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Since 2013 slapped 2012 in the face and took over our calendars, I’ve been getting more and more involved with Google +. Many a neigh-sayer has claimed it is a waste of time and will ultimately fail – I (and a host of others) aren’t so sure. Read on to find out why Google + has snared a chunk of my social media affection.

The quality of discussion is high

I’ve had some really great debates and discussions via G+ recently, its functionality allows for flowing conversations and questions and comments that can easily be aimed at the appropriate participant by using the ‘+username’ action. The content that the people I have in my circles share seems to be of a higher quality than what digest via Twitter and LinkedIn – this facilitates a higher level of chatter and in-turn creates a much more valuable experience. Responses to any questions I’ve asked have also been in-depth and considered – spam also appears to be at a minimum, so threads are rarely over-run by nonsense alá LinkedIn Groups.

The basics work very well

When Facebook brought in the Timeline, they really messed up the way photos are displayed – a crazy move for a platform that harnesses images as a key component of user’s experiences. Google + takes your pic, scales it down and automatically displays the full image on your profile. Simple! It also makes it very easy to add a video, either from your computer, via URL or YouTube. The overall G+ interface is slick and clean, not cluttered with nasty ads and all other manner of nonsense.

The full pic is shown in the image preview on G+.

The full pic is shown in the image preview on G+.

It’s part of the Google infrastructure

I use Gmail and Google apps – G+ integrates beautifully with them, making transitioning between the two very easy. Many people are in the same boat as me and view the slickness of having all things in one place, under one sign-in, as a huge attraction.

Author Rank makes my blog posts stand out

If you search for my blog posts, the majority of the time, you’ll see a little photo of my face beside the Google search result. This is due to Author Rank. You can’t implement Author Rank without a Google + profile. The importance of AR hasn’t yet been really been defined by Google (although they are getting closer to doing so), however I’m sure it increases the CTR (click through rate) on my blog posts, and who doesn’t want that? The SEO (search engine optimisation) effects of Google+, its ‘+1’ mechanism and social signals in general should not be ignored! Get your content on Google +. Now!

Would the author's mug-shot make you click?

Would the author’s mug-shot make you click?

The apps are truly excellent

I use G+ a lot via my iPad, mainly due to the fact the app is just so damn pretty and easy to use. This is mirrored in the iPhone app. It has taken Facebook a long time to create an acceptable mobile app – Google Plus has achieved this early.

I like the tiled display of the iPad app.

I like the tiled display of the iPad app.

The community function is a winner

I recently set up a community on G+ for a group of writers that I’m trying to work with the rejuvenate the poor old Social Penguin Blog and so far I’ve found the functionality great, and again, the integration across my Gmail etc has been very helpful. Hangouts are pretty neat too and I expect usage of those to rapidly increase in Q1 of 2013.

It’s not Facebook

I keep Facebook for friends and family and tend to ask business associates etc to connect to me on LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook, however the conversation based functions on LinkedIn aren’t great, so G+ offers me a place where I can have more immersive interactions with people within my online business circles. I’ll ignore the fact that Facebook is becoming a more and more of shambles for users for now, that’s another post/rant for another day.

So what’s not to like?

Very little, other than the fact that some people I’d like to be able to converse etc with on the network aren’t using it. Public awareness is on the rise and active user numbers have rocketed recently – whether those people are there to stay remains to be seen, however I’m not sure a quieter place to hang around is such a bad thing.

I make no apologies for using the word ‘digging’ in this post. You dig?

Are you using Google +? Is it on your radar in 2013? What do you like/dislike about it? Please do tell in the comments below. You can follow Velocity Digital on G+ here.

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Mike McGrail

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