You know that scene in Broadcast News Network (thanks Rich & Marianne) where everyone starts yelling out their windows, “I’m mad as hell and I just can’t take it anymore?”
Well, after watching all of the goings-on on Google+ this week, and after doing my best to give it a reasonably fair shot, that’s kind of what I want to yell out to the online world.
Here’s the thing. When news first came out about Google+, I thought, “Hmm, ok, so another platform that may go away as quickly as Wave and Buzz did.” Then I saw all of the action Google+ was getting from the males in the online world, and what some of those males were saying, and I thought, “Hmm, sounds like maybe women will have a rough time making it over there.”
When I finally got in to Google Plus, I thought, “Well, at least I’m coming into this with a fair amount of Social Media experience under my belt. I’ve established myself as a credible blogger and a credible tweeter. I have a chance of getting to do some neat things early on in this new Google+ world.”
“It’ll be just like starting over”
One of the last songs John Lennon wrote (for the album Double Fantasy) was a song called (It’ll be) Just like Starting Over.” The song is particularly poignant because, of course, he passed away before he and Yoko could really start over like he wanted, but the song starts off with these two line:
Our life together is so precious together
We have grown, we have grown
Not to demean the song or get too mushy, but this is kind of how I felt about Google+. I was excited at the prospect of getting to talk to people who maybe I’ve only tweeted with. The idea of getting to converse in unlimited characters was rather interesting .
What I have found though, and what I think others are finding as well, is that Google+ is simply recreating the world of Twitter. People who had already made it big on Twitter or on Facebook already have thousands of contacts. People are gravitating towards the big names because the word got out that those folks were “accessible.” Meanwhile, folks like me, well, we’re chopped liver. It’s like starting over, but it’s not a pleasant kind of starting over. I’m finding instead that I’m in a position of proving on yet another social platform that I’m worth talking to.
That’s kind of frustrating.
I’m not asking for fame or celebrity or even equal treatment. I just want a chance.
To me, it feels like Google+ really should have been left to people who are so inundated with people on other platforms that they need a place where they can talk to each other and sort people out. There seems to be very little interest in really getting to know new people. The masses of people entering are looking for the big names, forgetting everything that engagement on other Social Media platforms has taught them (namely, chasing after big names will not really get you anywhere in the end). People who have thousands of contacts are getting so many responses to everything they post that it is already impossible for them to engage with people in any kind of new way.
I already know I can’t compete with those folks. I don’t really want to start all over again proving that I’m a nice third or fourth or tenth-place prize though.
My concern for you
If Google+ is your first dabble into social media, I worry that you are going to feel a little dazed and confused and discouraged, just like I did when I started out on Twitter. Folks with a lot of contacts on the platform are talking about how it’s a great place for conversation, how it’s increasing their blog traffic exponentially…and I don’t doubt that for an instant. But that isn’t happening for everyone. If it doesn’t happen for you, I don’t want you to quit or think, “Gosh, what am I doing wrong?”
You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s not about you. It’s about the way the platform was started and the way the masses are using it. Just like on Twitter, folks who want to stick around will have to find a way to get a voice in there, a new voice right for a new crowd.
What can you do about it?
Sharing posts by the big names, commenting on every one of their posts, and getting in their literal circle won’t be the best way to get where you will probably want to end up, but I know that the temptation is huge right now. Engaging with folks who are starting out just like you – that’s where the long-term gold is. Promoting others more than yourself – that’s still super important. Helping people out who are newer than you is how you can begin to differentiate yourself.
That’s all the stuff I’m going to try to do, at any rate. But I am a little surprised at how little credibility carries over from platform to platform when you’re a little guy. I wasn’t expecting that. Were you?
Or has your experience been totally different?
Image by pop catalin. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/catalin82