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Getting More People to Use Google+, Part IV: A Static User Hub and Re-examining Third Party Off-Site Elements
People like to see the fruits of their labor and third-party commenting platform tracking should only be the first step

This is not a new thing... people have been talking about the transience of their G+ activity in the Stream since very early on. Activity on G+ is hard to keep track of unless you are very good at curating content/links to posts etc. The +1 page is there... why can't we have more? Why can't I show off my conversations? Why can't I keep track of my private messages?

Yep, it's true, this sounds a lot like a Wall or a Timeline - where your activity is documented and archived. People like that. Some people don't. It should be opt-in/opt-out for public visibility - just like posts are. But why wouldn't you benefit from a little activity stability? Why turn that down?

Finally, Google is exporting elements from G+ to get people ON to G+.

As I mentioned earlier in my Getting More People to Use Google+ series, getting people to Google+ is one thing - but why not bring Google+ to people?

http://sociologyplus.com/2012/02/17/getting-more-people-to-use-google-part-ii-devolve-to-evolve/

Now... Google has entire teams... and if we are to believe the angry Microsofter-turned-Googler-turned-Microsofter... the entire company working on Google+. So, I imagine that this has been part of the plan all along. Here's the thing...

This must not be the end of these types of third party elements...

I imagine that people will be able to post their conversations to their streams... or that their comments on the websites will be able to added to a person's Google+ posts ( much like when you +1 something on a website, it shows up here). This is going to be huge for websites looking to bring traffic in....

Imagine you're commenting on an article about... I dunno... parenting. The website has the Google+ comment box and once you are done writing your response - the box prompts you with "Do you want to post your comment and a link to the article to your Google+ stream?" Well... heck yes I do! I care about parenting tips, and I want to meet other people who share parenting tips and other parenting stuff... go ahead Google+ comment box!

Of course - you can "not share" or just share it with your... Parenting Circles or what have you... but what would be really nice is if:

Google+ indexes your comment activity FOR you

Yes... this would mean some sort of static page where all of your G+ related activities are logged... +1's... comments... articles you saved... all of this should be able to be accessed in Google+ proper... JUST like we used to have with Sparks... a page dedicated to your activity. OF COURSE you can personalize that page... hide some of your activity from the public - for example, you went to a medical website because you have a huge zit (this is useful for the newly invited teens) on your schnozz and it gives you tips on how to shrink/lance that bad boy. Well, we want to be able to find that article/conversation later, right? But we don't want everyone else to see it... blingo-blammo privacy/visibility settings not hard to implement.

But let's say I want to show off my fancy comments on what I think about social media (I totally do) - instead of having to post the article link and make people find my comment - I can just share that comment with my Public stream - keep it on my static page - and that will speak volumes more about who I am than some About page (which, as I understand, the constant curation of that page is probably going to be too much of a hassle for most users).

Websites would be foolish not to adopt the Google+ Comment Box... Comment+ maybe?

It's automatic inbound links... automatic conversations... user-generated opportunities... a conversation that people can have about their page without leaving their social network. And of course there is the benefit of it being run by Google! It has to have some effect on search, right? It has to.

Don't force it on people... just don't do it, Google.

Allow people to post anonymously, allow them to enter a name - offer them a G+ profile... don't make 'em do it. Allow people to become familiar with the third party stuff on their own time. Google makes awesome stuff... alright... awesome... but let people choose. Don't force a G+ existence on them. This will be most excellent insight for how many people sign up anyway... they must have liked it! Maybe they'll like more... if you build it, they will come! - YEAH, I definitely used the Field of Dreams cliche... but come on, it's true right? Why wouldn't someone want something that makes their life easier?

Google+ for the people, not people for Google+. Not evil. Be here in case they need you. Be here for them. Stymie those blowhard article writers who accuse Google of forcing products on people. Just keep making it awesome. Annnd BREAK! Let's go team [whistles and phrases of encouragement]!

Getting More People to Use Google+ Series:
Part I - How Extrovert and Introvert personality type reversal on social media might be skewing perception of platform's popularity
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115516333681138986628/posts/BXZdyGRxfA7
Part II - Creating Stand-alone G+ elements for websites to increase casual-user familiarity
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115516333681138986628/posts/gbhoYpoJY1q
Part III - The "Sentimental" traditional media campaigns are great, but we need "Utilitarian" messages!
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115516333681138986628/posts/9SieYGfgB7b
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20 comments
 
We desperately need a public api - it will transform the way G+ gets used.
 
Be careful what you wish for. API access severely altered both Twitter and Facebook. Destined to increase the noise her too.
 
You are coming from the angle that "What is good for Google is good for us" and that is not necessarily true. Right now our WordPress blogs are completely independent of Google - I fear they are trying to change that.
 
+Rob Gordon - I don't think that it is necessarily false. It depends on what "good" means to you and your blog. having G+ elements on websites I go to that track what I do... and so that I can revisit them without logging in to 9 different comment platforms is really nice. Again, being able to opt-in and opt-out of something is a right that I think users deserve. And I don't mean - well you can opt-in to everything we do... or you can opt-out of our product altogether. I think it is important for developers of all kinds to know that choice - even little choices - are nice for users of their product.
 
