Google+ – The Forgotten Social Layer?
Anyone who has followed my blog for some time will know that I’ve been championing the use of Google+ (or G+ for short). It has some great features that out-do some of the more limited features of other social networks.
One example is the 140 character word limit on Twitter. G+ posts have a limit of 10,000 words (apparently), although that would be a might large post!
One of the best features in G+ is the use of circles. This enables a user to group people together into like-minded people. I have used this to some degree. I’ve put a screen grab of my circles below:
What this means is that I can target my G+ posts to the people that will be interested in seeing that content. This is a completely different feature to Twitter for example, where you just tweet out to ‘the world’ and hope for a response. Granted through Twitter you can target it by adding in some Twitter Handles (@) but you can also do the same through G+ (+).
Another great feature is G+ Comunities, where like-minded people can join with others to comment, post and debate whatever interests them. These work much like the LinkedIn Groups, although my experience has been that you get a lot more interaction and reaction on G+ Communities compared to LinkedIn Groups.
Another great feature (and arguable the best feature for Housing) is the use of G+ Hangouts. They are remarkably easy to use. You just click on the option and invite who you want to join. It is that simple. For me, the real opportunity is using this option as part of customer services, for customers to contact an organisation to query something. Or better still, organisations can hold G+ Hangouts for tenants to join and interact with staff by asking questions.
Other organisations on G+ have been quick to jump on the G+ Hangout bandwagon. A popular option is to ‘broadcast’ to people through a G+ Hangout, much like a YouTube channel, but instead of this being pre-recorded, it’s a live conversation between 2 or more people. This can also be recorded for anyone to watch at a later date.
I’ve also heard of people using G+ Hangouts for talking to remote staff, for things like supervision. I know that you can use Skype for the same kind of thing, but G+ Hangouts allow you to integrate this into a much wider network of staff and customers.
But one of the best things I have heard about G+ is it being described as a ‘social layer’ rather than a ‘social network’. I hadn’t really appreciated this at first, comparing it to Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks available, but it really doesn’t quite fit into that bracket. You can do so much more with it.
So, I hope I’ve convinced some of you to join G+, have a play with it and find out what it can offer. Go on, you know you want to….
**If you are interested, I also run my own Google+ Community called ‘G+ Housing Community’ where like minded people can post, query and comment about the use of Google+. Just click on the below image.**