcoming Google+ shyness: Understand that it's simply a matter of acclimation. Just do it, as the Nike ads say, and your shyness will soon fall away.

Here's my advice to everyone on how to overcome Google+ stage fright:

Public posting: Start by sharing other people's posts publicly (like this one). When you feel more comfortable, add comments to those shares. Eventually, graduate up to posting things publicly from scratch. Why post publicly? You won't know until you try it!

Commenting: You don't have to become the Debate Club president to comment. Just do it. Remember that your comment can later be edited or deleted. Just be yourself, speak your mind. And if anyone attacks you or makes you feel lousy, block them (see below).

Hangouts: Ah, now we get to the truly hard thing for shy people to do. Here's the secret to becoming acclimated to Hangouts: Be a lurker. That's right. Join or start hangouts, and turn off both your mic and your camera. Other people in the hangout will see a black screen and a red symbol indicating a muted mic. You can see and hear them, but they can't see or hear you. It's OK! Nobody minds. By lurking, you'll get to see how friendly, supportive, interesting and fun hangouts are. Eventually, you'll want to turn on your mic and your camera. But only when you're ready. UPDATE: +Amanda Blain has a great addition to this advice: If you do turn off mic and camera, at least communicate via chat:

Pictures: You don't have to post beauty shots or personally exposing pictures. Take a picture of anything with your camera phone -- your food, your dog, your workplace, or anything at all. Of course, you don't have to post pictures. But you shouldn't be avoiding it because of shyness. Pictures are fun, and people like seeing them.

Blocking: Blocking people is one of the secrets to a great Google+ experience. And it's NOT rude to block someone. Think of your stream as a party in your home. Everyone there is by invitation only -- people are by default invited. Blocking is merely not inviting them to future parties. Block for any reason -- because people are rude, because they spam, because they're negative. Any reason is a good reason. Why? Because you're only going to interact with fewer than 1% of the people on Google+ anyway. Blocking and circling are the two controls you have on who those people are. Use them!

I hope this advice is helpful. But ultimately, there's no substitute for just doing it. Post! Comment! Hangout! Share pictures! Block!

Yes, Google+ is powerful, and that can be scary. But once you get into it, power = awesome.

Pic props to TriStar Pictures
Kierston Jolly's profile photoCharles Lee Ray's profile photoJohn Blossom's profile photoNina Charania's profile photo
Well, most people are fools. :)

I like to think I don't fit into that group...
Most people would greatly gain in user experience if they just added some active shared circles. They don't even have to publish anything of their own.
I still see a lot of people who use G+ like Facebook, they only add whom they know.
True that, but +Google+ also has to accommodate the "shy" people better. I contend that without such changes G+ will fall short of Facebook-challenging use numbers. We can't all be globe-challenging extroverts - nor should we have to be.
Great advice and great post. I cannot agree with this post more +Mike Elgan. I'm totally re-sharing this. (:
I love blocking people!! :D

Great post, +Mike Elgan. Totally agree. I'm not shy about posting, and I've been having a blast with Google+ so far. :)
Great post, sharing. Double bonus for pictures of my hero, Chris Farley.
Google+ is more of a try to be professional Social Network. Before most post, you make sure that they are at least important to your followers. However on Twitter for example, you post whatever, it has become a therapy tool, just ask Kanye West.
+John Blossom is right on. +Mike Elgan and other wholesale proponents of G+ point out a bunch of different things that you must do in order to make G+ work for you.. but those things are usually value-neutral things (such as extroversion, or having the types of interests that are well-represented on G+ like tech and photography). So, shy people, please, be shy and G+ improve so that shy people can get a lot out of the service too.
I love Google+, but I have to admit I get much more pleasure from blocking people on Twitter. I guess that's because folks on Twitter that I block wheras the people I want to block on Google+ are just too chatty...
I'd love to hangout, but feel too socially inept to do so at this time.

I wouldn't encourage people to go around blocking people for just any old reason though. People like me need to interact to develop our lagging social skills. If people block us everytime we stumble, who will we have left to learn from?

I do the other stuff though.
I get two kinds of general feedback on Google+. One is "that's the site with all the geeks." That one is hard to fully refute. Two is, it's still not commonly understood what the cause and effect here is. I get questions like, "what do I do, what happens when I do that? What do I then do?"