I'm starting to believe that Google+ really is a ghost-town. As much as I enjoy Google+, the level of engagement in my streams has really started to decrease. Of course, I have no scientific evidence of this, but it's just something I've noticed. I think Google should definitely re-examine third party off-site elements....and anything else to bring people to Google+.
 
My stream rolls so fast sometimes I can't keep up and I am getting lots of great links and info, so I don't really understand all the talk about it being dead.

Heck, this thread is rolling along nicely with nice, long, insightful comments.

Doesn't seem dead to me.
 
Google+ will surge into life once Google gets their APIs sorted and more apps can cater for it, at the moment it's too difficult to post cross-platform, as I'm an average lazy user.
I find G+ very useful for it's location based updates compared to other social outlets, which you can only seem to access on the web-version and not the desktop (unless someone like to tell me otherwise?)
 
+Douglas Welch Almost everyone misinterprets that "Google+ is dead" statement. The usual reaction is to create still another shared circle of "awesome" people and say "see - this will make your stream busy". New users are talking about their own posts - not how much stuff they can get in their stream.
 
+Rob Gordon As for that, it really comes down to what people are saying. That fact is, they may be used to getting lots of interaction on Facebook or elsewhere based on what they are posting, but those may not be the topics that interest people here.

They need to think about posting on something else, phrasing it differently, finding/creating something unique instead of the same old, same old stuff.

Each service is different. They all have a different feel and vibe. What works on one may not work on another. Instead of blaming the service, it is best to look at ourselves and how we are presenting ourselves. Blaming the service is a quick, easy excuse that rings hollow to me.
 
I agree +Rob Gordon! My streams are busy, but the engagement is low. I find it interesting that I have quite a few followers on Google+, but I only know 3 of them personally. That's 3 out of 200+. Google+ has to find a way for the "average American" to become engaged on Google+. I see all my friends posting on Facebook, but not a one will post on Google+. As much as I disklike Facebook and the minutia that is involved with most posts, there is just a sense of energy there that Google+ is lacking.
 
+Douglas Welch You say that "That fact is, they may be used to getting lots of interaction on Facebook or elsewhere based on what they are posting, but those may not be the topics that interest people here." Google+ can't just be this "exclusive techie" world, that many people think it is. If it just stays a clique, Google+ will die a slow and boring death. You need mainstream America to buy-in...and then just circle the one's you want :-)
 
+Douglas Welch I get plenty of interaction here and have plenty of followers - I just can understand why new users are disappointed in the service, and it doesn't help to put ourselves in a big shared circle called "best engagers" or "best of the best" or whatever and tell them to follow it. Many new users are doing nothing wrong.

+Stirling Spencer It is not a great place for people you already know, and I wouldn't even try - try to find new people with similar interests instead. Why don't you build a "fitness" shared circle - I haven't seen too many of those.
 
I don't find it exclusively tech, really. I am getting a wide variety of posts in my stream, but I have reached out to shared circles in a lot of diverse areas.

By the very nature of sites like this, I think they all start out a little techy, but it usually wears off, just as you would like.

In the end, the people here will use it for what interests them most. You can't really control that. You can only find those people with interests similar to yours and use it as much as you like.
 
I think one of the things... that people... don't like about Google+ is that you can't come on here and simply start being... engaging? People don't just Circle you for fun... you have to interact with them.. being a part of a community here takes work . On Facebook - you already know those people and you know where you fit in - on Twitter... you're maybe not there to be a part of a network... people will Follow you because you Follow them. On G+ - you have to earn engagement - you have to earn +1's and Reshares. You have to find a community (which is hard, which can be fixed).
 
Yes, that is true of any community really. I realized this when I moved to LA from a town of 200o people in Ohio. I had to engage in the community or be anonymous.
 
+Douglas Welch - I agree! Unfortunately, users' expectations of insta-community have come from Facebook. People tend to forget that their Facebook "community' or "experience" is based off of years (probably) of social interaction in a physical space. When they get Facebook and people are on there - it sure seems like their social networking community is instant. If I just signed up for Facebook today - I'd for sure have people who were not just willing but wanting to talk to me, and interact with me... they're my friends and family after all. I think people like having that insta-community there for them, and people who already care about them. That's one of the main issues with trying to compare G+ with Facebook - it's not here to give you another place to talk to your familiar relations... it's a network of discovery people say...
 
+Ryan Crowe This idea of insta-community; years ago when I first signed up for FB with in 24 hours all of my HS friends posted on my wall, "where have you been for 20 years" - When you sign up here - it's "now what?" - It does take some work - but as you soon discover that is what makes it better - the difference. What I am seeing is the question being asked - how do you change the FB mentality?
 
+Ryan Crowe Exactly! You hit the nail on the head. And +Al Clarke You are so right about signing-up on Google+ and then saying "now-what". There is no instant community. Most of mainstream America is cautious about circling / friending / following people that they don't know personally...at least when they are getting started. So if this is a network of discovery, there has got to be a fundamental way to get people started on Google+ and then wanting to come back for more. Great comments you all!
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