So in this post, I goobered out over Google +.
I was stunned that really smart people who I really like were looking at me and saying, yeah, another social media site. I’ll look at it when I can integrate my blog feed.
And I realized I was too goobery and too fluffy and too excited about organization and potential. I tend to look at all of these sites from the viewpoint of research…sourcing…are they viable investments of my time? So it’s time to talk about why I put time on the site every day.
Here’s the deal:
Point 1: Google+ has in excess of 25 million profiles. And it’s not even 60 days old.
There are other professional networking sites that have much less or a few more and are years old. Like Xing (10 million) and Viadeo (35 million). Plaxo has 50 million, but really, when’s the last time you went on Plaxo? I know, I know, Facebook has 750 million. But remember…G+ is in field test. It hasn’t been unleashed to the global community. When that happens, watch out. Where are the users? Check out these stats from Mashable.com to get a feel.
Also check out this little graphic here that shows you the social network adoption cycle. I think it’s a good reference point to really get a handle on where sites have been, are going, and have gone. You can see who stalled early on, who grew and who may be about to jump the shark.
This nifty graphic highlights what I really love, a straight to the top soaring flight for G+ in numbers of adopters and the speed with which they’ve adopted the site. When do you get to see that?! The tech guys think Google+ will have more users than Twitter and LinkedIn in a year. Just think…this is without real advertising, it’s word of mouth, articles…but not mainstream advertising…which is coming.
I have this thought on these graphics….we’ve had plenty of practice with Social Media sites now, I mean they’ve been around for ages. And perhaps timing is everything for success.
Point 2: Google+ is accessible, it is part of Google after all. And who doesn’t Google something at least once in a day? From talking to my peers in the DC Metro area, I know there are still several companies that block access from the company server to social media sites – in particular Facebook, but sometimes LinkedIn unless the recruiting team has made a business case to have access to it. I had one of my friends who I knew had FB blocked at work test out Google+ and it was all a go. Accessibility win for G+! And if you don’t have access to Google+? Again, there are invites for the field test – they’ve opened it up to 150 per user, all you have to do is email me through here and I’ll connect you with one.
Point 3: People come and stay. And not to play games. To engage. Granted it may be to augment their profiles, post pictures and whatnot, but they’re getting their feet wet. Average time on the site is just over 5 minutes. There’s debate if that time is truly rising or dropping, but it’s a wait and see scenario.
Point 4: It’s fiscally responsible. Yes, it’s free. I can bring my whole network in with me, email/message/huddle with whomever I choose, and it’s costing me my time. I can search the site and find people, and again the cost is my time. I had this conversation with a marketing friend recently and he interpreted my thoughts as “I hate LinkedIn”. I do not hate LinkedIn. I love it. It’s a part of my daily research life. But I worry about my research budget being gouged. So far, what I’ve invested I’ve gotten back- but there will come a day when I won’t. I know it, I’ve been in this business too long not to know it. And as 20/20 hindsight encourages me to say…LinkedIn was once free…we need to take advantage of Google+ for as long as we can.
Is Google+ perfect? Absolutely not. From the researcher point of view, I keep circling back to the same issue I’ve had with every social media site, the profiles created have no mandatory fields, so I’m relying on user generated content. But Google+ has given every user space to grow, not restricted by character space or impossible privacy settings. So, again, I come back to potential. And I’ll be telling every darn jobseeker I meet why Google+ can be so important to their job search.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.