There aren't easy answers. But some excellent suggestions +Mike Elgan

FYI, ever so slowly, I'm seeing the private sharing thing taking off.
Mike, great advice! But I would add also 2 more things: 1) Keep your posts and comments as positive and friendly as possible and 2) Don't over post either to the point people feel like you are just spamming them. With all in mind, being on G+ will be an enriching and sometimes even exciting experience that opens worlds to oneself and others (speaking as someone on here since July 7). As always, Mike, you are one of my all-star G+ers. Keep the good vibes comin'! :)
The hardest part is circling the right people. It looks easy, but it isn't. Most shared circles, even in areas I am interested in, fall short and contain a lot of people who know each other and interact but not with "outsiders". Few suggested users to circle are appropriate, because like recommend books, you need to take the time to look at he book, browse it. If you carefully browse posts of people, you'll eventually find the right mix, but most people don't want to actually do that "work". I don't see a solution to this, other than literally bringing in people ytour know in, one by one, and guiding them.
In our many research projects we've found the engagement in social media is comprised at the higher end of The Shys and The Egos. Those that feel they have nothing worth contributing and those that feel they do and so do...
Easier said than done. I definitely want to contribute more but I actually feel intimidated and to a certain extent, stupid, among my peers so it keeps me from contributing. That and I'm just not an attention whore. There's a LOT of attention whoring going on around here and if that's the ONLY way to get attention paid to what you do, I just don't operate in that fashion. So it's very difficult for me.
btw theres no time to do google+ or facebook
im somehow having time, cause im resigned and moving to new place
so thats why i can leave this message.
and frankly i think google+ is not that much needed. it could be somehow fun. but not 'most' needed
Twitter is fast, fun and exciting.
Google+ is something more, but this

"Posting on Twitter is utterly without consequence. Nobody is paying much attention. A tweet is just a needle in a haystack. People tweet like it's a bodily function, and feel no pressure or embarrassmet "

is almost bullshit. The needle in haystack can stick.
+Nathan Duffy +John Blossom Google+ is asymmetric, you can follow anyone you like while you don't have to actually talk to anyone.
I don't see how things could get any better for shy people.
All good points, +Mike Elgan. However, there is one glaring problem. Just because you post publicly doesn't mean you're interacting. Others have to find it and comment. This rarely happens for most people (I'm not referring to power users such as yourself). So unless you have a good number of people that like to interact following your posts... you won't interact with anyone simply by posting publicly. You have to go out and find other people's public posts and interact on theirs as well for this to occur. So instead of just posting publicly, one should also seek out interesting public posts or threads to comment on. If you only post publicly, you're basically talking to an empty room (for most people).

This may be why some people are turned off to G+ and stick with Facebook... Where they have their usual group of friends to interact with and don't have to go out of their way to find new people.
+Claudia Sims I agree, there's a lot of that going on, but you don't need to be that! Find a post you care about or know something about and jump in. If it isn't read or well-receive, rinse and repeat. I swear you'll find people you'll want to engage with.
I had a dream i guess it was just a dream tho :D 
I'm a daily user of Facebook. I just got back into tweeting over the holiday break (U.S.) vs lurking there. I'm just getting back into G+ this week. My impression is that it will grow and surpass Twitter due to integration to Android and SEO. 2012 is the year of a wedge. Facebook will maintain the momentum, but growth slows. It sustains as a high school reunion platform like you suggest. Bloggers will flock to G+ and the general public will catch on. The watershed will be when advertisers see the opportunity provided by search driven SEO results to G+ public posts. Follow the money. I'm happy with the improvements... this certainly isn't Google Wave.
I agree and thats an excellent perspective, but I mostly use Google Plus like Path ( cause, Path does not have a web app, i mostly post within a small group, and most of the times to a certain set of people.
+Randy Resnick Well said.

Another part of the problem, for me, is that certain interests of mine, and communities, just are not well represented in terms of active users posting good content. I don't really have any desire to engage with large numbers of random people with interests all over the map; I want to find those with highly specified and similar interests, but for many interests, they simply don't yet exist.
I wonder if maybe as a side effect of world engaging extroverts being the first to sieze on Google+' potential, a new member who is unsure what they're getting into comes here and sees: world class photography, artists sharing their latest works, discussions on major world events, outspoken people with strong opinions... it becomes hard to just leap right in until you have something you think meets the standards of the current community. But the thing to remember is that even for the extroverts putting themselves out there is hard - they're posting those things because they'd like to engage others, and not just other extroverts... all opinions are welcome (at least for me) and maybe getting your feet wet by simply conversing on topics that already exist is a good way to learn that you have something worthwhile to contribute. I for one want to learn more about all the people of the world, and their opinions on the topics I participate in. If I wasn't interested in these opinions, I'd go talk to the mirror for a while. :)
+Timo Kantola True, and it's a good point. But only for the 1%. Just try to search for any keyword on Twitterfall, and you'll see what people are posting.
I would have to agree I do pretty well with public posting, blocking, pictures, and so forth my hurtle comes in the form of hangouts I don't mind joining just starting. I have made it my goal to do more hangouts this year and get into the deliciousness that is hangouts
ahh getting spammed with this post re-shares lol.

+Mike Elgan Word! however black screens and muted in hangouts is a recipe to get booted out! not really encouraging for shy starters! ;)
It's also possible that as G+ posts get into the search results, original public posts and comments will draw people in.
Who among you hasn't joined a forum after find it in a search for a solution of some kind, so you could post or comment? I have done it dozens of times, and I'm sure it will happen here, too. If you're already on G+, you won't have to register again like you do on these forums.
I agree ... it does seem less participative / interactive than FB. On the other hand, Google+ seems to be a bit more business-collaborative, than FB, which seems to be more social-casual. Google+ seems like it has more "intelligent" users, which harkens back the feeling of sitting in a lecture hall at a University. The open nature of Google+, coupled with the classroom environment makes for a more intimidating place for "raising your hand" with a comment.
Simple advice but I am one of those who do find it difficult to participate. I love reading peoples posts and comments and the pictures from the many photographers in my circles are amazing but still, I find it difficult to REALLY participate. Will keep trying.
I disagree. Out of curiosity I have employed these techniques several times over with hardly any adds and little interaction. If you want to be added, get your name into shared circles...of course interesting content does help.
I don't think it's about shyness or power. I think some people just don't like to share a lot of stuff with the world at large. They're fine sharing some article or personal photos with their friends, but really have no interest in engaging with the wider public. I don't consider this shyness because it is a preference as opposed to a disability.

