The Real Minus of Google+

Google+ the hype and group of individuals

If you have been living under a rock or are just not social media savvy, you may not heard about Google+ which is Google’s newest foray into the social media platform industry.  Called Google Plus, the platform which is only accessible via invite has surpassed 10 million users in just over two weeks.  The shear amount of activity and growth in such a short period has generated a lot of conversation in social media circles.  Conversely Facebook took nearly two years to surpass the 10 million mark.  Of course that was 2004 t0 2006, and the adoption rate of social media by the general public has grown by massive proportions.

I’ve spent some time on Google+ and am enjoying testing out their new platform.  However, it’s a new platform, and I can’t imagine how businesses and professionals who are struggling to use social media for their companies are going to adapt to using a third tool.  For many, using Twitter, the 140 character mircoblogging platform proves to be too too much.

The Real Minus of Google+

The hype surrounding Google+ is happening because of three separate groups of individuals:

  • Social Media Influencers.  People like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Robert Scoble are driving conversations.  I watched as in under 10 minutes Robert Scoble reached 500 comments on a single Google+ thread, reaching the maximum comment engagement level.
  • Affiliate Marketers & SEO Experts.  These individuals are looking for a way to drive traffic to their websites.  There are literally thousands of how to guides, YouTube videos, infographics, and tips on how to use Google+ on the Internet many looking for their 15 minutes of fame.
  • Early Adopters.  These are folks who are generally curious about the tools.  They follow the hype, stream, information and are curious to check things out.  For all intensive purposes they are much like the influencers without the massive amounts of community.  Many are programmers, computer geeks looking to test drive the shiny new object that is Google+.

I find the amount of information, hype, and conversations staggering.  To be honest, I’m not all that impressed, and maybe that’s okay.  I like Google+ but miss the banter and casual conversation on Twitter where I can meet, greet, and talk with people through the casual nature of the platform.  Creating my circles is a chore, recreating the wheel when I have groups and closed communities created within the confines of the familiar place that is Facebook.

But what really has me fired up, disenchanted and what I believe is driving the underlying hype around Google+ is something completely different.  The minus of Google+ is the over information, countless amounts of videos that are undeniable attempts for shameless promotion and high priced book deals.  These are the things that are driving the hype over Google+.  Not it’s usability or the ease of use, but the lust for a book deal in the race for social media supremacy.

It’s not about the tools, or the people, or the ability to engage in a different way.  So if you think it’s really about the engagement, you’re very much mistaken.  It’s about the money, influence, and cold hard cash.  It’s about the race to the book deal for Google+ and to me that’s the real minus.  The real minus of Google+.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kirk Baumann says


    Well put! I agree – G+ is interesting, but I love Twitter. G+ does seem to have to reinvent things…I don’t have time for that to be quite honest. Thanks for putting this out there. I think many of us feel the same way.

    PS. Nice post title. Seems familiar… 🙂

    Kirk @kbaumann

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says


      Thank you for the comment and suggesting that I put my tweets into blog format about this topic. I was hell bent on not blogging about Google+ because I didn’t want to be like everyone else, and I’m glad I took your suggestion.


  2. Donna Svei aka says


    I agree with much of what you said.

    However, job seekers really can’t afford not to engage on G+ at some level. Why? Because G+ offers the most easily found and searchable profile on the Internet. And it’s always free to recruiters and job seekers.

    What’s the minimum level of engagement? A fully filled out profile and a weekly public post to keep your profile refreshed for search results.

    Donna Svei
    Donna Svei on G+

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says


      Thanks for the comment. This is post is not really about job seekers but business professionals. You can use G+ and create an interesting and effective profile that allows you to be found in search with a url that links to a pdf or your resume or bio. Job seekers can use this to their advantage because Google+ is SEO friendly.

      I’m just not sold on the need for yet another platform.


  3. Michael says

    Hey i just wanted to say that i think you exactly right, except what the world isnt recognising is that google+ is still in beta testing which is why it is invite only atm and why only social media intencive users are signed up. It will take quite some time for them too take over facebook and twitter on the regular user end of things. Plus at the moment only 3/4 of the online web apps that runn alongside google+ have been released, so we dont even know what google has got up thier sleeve. Great blog though. Good facts.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks Michael. I’m just not yet ready to sing Google’s praises just as you said much of their product package is yet to be released. Once that happens maybe my opinion will change.


