Blog | May 23, 2013 | 5 Comments

Google Plus or Minus?

Debate over the usefulness and popularity of Google+ continues as social media/marketing/communications/PR professionals struggle to keep up with the demands of social networking. Given the many other places to interact with people on the web, do we really need to hang around G+?

G+ does have some avid fans.

Many of you know I’m a great fan of BlogAid and its owner MaAnna Stephenson. MaAnna is a huge proponent of Google+ and her site is full of tips and tutorials about it. Her Facebook page has many posts about frustrations with Facebook (yes, the irony of that doesn’t escape anyone, including her) and praise for G+. The quality of interaction is higher on G+. Circles are an excellent way to organize your contacts. Hangouts are a great feature and can even be used for webinars. Communities link you to like-minded people. Last but not least, G+ is GOOGLE, and Google is God to site owners who need traffic to stay in business.

I got all that, but…

G+ was still a wasteland to me. Most of my friends and favorite colleagues weren’t there. I struggled to discover interesting contacts. I seemed to have nothing in common with 90% of the people who followed me. I followed promising-looking people and pages only to find that they never posted anything. But a few of the people I followed would never shut up, and I had to read about their kids, lunches, drinks, dinners, dogs, and cats.

Then – “Homelessness in America

This is a G+ community managed by Humane I found it one day in a desperate search for meaningful content for a client who provides homeless shelters and services. I immediately learned the value of a well-managed G+ community. Each day I participate on G+ (roughly every other day), I go there first to see what’s new. These are smart people from across the U.S. (and some overseas) who write and curate content on a topic about which they are passionate. And having this content available makes my work on Facebook and Twitter much easier, too.


So, before you write off G+…

Search on the topics that interest you and check out a few communities. Chances are good that you will find passionate, well-read people sharing good content. Unless you choose one of the 12 or so Grumpy Cat communities.

P.S. I will give Guy Kawasaki the last word.

As quoted in a blog by John Haydon, here’s how he breaks down the purposes of the major social networks (the “Four Ps”):

  • Twitter is about Perspectives. On Twitter, people share opinions, news, and quick updates. This is where you network with advocates, bloggers and peer organizations.
  • Facebook is about People. People you already know – friends you grew up with, went to school with, slept with, etc. This is where your community talks about you with their friends.
  • LinkedIn is about Pimping. People use it to find work or to find people with specific skills and connections. This is where you research big donors and sponsors.
  • Google+ is about Passion. People find communities, hangouts and other people who share specific passions, like music, filmmaking, technology, and photography. This is where you share your passions with friends you haven’t met yet.
Photo credit: Book jacket from “downTown U.S.A.: A Personal Journey with the Homeless,” by Susan Madden Lankford, available at


Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


A G+ page is also required to enable Google Authorship … and to benefit from Author Rank (if it ever happens). Just having the author’s photo and rich snippet display when an article is listed in search results was reason enough for me to join G+ earlier this year. 🙂


Claire Wagner Reply:

@Eileen, yes, those are very important point, too. Thanks for the reminders and for reading the blog.




Thanks for posting, Claire. I keep venturing over to Google + and trying to do something, but like you I found it to be kind of a wasteland. Clearly I need to find the right communities- I’ll keep looking!


Anne Janzer


Thanks so much for the mention, Claire. Communities really are the best places to interact on G+ and they’re growing every day.

I’ve started seeing some folks bring their Facebook habits there. Bad idea. G+ has it’s own culture. It’s about conversation, not empty ghost posting on a timed schedule. It really is about passionate folks engaging.

Oh, and you can turn the volume down on folks, Circles, and Communities if you want to follow but see less.


Claire Wagner Reply:

@MaAnna, I will have to try that volume thing. It’s only a few folks now. I unfollowed the people who could not shut up at first. I really think some of them were paid to fill up air space. Anyway, thanks for pushing me – I really think I would have given up if it hadn’t been for you.




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