There's also the fact that so far Google+ hasn't made clear what it's niche is. It seems to me to be kind of a mixture of Twitter and Facebook, with a bit of blogging thrown in. And I'm pretty savvy about this stuff, most people aren't, and so view it as just another social network, and heck, they already belong to one (or two) so why spend the extra time and energy?

Part of it is that journalist, writers, and bloggers all have the time to craft long pieces, and many come with large audiences from the start. The average joe, doesn't and while I see some folks posting a link here or there, or an image, I don't see a lot of people crafting multi-paragraph essays the way journalists do. I do this sometimes, and usually publicly, but still don't get many comments accept occasionally to my followers. I really think most people are only looking at people they are following, rather than doing a search and finding random writings posted by others. Maybe that's what G+ needs to push more - so that people can widen circles in a more natural way...
Excellent post, thanks! Posting here can feel more consequential than tweeting or even spotting out a FB-status update that I know only my friends will see. And people might feel a bit intimidated by the amount of great content that so many professional or semi-professional writers produce. But what strikes me is that everyone is so nice and so eager to comment and support you, the conversations are brilliant and there's a sense of community, all very difficult to achieve in Twitter, for instance.
My main "problem" with G+ is that it's just so awesome. Every day I see so much incredibly interesting things here that anything I could produce myself simply pales in comparison so I'll just resort to occasional re-sharing and comments.

I also agree with people that said you won't get much out of it if you try using it like facebook. In FB I have around 50-ish people added, here I'm watching nearly 700. Also, another HUGE feature is that searching actually works and provides useful results.
+mike avery, that's precisely part of the point I was making! I've, personally, posted a ton of public stuff... Very little of it gets noticed or responded to and I've received no adds as a result of them. Maybe what I have to say is unimportant or uninteresting... I don't know. But I do know, that I've greater success at interaction by hunting down others' public posts that are of interest to me.
Not sure how many people follow my posts but 99.99% of my posts are public but because I tend to be sarcastic and poat political stuff too, most people don't like it and many people have said that they have blocked me because I post too much :/
+Kalle Last G+ is indeed awesome! All I can say is that I post what I love and comment on the posts of others who share great stuff. To me it is just that simple and to stay here on the only social netwok I participate in. It floors me how many interesting folks from around the world I interact with. I consider G+ a positive use of my time. Cheers to you and others with your G+ experience!
Very interesting. Thanks!
One thing I will note about posting comments... they should always have a purpose. Commenting one someone else's post for no reason other than to comment seems, to me at least, a bad use of said comment. I'd personally love to see more elaboration on the right time to comment vs. the right time to +1 something, as these are different.
arjay u
The people who do not enjoy it as much are those that decide their posts and what they share are only for a select few. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, but that belongs to a more limited social network, e.g. Facebook.
good artical
for me only hangouts left becaus shyness I'll 
It's true. Twitter is just posting out there into the darkness hoping someone might actually be interested. G+ has so much more of a community feel, people having conversations with anyone. It seems so friendly! I need to join a hang out yet though...
Yes we all know what we have learned when we were kids..."sharing is happiness"
so why not! Search, ask,comment, let us go beyond borders!
There are so many people I'd like to share this with...but they signed up and haven't been back since. Boring lack of desire makes for a boring experience. Bleh.
The first time someone I considered "famous" (from a geek perspective) circled me I was terrified by the pressure I thought that implied. I calmed down and continued being myself, which seems to be working!
+Mike Elgan I couldn't agree more. I think right now, +Google+ poses more of a threat to #twitter than anything else. There's more weight associated with Google+ posts than Twitter. Google+ posts don't get lost in the ocean of comments. All comments (like on this post) are tied directly back to the original content provider. Most people don't know how to post publicly on Facebook and if they do they don't want to. Because Facebook started off so closed with one-to-one interactions, people are scared to give that up. Luckily here, you can have both.
+Mike Elgan I am afraid that my boss will find out how much I use G+ and the consequences thereafter so don't make a lot of public posts for that reason.
From my personal experience, what I am seeing from my stream is that people are not shy, they're just afraid.