  4. Jonathan Crouch says

    Hi Jessica

    I tried Google + because I was led to believe it was like Facebook, only ‘easier’ to use (I despise Facebook – for a well used piece of kit, it always leaves me knotted in circles whenever I try to use it – and links don’t seem to take me back to the admin page i wanted to go back to… all very weird (and I don’t consider myself a novice at this sort of thing either).

    So first impression is it’s how I think Facebook should be but I appreciate the hype that you describe – I just hope it doesn’t put people off too much.

    Talking with un-tech savvy businesses… I sense the same “i’m put off” sentiments about Twitter. (I’m here on twitter –

    Cheers for the thought provoking post though.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks Jonathan,

      G+ is in beta. It’s like a buying a pair of paper shoes. All their design features aren’t there yet and it’s still under construction which makes me think that the first book will be outdated even before it hits the bookstores.

      Technology moves too fast. . .


  5. Dorian Gray says

    G+ is a brilliant tool with mountains of potential. I have spent so much less time on affected my klout score. Lucky for me I never age, so I can make up for lost time.

  6. Brecca Farr says

    Thank you for the interesting blog. And self-promotion is an issue, but I don’t think it is limited to Google+.

    I also completely agree that there is still a lot to learn about the potential for G+ and that there will be a number of individuals who will not likely find need for another platform beyond what they use right now (be that Facebook and/or Twitter).

    However, what can be of value with Google+ is the opportunity to have one place to update and maintain connection with multiple groups. For example, I work as a Career Consultant at a public university. There are students I want to keep updated about various events and internship/job opportunities. There are also career-related professionals with whom I enjoy learning about current trends in the workplace. Thus, have have two sets of audiences and two very different professionally focused conversations. In addition, I have my personal group of folks who are not going to be interested in either of the previous two topics. G+’s “circles” are, in my opinion, very easy to set up and allow me to be in one online location for everything; therefore, the convenience is highly attractive to me.

    Of course, the kicker to all this is time to see if there were will broad enough appeal for the system such that it becomes the dominant form of social communication. Until then, I may have simply added to my list of things to do. *sigh*

    * * * * *
    Brecca R. Farr, Ph.D.
    Human Sciences Career Consultant
    Oklahoma State University

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Hi Brecca,

      Thanks for your comment. For those of us that have been on Twitter pre-Oprah the launch of platforms like G+ is so very different. I’ve watched as thousands of people write how to blogs, videos, infographics many looking for an opportunity to get a book deal or sell a webinar. It’s interesting and very different from the early days of Twitter which I really liked. People talked and had conversations which is what social media is really about.

      The issue with G+ for your jobs and opportunities for your students, is how Google will index that information. With Twitter I can easily see how items are re-posted and there is a fast paced flow to things. I don’t yet see that with Goole+ but as they update their platform that very much change. I like Twitter in that I am exposed to so many different people and we can do things like host a chat with thousands of people talking to one another at the same time. I don’t see that yet for G+.


  7. The Animated Woman says

    I was one of the curious. I was invited about a week ago and my impressions have changed with each passing day. I too love the familiarity of Twitter and FaceBook, the followings I’ve worked so hard to build as an audience for my humor blog. I quickly realized that in all the 10 million G+ users, there is no audience. Everyone is on the stage yelling and shouting and trying to grab at the spot light. But there’s no one in the seats. It’s noisy.

    I’m going to give it a chance to calm down, but meanwhile, I’m exhausted. Adding this new sm platform to the not inconsiderable amount of time and attention I continue to devote to my loyal Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon followings is taking its toll!

  8. Michelle Luhtala says

    As a fierce advocate for free-range media in schools, I often embed instruction in Facebook, which is blocked in 87% of high schools, according to 250 responses to an informal survey my colleague put together. Facebook can feel a little clunky for assessment purposes – collapsing comments, and scrolling issues definitely present challenges. I am curious to see if Google+ better serves this purpose.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks Michelle, I hope so. It seems that it might especially since you can share material with a group that you select. It’s also less likely to be blocked by IT servers at schools and companies.



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