Google Plus Hangouts: Are they Habit forming?

Google Plus Hangouts are both powerful and to me at least they are partially addicting. Since joining my first hangout nearly three weeks ago I have participated in over a dozen. Some have been with 9 other people and others have been one on one.

To those who didn’t read my earlier entry on hangouts and may not be familiar with what they are, here are the basics. A Google plus hangout is a video chat with up to 9 other Google+ users. The Google+  hangout interface is smooth and even when joining on from my Evo 4G, the video and sound is for the most part is solid. After hanging out with a number of different folks from varying background and walks of life, I have started to ask myself this question about Google Plus hangouts: Are they habit forming?

I say this as I tend to see the same folks on and hanging out when I check my hangout canopy or take a look at I recently asked a number of people in hangouts how many total google plus users actually participate in hangouts. The number that most see to say is about 1000.

Out of of that 1000 I have to suggest that most are highly active hangout participants. Even for me, since first hanging out I find myself seeking hangouts and meeting new people. Just this Saturday night, my wife and kids were out of town. Pre-Hangout me would have been behind my PS3 all night fragging people or on youtube looking for BJJ techniques on my iPad. Not this time. I was hanging out. In fact I was on a few different hangouts and ended up logging off at 1:15am. I had some great dialogue about G+, Hangouts, gaming and even a rubiks cube competition. I was enjoying a few beverages and quite possibly ended up being ” that guy ” and overdoing it but hey it is rare that I have the house to myself and the irish blood coursing through my veins may have got the the best of me on Saturday.

Being able to have engaging conversations and meet people that I otherwise would have never met is quite a rewarding experience. As G+ grows I think the scale and scope of hangouts will grow as well. I do believe at least for me hangouts could be habit forming and addictive. I gather others may feel the same why. If they are not than why do we tend to see the same folks hanging out?

I look forward to meeting more of you and extending my reach and as celebrities like, Adrian Grenier, Felicia Day and more start to take advantage of hangouts to reach their fans, I think their popularity will grow more and more. By then I may need hangouts anonymous. ” Hi my name is Dan. I am addicted to G+ hangouts. ” My question is will be ironic to host Hangouts anonymous on Hangouts?

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Fear of change: G Plus and the Facebook Faithful

I will admit it, I have been spending far more time on G+ than on Facebook. The environment on G+ is so fresh, so new and so appealing to me. I keep telling co-workers and friends, ” think of it as Facebook meets Twitter meets LinkedIn. ” The standard response is, ” I don’t know… I mean I have a gmail but everyone I know is on Facebook.”

In most cases that is valid point for sure but what I am really loving about G+ is that I don’t know the people there. I am meeting new people with similar interests and sharing information on this familiar yet new environment. The content on G+ is so robust and my stream is percolating with valuable activities that I find myself not having enough time to stop and appreciate everything being shared.

The power of content sharing was demonstrated to me today with one viral video. This video when I first saw it at 8:10AM EST had 943 views on youtube according to the view counter on my droid. It was shared to my on G+ and viewed it on my Evo while in the drive thru for my Dunkin Coffee fix. By the time I arrived at my office it had been shared from the original post I saw nearly 50 times. Now at 4:00pm EST is has been shared 151 times and has just north of 150,000 views on youtube.

It is touching video that would have gained traction in my opinion but the speed at which it did was remarkable to me.  What stood out to me was I first saw this video first on G+ not Facebook.

I still scratch my head when people that I ” know ” know are not willing to give G+ a try. I am always joking that it is either fear or laziness. Perhaps both… For most Facebookers they fear change and for the good, bad or indifferent they are faithful. One part of me understands, it has been their home for years and they like it and is familiar with people they know. The other part of me thinks they are missing out being a part of some unique and fresh. I was NOT and early adopter of any previous social platforms. Actually I thumbed my nose at them. In hindsight it was lack of understanding and fear that I was too old for Myspace or didn’t need Facebook so it would be unfair for me to live in a glass house and throw stones.

I am really fortunate now that my job requires to me keep myself abreast to the happenings in the social space and for that reason I found G+ and wholeheartedly jumped in feet first.

The concept and experience of hangouts is so new that I am still getting confortable with it. I have participated in a bunch now. Through these face to face interactions I am actually meeting new people. The notion that I have face to face dialogue with others with similar interests from my office, home, in the car on my droid is very appealing and I do believe that once some of the Facebook faithful start to transition over they will start to see G+ for what it is. Something new and unique.

For me thus far, it has been the perfect blend of networking, content sharing, branding and more. In my limited opinion it also may represent the future of peer to peer, business to business and business to consumer interactions.

Competition is good. Google + is keeping Facebook innovating and vice versa. As the user volume on G+ continues to grow and we start to see more than just early adopters and the who’s who of digerati. At that point, everyday Joe’s and Jane’s will also start to see the benefit of the entire Google + platform. I imagine those with a fear of change including the Facebook Faithful will, like me love everything G Plus has to offer. I look forward to being both a participant and bystander to the show.