Most are just afraid of using their real name for whatever the reason, others just enjoy posting with a fake name to a restricted amount of users, so that they can maybe avoid the Google fake-naming ban.
Truth is on Twitter you can be anonymous, nobody will never know who you are, thus people post more and more frequently, without even caring what they are posting.
It's funny +Mike Elgan because I've always felt exactly the opposite way!
On Twitter : Replying is so unnatural... I'm always stopped right before a reply because I feel like all those people who follow me but not the guy I'm replying to will not have see the context... and well, it has no interest to them... but i cannot DM either if the guy does not follow me... BROKEN
On facebook : At first you were blocked by the stupid character limit, which clearly implied that facebook wanted you to post crap, which of course people rapidly started doing. So It is crapland, or... family/friendland. But heh, friends and family do not necessarily share your interests.
I have never been so active online before, except maybe with my blog, which used to be the closest thing to g+ I used to have I guess.
But I can only dig the rest of your post :).
Thanks for the hangout lurking suggestion. I've been shy to join a hangout, partly because I don't know what to expect.
+Matthew Saltzman, I'd say that you +1 when you simply like something or agree with it but have nothing of value to add, and comment when you have something of value to contribute to the conversation, either specifically or on the whole. Personally, I think before I post... is this worth the time to type? Does it add anything? If not I move on. If it does I post. But that's just my opinion.
So two posts appear to be somewhat controversial: Blocking and hangout lurking.

I realize that it's hard to accept the idea that blocking isn't rude. But look at it this way, blocking prevents people from receiving, commenting on or sharing your posts. But more than 99.99% of the people on G+ will not be receiving, commenting on or sharing your posts. Blocking simply added them to the overwhelming majority. That's all.

Regarding hangout lurking, I've been in many hangouts where people lurk, and nobody said anything. In fact, in my hangout innovators Flying Circle yesterday, we talked about this and all these "hangout leaders" agreed that lurking is fine. Everyone should accept this. People are shy. Being on camera takes some getting used to. And lurking is a solution.
That is my philosophy too, +Max Barron . I wish more people shared that philosophy, though.
I guess I am very pro G+ (despite some real headaches) that I cannot emphasize enough how amazing my experience has been. I've been here since July 7 and feel I have some real "pen pals" as in the old sense who hail from everywhere you can think of: France, The Netherlands, India, Australia, etc. And the cool thing is that these "pen pals" share wonderful content and many of them respond to what I post either public or to curated circles. G+ brings the world to me as literally as a virtual tool can. I value that as I am a real traveler but in the times I can't get on a plane to go to some far-flung place (which is most of the time), I enjoy perspectives shared by others from many corners of the the world nonetheless. Really, G+ is what you make of it. Be positive and friendly online as much as possible and the world will arrive on your computer screen and open your horizons everyday!
But +Mike Elgan, making people feel more safe about how much they expose their lives online is a key driver for a great number of folks. If they're shy, it's their nature. We're not here to change human nature, only to help facilitate it. When people feel safe, they open up. Some of us live a "Public Parts" style of life, many don't, and it's moreso true for women. Google still has somewhat of a deaf ear on this point. Google+ needs more to help people who are shy to enjoy themselves and more to help people how are extroverts on the service not to alienate more shy people in their circles.
Well stated. Those features available on G+ are really well thought, and executed well by most.
And Chris... how we miss you. Who knew one day you would contribute to Google+.
What +John Fanavans is exactly why I don't go into hang outs as that's not the first time I've heard that people feel that way with regards to people coming into hangouts and either not being on camera or not talking. Personally, I'm naturally quiet until I get to know people so the idea that someone will block me simply for being quiet makes me feel like its pointless to join them. Not to mention the fact my quiet self would be taking the spot of someone who might converse more.
I see what you're saying, +John Blossom, but I tend to disagree a bit. I really like the fact that Google has left it entirely up to the user as to what their experience will be. I like the complete liberty of G+. Your experience will be whatever you make it, by your choice of how you interact or even IF you interact. You control who you talk to, who you circle, who talks to you, etc. You can lurk all day on curated lists, searches, or a stream filled with people you don't know sharing stuff. Or you can interact with a few people and only see a few people's posts if you want. etc etc etc. I really like that it is What you make of it.
+Susan Tournour Good point. Some people like to be in the audience - and that should be an accepted paradigm. It's early days for hangouts, social protocols are not clear yet, I think.
+L. Gray, I thought of you and the post you had made before about us introverted people and camera shyness when I read that part about lurking being okay. I was wondering if you'd be posting. Seems you posted while I was typing and said it quite well!
+John Fanavans How do you know the difference in someone who is camera and/or mic shy from someone you would block without them telling you? If someone is shy, they may not even be comfortable saying that much for the thought of being ridiculed.

edit: Yes, shy peeps should at least say hi, but some are paralyzed by shyness to the point where anything more than that or being on camera and mic both are too much for them.
That's funny, I had come to the same conclusion as +Mike Elgan earlier this week. After some nasty experiences years ago in groups and bulletin boards, I've been reticent to post much here or anywhere, really. The ability to block people is a great tool that does make it easier to re-engage in public discussion.
Hangout Lurking is NOT acceptable. I understand people can be shy... but if you're weird about the camera part, PLEASE try typing or getting on microphone and answering a question when spoken to. It is a good place to start. I understand feeling shy on camera, or getting use to the software. Coming into the hangout to 'just watch' and not communicate for 20 minutes is not acceptable to me and many others in this space.

