Why should I use Google Plus?
A question I see to often.....

I usually stay out of the meta discussions regarding G+ and why and how it should be used. It is many dedicated people with much knowledge about social media on G+ that share and help the newcomers to manage and find out how to use G+. Despite this, many new users often is more confused than enlightened by the information they get from superusers, evangelists and community managers, and the same questions arises: Why should I use G+? Give me a reason why? No one is following me? Where are my friends?

There may be no exact answers to these questions, but then that is in the nature of G+. 

First, G+ is not what it seems. Most new users are familiar with other social networks that for the most locks their users in to a portal solution. Facebook is a product of an evolution of portals that has been going on for more than a decade. Web 1.0 gave us Angelfire, The Globe and My Space among others. Those had some interaction with the rest of the web because of the very limitations of Web 1.0 had regarding implementing crossover services and applications.  Web 2.0 brought us Facebook and changed the game by offering a lot more within its boundaries. Users did not need to leave Facebook anymore to get what they wanted. For many Facebook became Internet for that very reason. 

So what make G+ different? G+ may at first glance seem very similar to Facebook and the more traditional approaches we have seen for years, but it’s not. G+ is the step towards Web 3.0 and semantics. It is intended as a hub for all of Googles services, and I am sure you use many of them already. For Google it is important to interconnect Search, Youtube, Newsgroups and make it all integrated with each other to greater extent than ever before. You may at this point ask yourself: Isn’t this what everyone else does? It is both a yes and no to that. Google need the rest of the web more than any to make its business go around. They have no interest in locking their users in as much as making the rest of the net accessible through their services. The whole idea of semantic bases on associative databases will make their business, but that is a whole other discussion. 

So, you are here. What to do and what matters? Most of your friend are not here, yet. It has been repeated over and over that G+ is about sharing interrests, opinions and passions. Is that it? Now there is many ways in to this. To get many followers is not paramount to enjoy G+ even that for some it is. 

Ask yourself these questions: What do I want to share, why and with who? What is important to me and why do I engage? Do I create, curate or consume content? G+ may look a bit like Facebook, but the way users engage is far more similar to Twitter with less limitations. Anyone can add you and you can add anyone. If anyone add you without you adding them back, they can only see what you post publicly. Public posts also get indexed by Google and will come up in searches on Google search. Anyone, on G+ or not, can read. Those that follow you will get it in their stream and may respond and engage with you. 

So how to get followers? Is that important? Not necessarily. If I use myself as an example. On Twitter I do not post much. Not so many follow me, but I follow many. It is my big newsfeed. I don't need followers to enjoy it a lot. The same apply here. The most important is not who follow you, but who you follow. It will make your stream go alive and make it easier to engage with others through their posts. When you engage with others they will start engage with you and follow you if the share your interests, opinions and passions. If what you post is of interests people will start to follow you and engage back and maybe even share you with others in circle shares. If you are a content creator or curator, that is great. 

I'm not creating or have any interest in curating others content, you may ask. That's also fine. If you get people in your stream they will offer knowledge, new, fun and entertainment to you. You will have a wide array of Google services integrated for you to use and communicate more privately. Video conference through hangout with those you know privately, yes its free and is integrated with Gmail as well, or share with friends across the web regardless where they are. This do not apply towards Facebook as they have closed their doors for outside services they do not own or is affiliated directly with, because openness towards what they do not control scares them. But if you need Facebook, then keep your account there open. You don’t have to stop using Facebook to enjoy G+ and enjoy what it gives. What you make it, is what you choose to make it. No more, no less. 

If you feel that Googles own Suggested user list is not what you look for you can try +Best Shared Circle and similar pages to find good circles of people to add. I will also reccomend adding +Ivar Choi Espedalen and +Jaana Nyström that know a lot about G+ and is more than willing to share to share their knowledge with anyone that want to know more. For more on sosial media and G+ you sholuld check out +Morten Myrstad, the man that break down the statistics and numbers so it makes sense, and +Jorgen Poulsen with his thougths around SEO on G+ and other social media. +Johan Horak, the man that kicked my butt to publish this, also share interesting thoughts. 

I hope this help you having a great time on G+ and make your online life even richer and more engaging than ever. 
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