Google + — You were touted as the next big thing — the savior of social media — the networking platform to render all others obsolete.
I took the bait, sought out a beta phase invite, and was among your earliest users. I connected with a handful of acquaintances (most of whom were already connections on Facebook or Twitter) and waited … for … the … magic … to … happen.
Just as I began to question the value of Google+, you introduced pages, and, again, I grabbed an account for my employer (a community college in the Philadelphia suburbs) on the very first day. This was it. I was sure.
But, you can’t add people to your page circles until they first add your page to their personal circles. And you can’t even message users to request or suggest that they add your page. Instead, the only way to promote your page on G+ is by posting a message to the people in your personal profile circles.
And here lies part of the problem. Acquaintances in my personal G+ circles have no interest in my employer’s page. So, besides posting the page’s link on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, WordPress, etc. (ironic, isn’t it?), there’s no way for people to know that a G+ page even exists.
Furthermore, if the right people are already interacting with our accounts on those other social platforms — which they are — why would they need/want to connect with us somewhere else?
Who, then, you may ask, are the 300+ followers on my institution’s G+ page?
Good question. I have no idea who these people are. They are certainly NOT our students, faculty, local community leaders, members of the media, alumni, etc. Many of them post in languages other than English, and, as of recently, many of them appear to work for Google.
Really, Google? Are your employees now following pages in order to pad circle numbers? These people don’t care about what’s going on at my institution or in the world of higher ed.
Which brings me to yet another part of the problem. Since the people in my circles have no interest in my content, there is NO (zero, zilch, nada) interaction.
And as a page facilitator, I’m doing all the right things. I don’t make it all about my employer. I share and repost links and other interesting content. (How do I know it’s interesting? The same content generates a ton of interaction on other social platforms.) And I interact with other people and pages by liking and commenting on their content. Is there an ounce of reciprocation? Nope.
So, Google, the question is, at what point do I stop investing hours of my time on a platform that seemingly nobody finds useful? At what point is the “cool” factor of having a G+ page outweighed by its complete lack of ROI?