Its like being at a pub with some friends and one guy jumps in and is just sitting at the table with a mask on. He doesn't speak, he is just there and you have no idea who he is. Its not acceptable in 'real life' and the same applies here. If the guy wants to sit with a mask on for a bit, but is talking to everyone else.. it will still seem strange, but most people will be ok with it for a bit.

If you are shy about getting on camera, be prepared to text chat or even better - microphone/voice chat. Its all most hangout people need to know you will be participating in some way.
All hangouts are very different. I have hungout more than anyone i know in this space publicly... and i ALWAYS make an effort to welcome each and every single person I have hungout with when they join. But many hangouts wont do that .. you are right. If you are shy, quiet or nervous that is TOTALLY cool! But typing hi in the chat is a great place to start....

Even typing or speaking what many of you here have.. "Hi, new to hangouts a bit nervous about the camera part... hope thats ok"...

I 1000% bet the hangout will be warm and welcoming and understanding... cause we were all there at some point too.

Simply joining, saying nothing, being black screened and watching other people who ARE taking the risk to be open and sharing - is strange. I hope everyone can see the difference here.... right?
I feel more comfortable posting/commenting here on G+, then I do on Twitter and Tumblr. I set-up my Tumblr 2 yrs ago, and yet I only did 1 post. I guess I didn't feel compelled to blog; yet, I knew I wanted too. I had Twitter and Linked in for for networking. But with those, it felt impersonal. They just didn't click with me I guess. With Facebook, majority of my friends are just posting party pics. Which after awhile all look the same.

Along comes G+ and I'm able to treat this place as a professional and personal networking tool. As well as a place to have small talk about nothing, with like minded individuals. It's like G+ is my informal formal social network.
i agree toooo many words for me
Google+ is so much better than Facebook because there is much less BS flying around. I'll quit it the day it becomes flooded with pictures of children, stories of abandoned dogs and love quotes, just like I quit Facebook year ago. So please, don't post publicly unless you have something to say.
Actually, I disagree strongly that "Posting on Twitter is utterly without consequence" - that couldn't possible be further from the truth. Entire regimes have been overthrown from people using that service. I am a fairly new user there - with few followers, but I have made my voice heard there on some small business policy issues, in a way that I never could have on Google+ - even though I have a decent number of followers here. The most common topic on Google+ is post praising Google or Google+ - like this one.
Key to Google Plus here is, openness of interaction and authority to choose what voice you wish to here and whom to make it here.
Oh Come On!!! people are not posting on Google+ because
1. you can't post on your friends streams / wall
2. there aren't any messaging/ chats
3. no birthdays alerts NOR
4. you can control your birthday Change/display etc
5. if you like something on youtube, Google+ offers only + button, other then posting to your stream from outside!
6. Gmail is MUST to use google+ !!! where I think we should just give any email and after confirmation we should be allowed in to g+
I'm good with most of this except from hangouts. I hate speaking to randoms, in real life and on the internet. I don't know what to say, my mind gets blank, and it just gets awkward. Though I have decided I will join hangouts and talk with people, eventually.

And with commenting, I just don't know what to write. I guess I should just start writing my thoughts. Just like this :)

Anyway, thanks for this post +Mike Elgan !
Without fail... everytime i see a person say "no one is posting on is dead here"... they are circling less than 50 people and Have few public original content posts... There is no 'wrong way' to do it here on plus.. but if you are saying 'its not working for you'... then perhaps YOU ARE doing it wrong.....;)
+John Holme you are right, however its (fortunately or unfortunately) successor to fb :)
Isn't the point of social networks is for users to define their own involvement. If a person doesn't use hangouts or post publicly it's not like they're using the service wrong, it just means that they do not wish to use those functions. If a person has a small number of people in their circles and don't do anything publicly then they are saying that they want the service as a method to keep in contact with a small number of people that they potentially would know better. If none of their friends are posting, then they are correct, G+ is dead to that social group. That doesn't make G+ dead to users who have different needs though.
+David Rothfeder well you are point out PR level of a person, who is being cozy in small circles, however i think the question is not about it.. it about the network it self...
^^^ Perhaps this is true +David Rothfeder ... But Generally the people posting about it are saying the network is a failure because they way they are using it is not meeting their needs.. and implying it wont for anyone. I don't see many people saying.. G+ is a great network full of amazing connections and experiences, but it just doesn't fit what i'm looking for as a more private person... I see people saying.. It's stupid here and nothing is happening. These are all the reasons it's no good and something else is better. G+ will fail. Don't you agree?
I've never had a problem with blocking someone, although I haven't had to do it very often. I don't post much, though, because for my part what I have posted doesn't garner much commentary here, but on fb it does. The reason for this being that what seems to get commented on g+ is more widespread social commentary, and my posts are of a more personal nature that, unless you know me personally, you probably couldn't care less about.
I still do need to join a hangout though.
Shyness could be one factor but user expereince for someone like me has also made it difficult to hang out at G+, just because i work for a Finnish company now all my Circles are in Finnish. I can't seem to get help in changing that. I have sent a complaint to the "send Feedback", asked friends etc...........I am way down in Africa and cann't understand a single thing my G+ page is saying cause i have to keep transcribing the page..................Very frustrating. Response to user queries should be faster and more effecient!
+Amanda Blain I have to totally agree with you! UNLESS Google updates their whatever software version for G+, it wont be great place fitting users needs! ---- unfortunately, given History of Google with GMAIL and CHROME I hardly doubt they will even change things until 2020 ! (Like in Gmail there is still no feature to know your EMAIL SIZE, Chrome don't have Alert before closing multiple tabs--- ((Ok there are addins but thats not the point )) )
+Mike Elgan Great advice. Not understanding how to get involved seems to be what my non-Plus (or those who've signed up but don't really engage/use it) are always missing. G+ is NOT Facebook... in fact most of the people I follow I don't know or have never met face to face. However, that's the magic of it... I've discovered so many interesting, engaging, intelligent, and fun people.

