The Million Dollar Question: Is Google+ Worth It?

In a recent Harvard Business Review piece, the author, a well-known social media strategist who oversees, among others, the famous twitter brand of Shaquille O’Neal (@Shaq), begs one simple question that’s, well, not-so-simple.

Paraphrasing: “How do I monetize social media? And if I can’t, why bother?”

This question couldn’t come at a better time. With the recent launch of Google+, being lauded as the latest and greatest in an already saturated field, I find myself, a social media fan, beginning to wonder what the hell I’m doing and why.

In any given day, we’re all running from pillar to post trying to manage everything from meals to family quality time to business responsibilities to pets to houses to . . .I’m getting exhausted just making this list.  It’s a wonder we have a minute to simply sit and think anymore. So why more options?

Let me get this straight. . .

Did you hear that Michael Dell has been hanging out on Google+? Seriously.

I was kindly invited by a couple of my friends to become a part of their Google+ Circle. No offense, darlings, but when I went to the blank page that should soon become my new profile, I had a sinking thought. “Please. Don’t make me.” I found myself unenthused by the option that lay ahead.  I know this newest social network will supposedly help me manage all of my social spaces, including iTunes. But honestly at this point, I’m being resistant.  I’m not sure if that’s good, bad, or just plain ugly.

I manage my personal accounts, my business account, and several of my clients’ accounts. I also share in managing this blog’s account. How on this great green earth am I going to find time for another account? Or should I just jump ship from Facebook and swim happily over to Google+ and abandon my seven-hundred and something Facebook buddies? Read here for a detailed account of how Courtney Jeffries of the Social Media Club manages her Google+ account, and why she (and no doubt thousands of others) loves it and all things Google.

Here’s the thing. I’ve already figured out that ‘monetizing’ social media is not the point. I do like Google Places, for my clients, and this article from Inc. Magazine gives kudos, and cred to the app.  I’m cool with that, and with a lot of things Google offers.  But I’m not monogamous.  I like variety in my social media.

Still, as Martin says in her HBR piece, expecting to monetize your social media time is like saying ‘let’s monetize the phone’.  And, actually, you are monetizing your phone, you just haven’t thought of it that way.

If you didn’t have a phone, how do you think your business would look today?

You are sending and receiving messages in a world of email and faxes and Facebook and Twitter and land lines and cell phones and televisions and newspapers and blogs and . . . well, you get it. Connecting is not the problem. The question is what are you doing with those connections? Are you actually engaging with your followers, or are you shouting into the wind? Do you comment on other blogs; do you re-tweet interesting links or comments on Twitter; do you share cool, interesting stuff on Facebook?

Are you making your mark? If so, is it really you or is it an ‘alter-you’ that’s created to impress or sell or even confuse?

All of the hoopla over Google+ has left me wondering.  Am I wasting my time on social media, or has it impacted my personal life, my business, my politics?

Are you going to Google+? If so, will you abandon the others and be monogamous? We want to know what you’re thinking out there about the onslaught. Because frankly, I’m starting to feel like I’m at the bottom of a pile-up!

Is it time to re-assess social media and its worth?  Let’s discuss.


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6 Responses

  1. Susan Busa says:

    Even though I’ve joined Google +, I still don’t know what I think about it. Or to be honest, I haven’t had enough time or energy (or real interest) to read up on it and figure it out. It’s hard enough to think of something interesting/clever/thought provoking to post on Ping to Facebook, Twitter, and so on so that people will read, act, respond or whatevah so that my Klout score goes up and I get an invitation to join Spotify, etc., etc. Social media could easily become a full time activity but it’s not my actual work. It just sometimes feels like it.

  2. meryl steinberg says:

    Thank you for expressing my thoughts on this so well. “Monetizing” is what we have to do to as and exchange of our talents and service. When money becomes an end goal instead of a means for manifesting some good to ourselves and society, society… and the individuals within it… begin to breakdown.

  3. Christine Cox says:

    http://gigaom.com/2011/06/28/why-google-plus-wont-hurt-facebook-but-skype-will-hate-it/ I like this piece on why Google+ won’t hurt facebook, but it WILL hurt Skype. Fascinating stuff.

    And Meryl, you’re so right. If we’re not using social media as a way to simply connect and improve the world around us, what’s the point? Why does EVERYTHING have to be seen as a ‘money first’ deal?

  4. Christine: it’s no wonder we get along so well. I signed up for G+ but now it just sits there. It took me a while to warm up to Twitter, too, so who knows? We’ll need to send our friends who love it so well over here to give us the lowdown.

  5. Emily Cox says:

    FB is enough, can’t imagine goin farther down that road. Not unless my friends n family go there first!

  6. coffeeyogurt says:

    I felt, and still feel, this way about Twitter. For my purposes, anyway. Just don’t have the time to stay active on there. In my profession I haven’t found much use for it. I’m reserving opinion when it comes to Google+ because I’m not up to speed on it’s offerings. As for Facebook, I would say it has been a real plus. Reconnecting with people I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. Hasn’t been a business plus, however.

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