It’s been just over two years since I wrote this post about Twitter and my trials and tribulations there. At the time, I was writing as a geek having a grand ol’ time exploring the people and content that twitter kept offering up, second by second, day after day. Twitter kept right on growing its userbase and that userbase kept right on producing more content, 140 characters at a time. Over that two years, I’ve taken a few breaks from Twitter. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the thousands of tweets, even when using programs like Tweetdeck to filter, filter, filter. Over that same two years, I’d eventually come back to Twitter. We’d shake hands, agree that bygones were bygones, no hard feelings, water under bridges, etc, and we’d get along great for many more months.
Now you may have noticed that this is all written in the past tense, and I guess it’s for a reason. I don’t see myself keeping up with twitter anymore, as the new kid on the block is stealing all the limelight…
Just over two weeks ago, search giant Google started beta testing Google+ [Wikipedia article here]. If you don’t yet know what that means, visit that link and keep reading…Google+ is Google’s entry into the social networking market. Wait, what? Wasn’t that Orkut? …and Buzz?… and even Google Wave to some degree?
Yes, but think of G+ as a culmination of all three of those plus a dash of unique features, and that seems to be the magic ingredient.
Google touts “Circles”, “Streams”, and “Hangouts”. Circles are equivalent to Facebook friend lists done right the first time. Streams are feeds of content (articles, blog posts) tailored to your interests. Hangouts are group video chats, and from what I hear they’re a blast. These little things might be all it takes to offer up real competition to both Twitter and Facebook, the Social Media whales.
And just like that, there’s now a G+ on my Social Media Report Card.
Google is ramping up the hype with Plus just as they did with Google Wave, and Gmail before it. Currently the service is in “limited field test” and is therefore invite-only, though invites are going out pretty steadily now. Google CEO Larry Page publicly stated that G+ has already hit 10 million users, and it’s only been in beta since June 28. With that in mind, there’s a pretty good chance you can get in. You’ll need a google account (gmail, picasa, etc) and then just wander over to plus.google.com. If the signup page says they’re at capacity, just keep refreshing the page over the period of an evening. Turn the TV on, queue up a movie on NetFlix, and every so often just refresh the page.
If you have friends who can send you an invite from within the service, even better! Just be aware that an invite doesn’t guarantee you an account as the signup page can still claim they’re over capacity if you visit it from the invite-email link.
For more information about Google+, Christopher Scott (a colleague of mine at OWGM) has written a great blog post about his experiences. I don’t intend to think about it as hard as he has, so you’ll have to get that from him.
If you’ve managed to sign up already, I’ll leave you with a link to my G+ profile, and a link to a cheat sheet that Jason Perlow shared publicly. I almost forgot to throw in the collaborative book on Google+ written using Google Docs.
And that’s all I have to say on the matter right now. I have to stop myself from gushing about all the nice stuff because really, everyone else seems to be doing that. I wanted to be a little more neutral in this post, a little more informative and a little less opinionated.
Google me? Plus me? Circle me? They all sound awkward, but what I’m trying to say is: Come connect with me on Google Plus. Let’s hang out!
If you are using G+, how’s your experience been? Let me know in the comments so I can round ‘em up for the next post!