The bottom line: search, circle, comment, post... you'll get engaged and you'll be hooked!
Thanks +Mike Elgan . I am glad to see that experienced members of G+ like yourself understand how newcomers feel and take the time to help them out with practical suggestions.
Do my comments on public posts show up in the streams of people who have circled me?
Mike, these are great points but have you considered that many people are suffering from social media overload? I'm on here now for my monthly check-in but what with multiple other social accounts to check on I guess the question becomes why should I pay Google + an extended visit. Not to mention there is still telephone and the old standby face-to-face interactions that we have to consider. I'm a blogger as well and still hold down a "day job" to pay the bills what with all that and oh right the family too I can't really justify spending much more time online as much as I'd like too.
The last thing I want is for G+ to be more like facebook. Twitter is harmless, and occasionally useful. I'm loving G+ because I don't know ANYone on it. I can find interesting, informative, or entertaining things here every day. With FB, it's an endless stream of useless information. (ugh, work/school sucks. i hate snow!!! today my 2 yr old did this mundane thing. i had fun last weekend. i cant wait till friday.)
Love reading all these comments. You wouldn't get this on FB.
Good suggestions. G+ is an active experience. Engagement begins with the user. 
Good post. I don't think of myself as shy, but I haven't found a reason to create posts on Google+. But I seldom say anything on Facebook either. I'm lurking on both trying to figure out what they are good for. I use Twitter as a memory device - creating tweets about what I've read online that I want to remember. So far I use Facebook to track family and friends I don't see often. I'm looking for a purpose to use Google+. I've thought about making Google+ for friends I meet online but never in the real world.
I don't - or hardly - post anything publicly for the simple reason that I'm using my real identity on here and I don't want just anyone to be able to see and know what I'm about. I don't want everyone to know my political beliefs or opinions, and I don't want everyone to know what goes on in my life.

I want certain people to know certain stuff. That is the power of G+.
Thanks Mike, I'm still getting used to commenting!
This Google+ing is a full time job - its a wonder some people go out at all and have a life !! hehe
Something I'm noticing about G+ that's an issue is that it doesn't have an easy way to respond to a specific comment, especially if you aren't able to post right away. +Amanda Blain, I understand your point, but you have to realize that with any product or service there will be a very vocal dissident minority. For instance, I could just as easily complain that my car is a POS because it doesn't fly or how my local bartender is an asshole because he won't have my hangover for me. Instead of trying to disprove somebody who is obviously wrong just say 'works fine for me' and move on.
Jesus Christ you just convinced me after months of silence, to use G+ how it meant to be.
Thank you Sir!
These changes will be the first tomorrow!
Haven't gotten the Hangout part yet... mainly cos I don't have a camera except on my phone (which isn't really an excuse since I could hangout on my phone but... there it is). I've done everything else though and can say that I categorically love Google+ so much better than twitter or FB because I really don't personally know anyone I interact with. It's new and challenging and fun and that's what makes it superior to the other two I have accounts with. FB I keep since 98% of my friends there haven't and likely won't start using Google+ and I do still want to keep in touch, and twitter is simply a passive news feed or a quick way for me to post an update to FB when I'm mobile.
I wish that more people used G+ because facebook is starting to really suck. Why the hell can't you send a friend request to someone that you don't know? After all, it is a social networking site. Now fb blocks you from sending a private message if someone denies a friend request, WTF. My brother-in-law denied my friend request because he doesn't allow any family on his page-it's perverted- and fb want's to punish me for that. I hate to inform fb but I don't really know most of my friends.
I think since there is too much to do, its easy for beginners to get lost...
I've tried to explain to a few people some ways to have fun and enjoy Google+, but they've all looked at me with an odd expression. Probably because I essentially told them to just follow and talk to strangers. I think the closest comparison I've come up with is, it's sorta like AOL chat rooms back in the day (minus all the a/s/l crap).
+John Blossom Looks like G+ and some people are trying to force introverts become extroverts by using their own ways. That will not work. By analogy, it's like forcing vegetarians to eat meat.

