A PR pro’s first impressions of Google+

Google + makes circles fun again!

Google + makes circles fun again!

When my first invitation arrived for Google+ I was deliberately unplugging and connecting with family over the 4th of July weekend. That delayed me a few days in starting until the second invitation arrived. After just a couple of play dates (yes, that’s what it feels like)  in the Google+ sandbox here are a few quick observations.

Circles are fun, remember? Yes, just like in pre-school, you get to play in different circles. Best part, you get to choose who you want to play with. That’s right, you make and label your circles of friends and they won’t even know what you’ve called them. And it’s so much easier to segment friends than it is on Facebook (or on the playground). From a public relations perspective, just imagine the implications of having all of your favorite journalist peeps or key bloggers in their own circles.

No games! (So far anyways.) You may love seeing what your friends are planting in Farmville but I use social media as an extension of me/my personal brand and I like to keep it on a professional level. (Yes, I’m the person who X’s out those Mafia Wars Facebook posts!)

Everyone wants to play: Unlike the networking invitation requests I get for numerous other sites this one caught my attention and seemed well worth spending time on. What caused me to notice was the buzz I was hearing from other enthusiastic thought leaders like Chris Brogan.

Strictly business (for now): Because Google+ is supposedly only issuing invitations sparingly I’m generally connecting with influencers and thought leaders that I already know from twitter. That’s quite different from the way I started on Facebook; first with family and friends then as an evolving business tool.

Let’s hang out: I wanted to hang out today (i.e. video chat with some of my friends) but darned if they weren’t all away! I’ll catch them next time and look forward to the Skype-like feature! Interestingly, right after Google+ came out with this, Facebook quickly followed suit by teaming with Skype for a video chat feature. Let’s face it, video connections are the way to go!

Where did that elephant in the room come from? OK, deep breath here…..Facebook appears to have a social networking competitor on its hands. Granted, Facebook has a significant head start of just over 750 million users, but things do change rapidly (Anyone remember bag phones?) What’s interesting is that these two behemoths will have tabs on just about everything anyone could want to know about us; and we’ll have freely given the information to them! Stay tuned and watch where this one is going. (I love this infographic comparing the two social networking sites from Guy Kawasaki.)

What are your impressions of the new social networking site? I would love to hear your comments on Google +. And hey, feel free to come find me in a circle near you.


  • I completely agree with you Mel. So far, I love Google+, but am dreading the day when the affiliate marketers, quote-aholics, gamers and 4square check-ins take over the space. I have noticed there are a lot more conversations going on, maybe due to the nature of the groups of people currently on the site. I’m trying not to fall in love with it too much because no doubt there will be a lot of changes once it opens to the public.

    • maryellen says:

      What great insights Kristina. Well, said. Don’t fall in love with Google+ because commercialism is sure to follow!

  • Jeff Brunson says:

    Thanks for the basic education here. Have heard a tiny bit about it. My invitation was a bit premature for me as what you have outlined here is the most I’ve heard. Obviously I haven’t taken the time to learn like you. So, thanks for doing that!

  • Linda Pucci says:

    Thanks for the heads up about this and the useful information from someone I trust, Mary Ellen. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning keeping up with all the new technology.

    • maryellen says:

      Thanks Linda. We can all feel a bit overwhelmed at times but it’s important for pro’s like us to keep up!

  • Amanda says:

    I love that there aren’t any games or companies on Google+ yet!

    One thing that my friend pointed out is that half the fun of Facebook is watching the drama play out. You can see who is dating who and get into political and social arguments. With Google+ the privacy settings mean that there’s less gossip — or voyeurism — which is half the reason that most people stay in touch with their high school and college classmates. If I were to post something politically controversial, I would post it so only my friends who might agree with me could see it, and avoid a debate.


    • maryellen says:

      Thanks for commenting Amanda. You raise a great point about the “voyeurism” provided by Facebook. I actually enjoy Google+ because it does seem more professional (so far anyways!) but how on earth will we keep up with what our neighbors are doing? 😉

  • Thanks for this info Mel – I am traditionally an early adopter but have not yet given in to this beta trial of Google + I joined foursquare this year and have had to turn off all the updates from people as I was having coffee shop envy!
    Tooo much of a good thing…

    • maryellen says:

      Love that one! Coffee shop envy. It’s funny but I always found reading people’s Foursquare posts a bit well, “boresquare.” Google+ is another matter. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

  • Sue Painter says:

    I’m in on Google+ but I need a primer how to use it well. Sigh…..something else to learn. I’m intrigued, though. I had to laugh at Heidi’s comment – some people who use FourSquare get around way more than I do!!

  • I’ll have to check out Google+ at some point. Love the idea of no games. Just one question: What are Bag Phones?

    • maryellen says:

      Ha! Tiffany, how quickly they forget. Perhaps they predated you or you were so young you don’t remember but the original cell phones were often carried in a bag because they were rather large and bulky. 🙂

  • Renee Preis says:

    Thanks so much for this!! I also have not adopted Google+ yet but soon will. Love what you wrote:)

  • Pratt Bennet says:

    Excellent points, many of which are the reasons that I’m creating a more business-oriented identity here than I have on FB. Am hoping that G+ will be much less sneaky about constantly changing the privacy rules to secretly sell everything they know about me, but that’s probably just wishful thinking. In the meantime, I am enjoying the more thoughtful discussions I’m having here, the complete absence of cute cat videos (for now, at least), and the lack of ads using friends’ profile photos. Would love this to be the NYT of discussion and sharing platforms.

    • maryellen says:

      Thank you Pratt. I completely agree that G+ “seems” more business like than FB, but it probably is just a matter of time. Still, the circle concept is so handy!

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