The problem I have always had with social networking is how it made me treat my relationships. If I wanted to keep business relationships separate from friend and family relationships, I had to use different social networking sites: LinkedIn for business and Facebook for friends and family. Fine, I can deal with that.
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However, even within each of these social networking sites, I don’t like how they treat my relationships. Is my relationship with my business partner the same as my relationship with my accountant? No! Is my relationship with my college roommate the same as my relationship with my mother? No! Yet on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter they treat all my Connections, Friends and Followers the same. Everybody sees everything.
Enter Google+ and ‘Circles’
While it is only 3 weeks old and is available by invitation only, Google’s new social network, Google+ (AKA Google Plus and G+) has already gained an enthusiastic following of over 20 million users. I share their enthusiasm because it appears Google+ has solved my social networking problem with its ‘Circles’ feature.
Google+ ‘Circles’ are simply collections of connections that you can drag and drop into logical groups that reflect your existing social circles in the ‘real world.’ No longer will your worlds collide because everyone is lumped together. You can create separate circles for Family, Work Colleagues, College Friends, Customers, Association Members, Bowling Team, Board of Directors, etc. Then, as you share your updates, you can pick the appropriate Circle(s) that can view your updates. In addition, you can quickly click between the news streams of your different Circles. In addition, your Google+ profile can be customized by Circle, so you can hide elements of your profile from certain Circles. This sounds very promising!
Google+ Has Other Interesting Features
In addition to Circles, Google+ offers a number of other interesting features:
- Hangouts: This feature allows you to conduct video chats with up to 10 people at once. This can work well for meetings with colleagues and chatting with friends. Combined with Google’s text chat feature, this could spell trouble for Skype.
- +1 Button: The +1 button allows you to publicly show what you like, agree with, or recommend on the Web. It works similar to the Tweet, Share and Like Buttons you see on most sites, however you can segment your +1s by Circle, as well as +1 right from the Google search results.
- Sparks:This feature is like having a personal searching agent that continually scours the Web looking for things you find interesting. After you setup your interests, you will start receiving articles, videos and other content that match your interests. In addition, you can easily share your Sparks with your Circle(s).
While it is still very early, I think Google+ has the potential to be a social networking game changer. By letting me treat my online relationships the same way I treat my offline relationships, they have brought social networking to a new level.
Do you want to get an early start with Google+? Contact me and I will send you an invitation.
Bob DeStefano is an online marketing strategist and professional marketing speaker with more than 16 years experience helping industrial companies leverage online marketing to produce bottom-line results. Connect with Bob on the Web at www.bobdestefano.com and www.svmsolutions.com or by calling 1-877-786-3249 x3.