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. http://goo.gl/dbXoE

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. : )
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