It is asserted that Americans live in an "extroverted society" that rewards extrovert behavior and rejects introversion. "American culture values extroverted qualities more, and people often feel like they've been given the 'short end of the stick' after receiving their results on extroversion/introversion tests."

Other cultures, such as Central Europe, Japan or regions where Buddhism, Sufism etc. prevail, prize introversion.
And these introverts by cultures have more billion of population. Chinese themselves in all Asian countries has at least 1.4b.

Researchers have found that people who live on islands tend to be less extraverted (more introverted) than those living on the mainland, and that people whose ancestors had inhabited the island for twenty generations tend to be less extraverted than more recent arrivals. Furthermore, people who emigrate from islands to the mainland tend to be more extraverted than people that stay on islands, and those that immigrate to islands.
+Mike Elgan there's a problem with people blocking people.

for example i was on someone's profile and i posted something that i thought was true but they didnt like it. and they said something, and the only intent i could gather is that is was to offend me and I am pretty sure they blocked me before I could even reply.

the problem with this is that this person has a lot of people who have added them on G+ and I dont have the data to back this up, but if someone who has a lot of followers blocks you it probably has a high likelihood of having detrimental effects on achieving success for a shy person.

the person im talking about is +Amanda Blain .

i have another story about people blocking people. i went on a post and posted something about the original post. and in the comments i got a reply from a guy that thought i was commenting on the conversation they were having about the post, I was not.

he called me a troll, left a smug (I'm not just saying that, it was definition smug) comment about blocking me and blocked me.

then i was participating in the actually conversation going on and i could not read his comments and people were replying to them and it ruined my experience.

Here is where I am currently at with this problem: To me, it does not matter what reasons they had for blocking me but I did not even get to reply to them before they did it, I call this rage-blocking. They blocked me just because they did not like or agree with something I said. If everyone ends up blocking everyone for these teeny tiny reasons it is going to make for a much poorer quality experience on Google +.

And +Mike Elgan , if you are reading this I hope you do not get upset that I am making a reply that negatively affects your original post in any way. Everything I wrote here is true and I am looking forward to a response if you have something to say.
+jose montarig That applies to any social network. Aren't they all trying to encourage or in your words "force" conversation?
+Mike Elgan well I consider myself to be shy. Yes, I also think I've already posted far too much on my Google+ page compared to many others. So Mr. Elgan, I invite you to have a look at my page and photos!
Another problem your not talking about: The fact its very hard to filter good content from bad without filtering by person.
Good advice. I'm going to try to take it.
Well,, try search "farted" on twitter... those people have no embarrassment... one of the things I like about twitter
Add me to expand your 2012 active circles!
that is one long post
+Mark Richards Great question. With the old Facebook, you couldn't "follow" someone unless they also "followed" you. That approach was a mixed bag of good and bad results. After Google+ came out, Facebook came up with subscriptions. But the whole issue of control in both directions is now in the hands of both parties.

If there are 70 million users of Google+ (I'm making that number up), then blocking someone doesn't boot them from G+. It only gives them the option of engaging with 69,999,999 people. It's really just reverse circling. If I don't circle some random person, they shouldn't be offended. I'm not circling 99.99% of G+ users. It's nothing personal. So why is blocking personal? Blocking is similar to not circling, but in the other direction.

Stated another way: There is no Google+. There is only YOUR Google+. The combination of circling and blocking lets you control exactly what kinds of interactions you want to have. If I don't want to hear from trolls, winers, sexists, complainers, attention whores or anyone else, I don't have to. Why should I? It's my life. It's my time. Why should I maintain on principle that I'm going to let anyone in the world consume my precious time or affect my emotional state and take my attention?

On the other side, by blocking someone I'm doing them a favor. I'm preventing them from wasting their time on someone who isn't interested.

I'm blocked by a lot of people, and I'm glad. I'm not everyone's cup of tea, and I don't want to force my opinions and missives on the unwilling.

Blocking is all good, and if people could get over their shyness about doing it, the Google+ world will be a better place for them. It's nothing personal.
Wonderful. I've been doing all the above except blocking people(or at least not yet) and I've yet to find interesting people on google+ that want to add me to their circle and hangout. :( ADD ME & TALK TO ME DAMNIT! lol
beginner is always be shy! I use facebook to link my family and friends..a week ago I change my search engine for a change!and I found out this google+very infomative its quite different from facebook...I like to make comments and share my ideas too although i have a very limited words of english..I'm beginning to like google.
I just blocked my first person a moment ago! Haha. Felt good. I realize that the only way he would know that he was blocked is if he were to notice that the number of people that have him circled had dropped down one. If..
what a smile .....................................................
+L. Gray Your rules are fun, but I've contemplated posting a statement on why I block people so those who don't want to be blocked can know in advance.
Interesting article and great comments thread.
Some folks are just more or less extroverted, perhaps depending to some extent upon how comfortable they feel in their place (on G+ but also potentially in their local community or workplace).
How many forums (in the broadest sense - social networks, blogs, youtube, forums etc) are there available online and does everyone have to post on them all?
Who has the time and interest for that?
Twitter is a great source of information and links from smart, creative and interesting people. Which depends to a large extent on who I follow or engage with.
G+ has many other great features, but that doesn't mean they need to be publicly exercised to satisfy other peoples perception.
Saw this pop up again, almost half a year later the "why" of this phenomenon is largely unaddressed by Google+ - and it shows. If public posts are forced down the streams of our Circles without our ability to control who in our Circles sees them, then people will be insecure about how they're addressing their audience. To have content that's public and discoverable is not the same as putting it right in front of people who you know and declaring it public. There's still a lot of thinking that Google needs to do about this. While the community here is excellent, there's no need to "blame the victim" for improvements to the service that can and should be made.
Hi +Mike Elgan I thought it best to translate your comment about "do not be shy" to Spanish and improve the translation of google translator. I added a clarification on twitter post (tweets that are like needles in a haystack unless you're a celebrity followed by thousands). The rest is kept as thou hast written.
I've found the easiest way to add people to circles is to go over to the What's Hot section and circle anybody who seems to be particularly interesting. The best way to get circled back is to have some public posts, even shares, with a bit of commentary on why you shared that. What people really want to know is what you're connection is to what you're sharing.

