In case you missed the latest from Google, it's called Google+ Communities. Google launched Google+ Communities just a few days ago and there has been an incredible amount of buzz around them. So what's the big deal around this 'new thing', right? And why will Google+ Communities be the next best thing for your business?
Once upon a time, the modem was a new thing. And for a while, most people didn't even really know what it was, though a few sort of, well, geeky types might have known it was that "thing" that made weird, Star-Wars like noises. You could hear the touch tones through the speaker as it dialed, and then some squawking kind of noises when it connected, and then, hopefully, it did something interesting.
Like I said, most of us didn't exactly know what it did.
Then something interesting came along for modems to "do," and a few more people started to care. Early online services called bulletin board services, or BBS's came into being. Did anyone notice that somehow many of them seemed to revolve around online gaming and dating services? <grin>
Then the internet came into being in a new way via some of the early service providers like Prodigy, Genie, and AOL, to name a few, and there were places on these online service providers for people interested in various topics to leave messages and information about topics, not to mention gather together and talk in real time in chat rooms. The internet and the World Wide Web evolved further (aka Web 2.0, aka Social Media) came into being, and once again, people are gathering in places to talk about different ideas, interests and shared activities.
In each of its forms, each step in the development of the internet has had one thing in common. It's about connecting people. And each step made it easier for people to gather and exchange ideas whether separated over time or in real time.
The next step in that evolution of online experience is here, and it's called Google+ Communities.
Let's take a step back for a minute, though. I know there are a lot of people who just don't like Google+. They say it's a ghost town, that it's too difficult, and that everyone is already on Facebook.
There's just one problem with that – it's just not true.
Google released some pretty interesting numbers this past week. They released information relating that they have over 500 million users with Google+ accounts, 235 million of whom are active "across Google" and 135 million active users "in the stream" (in the past, they've used that definition for people either actively visiting plus.google.com or viewing it on a mobile device.
135 million active users. Let's compare that to another service, such as Twitter. According to their numbers, they have over 140 million active users.
So if Twitter has 140 million active users and Google+ has over 135 million active users, by my thinking, Google+ isn't sounding exactly like a ghost town, is it?
Many people haven't seen Google as user friendly because of its organization around people (Circles), without a way of organizing into groups such as in Facebook.
Communities have changed that. Actually, with the Google+ growth rate, communities might be changing everything, and here's why.
By creating communities in Google+, it's possible for you to connect with millions of people who are interested in a particular topic that you might not have been otherwise connected with or able to find. And because they've joined a topically based community, you know from the get go that they're interested in what you might have to say on said topic.
It's like a chat room on steroids.
And for building a brand, it's huge! Joining communities related to your niche gives you the chance to listen and share value related to your area of expertise. It's market research and market exposure, all in one.
Getting started with Google's communities is actually quite simple and you probably could figure it out without a tutorial. <grin> But in case you need one, Google has done a great one and you can find it here.
I'm excited about Google+ communities! Connect with me in my newest community, Boom! Social Media with Kim Garst here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104473674568333068014. Let's connect!