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.

G Plus Hangouts and Hangout Canopy

So tonight I participated in my second G Plus Hangout. For those who are not on G+ and are not familiar with what a hangout is, it is a video chat with up 10 google plus users. Sunday was the first time I had joined one and I thought the interface was both engaging and smooth. As a result I have been keeping an eye on my stream for others to join.

Tonight after the kids were in bed I saw that someone my circles had started a hangout and was kind enough to invite me. I joined. I was immediately added to this hangout with 7 people. All very much interested in sharing dialogue and experiences that they have had both on Google + and Facebook. It was a great experience. As we were talking someone mentioned Hangout Canopy a new extension for the chrome browser that allows you to see what public hangouts are happening at that moment. I literally had just bookmarked the site to download the extension at a later time when Robert Pitt the Developer popped in to say hi and mention his extension.

If you are on google and looking for hangouts the Hangout Canopy extension is a must have in my opinion. It adds a little umbrella that is wedged between the address bar and settings wrench of chrome and allows you to quickly see who is hanging out. Being completely new to the hangout experience I think this extension is awesome and will gain hopefully some traction.

If you are on G+ and have yet to join a hangout, I highly suggest you do. The conversations that I participated in tonight varied from FB vs Google to QR code generators and scanners, to marketing and more. Granted my wife thought it was little odd that I was video chatting with people I didn’t ” know ” but the fact of the matter is that I was in the process of getting to the know them. Subsequently I have added some of those folks to my circles and some have added me to theirs.

Google + now boasts an estimated 50 million users. With that number expected to climb at breakneck pace, now is the time to get on there if you haven’t and acclimate yourself. If you are on their but not active, I highly suggest getting involved over there. Where Facebook is making sweeping changes that further impede our privacy and ability to not share each every piece of information of where we travel on the world wide web and what we do. Google + is a fresh and uncharted frontier with some incredible people that you can meet and network with. Hangouts are in integral part of that component. I have been circling and being circled but it wasn’t until engaged in a hangout that I felt that I was a part of the community and not just an observer. It was great.

As G+ grows and google makes additional enhancements to their platform it is only become a richer more rewarding experience. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for G+ and the programmers like Robert Pitt that are creating extensions and apps to run along side of it.

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