I don't circle back everybody that circles me and don't expect people I circle to circle me back. If I'm interested in your posts that doesn't mean your interested in mine.

I'm myself here: warts, lumps, snarls, smiles and snark. I communicate better in writing than verbally so my normal introversion is reversed here. Be yourself.

As to blocks; I've blocked and then unblocked a few people several times. Just because somebody has you blocked doesn't mean that it's insulting and/or permanent.

I do think a lot of accounts without any posts that are following me are spam. Often the pictures are blurry and look like they were pulled from a random ad online. Many are obviously soliciting a date; others have done nothing but share large circles of people, who presumably paid them off to do so. Such methods are not necessarily "wrong" but probably won't be very effective with people like me :-).
Overall, I don't think that any social media service should be saying "Don't be shy." If the service doesn't make people feel comfortable posting or interacting in public, then the service needs to be improved.
+John Blossom Google isn't saying this. I'm the one saying it. I just think people are robbing themselves of an opportunity to really enjoy Google+ as much as they could be doing.
+Mike Elgan thanks, mike, I understand what you're saying. However, it would seem that it would be better to ask a google why it is that their service is not as friendly for public posting as it could be.
+Mike Elgan Most certainly, and I think that your post probably encouraged a lot of people to try public posts. Did they get what they bargained for? In some instances, perhaps so. Let's hope that +Google+ and other social media services improve in ways that make people feel more confident about their "public parts," as +Jeff Jarvis would put it.
What do you define "fools"?Just curious,i guess
I'm very new to all of this and you're right, I am shy.  I really like your comments and suggestions; it will take a little time for me to feel safe enough to engage others, but I'll get there eventually.  Thank  you for the advice!
Last night I dreamt I was eating live snakes. Little snakes, like we have here in North America. I was sticking them in my mouth, biting their heads and making a loud "crunch", then swallowing them whole.
As +John Fanavans and +Amanda Blain mentioned before, it is not a good idea to tell Users lurking in Hangouts is ok . Spreading the word in case of the lurkers in Hangouts opens the door for a lot of confusion in Hangouts:

These are the points +John Fanavans mentioned:
1. You don't want to waste a space that could be used by someone interacting;
2. You don't like being watched like a TV show;
3. You are giving up your privacy by showing your face; the lurker is abusing that and not resiprocating.
This is a point +Amanda Blain mentioned:
4. Coming into the hangout to 'just watch' and not communicate for 20 minutes is not acceptable to me and many others in this space.
These are points from me +Frank Schulz:
5. People only lurking in a Hangout should watch Hangouts on Air as a viewer.
6. People are to shy to communicate in a Hangout have the ability to do other communications like chat, post, commenting, phone etc... A Hangout is a Hangout and that means chat, Video communication and Voice
7. Lurkers want to be anonym, if they have no filled about section and/or no posts, no one in the Hangout can do a trustful conversation. The Hangout is a trustful conversation tool and the authenticity of his participants is one of the powerful advantages of Hangouts.
8. Lurking without cam and mic opens the door for Hangout spammers and faked profiles/pages. If there is no way to verify the lurker with voice/video in a Hangout, the trustful conversation in a Hangout is dead.
+Amanda Blain +John Fanavans mentioned it before, the Hangout participants feeling uncomfortable if there are inactive/anonym participants only lurking the session....
+Mike Elgan Some weeks ago you started a quality project for posters. I don't think the Hangout section of this post is in that quality. The Hangout section in this post is a wrong advice spreading over 600 times in shared posts.
I like your work +Mike Elgan and I know you are one of the real quality posters here. 
My Question: In case of the Hangout it would be great to do a clarifying post, what do you think? 
I started to think..well..if there are ads as on fb,exposing where to to keep doing...then more people could become brave,but more than now to do something?On G+? Just wondering.
Yeah and it's nice one by the way.Provokes to deep thinking :) 
I thought google plus would be a perfect tool for marketing my new band, but no one seems to care. Sigh. I wish I had my music together back during the MySpace days 
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