What's so great about Google plus?

I've heard some people say they are confused by G+ and I can understand that. There are definitely some new ideas here and I've been confused too. But my confusion pales in comparison to my excitement at exploring this experiment in design for online social interaction.

So why am I so excited by it? I have been trying to figure that out.

At first I was puzzled by the level of engagement I was having with G+. But it was just fun to start sorting all my connections into circles. I had never had an easy way to do that before. I'm sure it would have been just as fun to sort people into circles had Facebook introduced something similar.

Circles solved one of the frustrations I have had with social networks. Some friends and family are not into everything I post on FB and to them it's spam. Other friends would like more of some things and less of others. So the initial buzz for me was that I finally had a way to start sorting this stuff out.

Yes there was a bit of confusion at first, and there are still a lot of things that G+ could improve on, but a lot of this confusion comes because G+ actually reflects some of the complexities of real life in a rich and elegant way. Imagine yourself entering a coffee shop and you see a friend at a table, talking to someone you don't know. They are in intense conversation. Should you say hello? Walk up to the table and see if you can join them? Wave to your friend across the room?

Situations like this come up in real life all the time.

What has fascinated me about G+ is the way that deeply engaged conversations evolve naturally around shared interests, giving me the opportunity to engage with people I know well but that also include people I have never met.

Where else do you see conversations like this happening on the web?

Forums? Yes, but how many forums have you joined lately? You need to identify an area of common interest before you join a forum. Here it can evolve.

Facebook? Yes, but on Facebook I can't meet new people or see what they have to say without "friending" them first.

Blogs? Yes, but for some reason I don't yet understand, most people don't comment on blogs. You can get a conversation going but the bar seems higher. It might be because people see blogs as a kind of "print" medium that's more official than a conversation. The people who comment on blogs are less like friends and more like those people who call in to radio talk shows.

Twitter? Yes, but try following a conversation thread on Twitter, or involving a bunch of people in a deeper, more engaged conversation. You need to link away and start a conversation on your blog or something like that.

Where else? Real life, that's where!

What I want from the Web is more conversations like the ones I see happening here on G+: Private enough to get into some deep conversations, but open enough for serendipity and the unexpected collision of ideas. My UX circle is expanding rapidly and in a very cool way thanks to conversations about G+ that are happening here. A place to put my passion and engage meaningfully on the web.

If any of you are interested in more of my "G+ fanboy" thoughts you can read:

"A Google I can fall in love with"

and "Where circles can go"

This started as a comment on a friend's post, but I thought I'd repost it here as it might be of interest to people who are just getting into G+

Would love to hear your thoughts!
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