I’m on Google+! …Are you here yet?
My introduction to Google+ (or as my friend likes to call it, “G+, you must call it G+ from now on!”) came — as many of my new online discoveries do — with an innocuous Gmail claiming my new allegiance to a fledging network. My mind flooded with the usual questions: Who or what is a Google+? Is this another Buzz or Wave, a.k.a. another attempt by Google to get in on social networking? Will there be cake?
Well, G+ has been flapping its wings for about a week now, and while there’s been no cake, there’s certainly been plenty of activity — from TechCrunch’s claim that it’s the “Big Bang” to Mark Zuckerberg’s dominance of the platform. Big moves for a platform that most people aren’t even on yet — it’s still in limited “field testing,” and many of my friends don’t have access yet, or those that do haven’t been very active — we still mostly communicate on Twitter, or post statuses and links on Facebook.
What seems to be making the biggest difference so far is the hallowed “Circles” option. Social media users have been clamoring for more network intimacy. Now 10 of your closest friends can see some things, while 35 people you like but only met once at a party will see others. Best of all, those acquaintances won’t be offended when you put them in a circle labeled “acquaintances,” because they won’t know — you can’t see how other people actually categorize you. Just like in our minds.
I’ll be waiting and watching — excitedly! — to see who jumps on board and how the FB vs. G+ brawl will play out, and how this will change the landscape when G+ introduces profiles for businesses later this year. For now, I’m learning about the G+ network with everyone else, and that’s the most exciting thing.
Meanwhile, here are 9 things to keep in mind about the platform.