I love a good paradox, I really do. Which is good because I often think my whole life is contained in a huge paradox of sorts. I am a marketer that actually dislikes the root concept of marketing. I spend my time on social media, but in a large group I’m not that social. I love the work I do, but I hate change and online marketing is always changing. And at any given time (often simultaneously),I love Google and then I hate Google.

Needless to say, Google plays into all and Google Plus touches on all. After acknowledging that I naturally resist change and grumbling as it is in my nature, I got over myself and spent some serious time trying my best to find my happy place on Google Plus.  

Giving Google Plus a Try

Like most things, at first, I don’t think I like Google Plus. Granted, I know that Google must find a way to “do social” and I expect Google to do it well. That’s the “I love Google” part of me talking. I am self aware enough to know that part of my resistance is because I am still feeling a bit hurt by Google Buzz  which I had invested time into and before that, Google Social Search results, which was, for all the hype, a #fail. Once bitten, twice shy and I don’t believe the new “Google takes on Social with Plus” hype, but still, aside from the fact that it is my job to know these things, new internet real estate excites me. New tools to help me do my job better excite me. A new arena to leave a mark excites me. Yes, I am geeky like that.

So I spent a weekend trying to love Google Plus rather than the perfunctory mental “Oh right, I forgot about Google Plus” that I usually say to myself when I am in and out of my Google account. While I had previously not bothered fleshing out my “circles” and updating my profile, I will admit it was the author attribution aspect that began to soften my anti-plus outer coating. That and knowing that Google Plus was still relatively untapped except for our marketing circles and I am always one for claiming my slice of internet pie. Plus, I love figuring out how internet tools can be optimized for the most ease of use and to better serve the needs of  our clients here at DragonSearch. I expect the lights of heaven to open up and the angels of marketing to sign down upon me as I delve into the Holy Grail that is Google Plus….ahhaaahhhh….

clouds with google plus logo

So now, with the ability to make branded business pages and add multiple admins of the said Google Plus Brand pages, it was time to make the investment. So I created my own pages. I added Google Plus buttons to Blogs. I added author attribution codes to blog templates. I linked accounts, added pictures, uploaded videos and observed search engine rankings.

And I have to admit, no lights shone down from the heavens. No angels sang from the skies above. I’m still not thrilled with Google Plus, but now I can say why.

Three Reasons Why Google Plus Isn’t the Social Game Changer

Lack of Account Integration:

First off, I know that I am slightly anal about integration of social media. What can I tell you? I like efficiency and one of my favorite phrases (and things to do) is try to kill two birds with one stone. I have a lot to do and I like to save time.  I love the fact that Google keeps buying up stuff so one can sign into Google once and then be able to run around all day online and have everything connected. Analytics, Feedburner, Blogger, Search, YouTube… great! Let me get to them all with only having to remember one password (or one password per client). As it is I already have too many Google identities associated with the real me already. DragonSearch Claudia has one log in, DragonSearch the working company has another, then Claudia the adoption advocate has another, and then I own at least 6 more versions of myself with other emails attached to blogs and websites and Google services because we tend to use Google apps. Why can’t Google realize that ONE person can have many Google type emails and allow me to get into ALL of them with just one set of credentials? There are just not enough browsers in the world to allow all of me to be online at once! And that’s before I even start doing any client work!

I want to be able to merge all my different emails and have them access the single Google Plus account that is ME. I don’t want different Plus accounts for different aspects of myself.

Sharing Isolation:

I just made that phrase up, but I like it. It perfectly describes the Google Plus concept. The idea of Google Plus is to share with your circles and Google wants us to take things that we find online and add them to the Google Plus stream. Yeah, you can take a link or an image or whatever and add it to Google Plus, but what happens when you find something cool ON Google Plus? Can I take a cool image that I see in my stream and bring it over to Facebook to share? No. This url https://plus.google.com/u/0/ , is what Google gives me when I click on both +Erica Joy‘s sad Cookie monster image and +Anissa Mayhew‘s snarky images of the day. To GET the actual individual URL for sharing elsewhere, I have to go to that person’s page, find the post and then click on it.  Now, I have all my accounts connected where I can. I am lazy… err… efficient like that. I would think that Google, who wants us to be using and loving Google Plus, would WANT traffic to Plus pages? Does Google think it is so supreme that they don’t have to play well with others?

Here’s a radical idea, how about adding SHARING buttons to Google Plus? Let me share a FROM Google Plus to Facebook or Twitter. And, no, I don’t WANT to have to be using a macro or app on Firefox to use it.

Google Plus is Confuzzeling:

Ok that’s a word my kid’s made up, it’s a combination of confused and fuzzy, but it works. I find Google Plus to be confuzzeling. And here’s the problem, I might not be a rocket brain surgeon, but I know my way around a website pretty well. I also have a good sense of direction and I can tell my husband exactly where his wallet was last of that yes, there is pesto in the freezer and while at work, I can guide his hand to the pesto right in front of his face. (Top shelf to the left, look behind the coffee!) For the life of me, it must take me 6 minutes to find the area where one can add admins to a Google Plus page.. every single time. Something in the set up is just not logical to me. And if it’s hard for me to manage it, then I’m sorry, how is the average person supposed to work Google Plus into their everyday life?

chart showing usage of google plus among google's managementThat’s the thing; They WON’T.  And I know this because many of my other rather web savvy, but not hard core marketers or geeks, internet friends haven’t even begun to understand the reason why one has a Google account aside from Gmail, YouTube  or to get into Blogger to comment.  What Google Plus offers is just not what regular people value and so far, with the functionality I have seen and tried (oh I tried) to love, it’s not going to be a Facebook Killer. Proof is in the Mashable Pudding… Lookie this handy dandy pie chart from theunderstatement that shows even Google Management hasn’t really adopted Google Plus… Ouch.

Google Plus is to Marketers as Facebook is to The Rest of the World

There within lives the final paradox of Google plus. It is all the rage because as internet marketers we have waited for Google to join the social arena and rushed in, as is our nature (or grumbled slowly, as is mine). Plus is a playground for our own kind, but our kind alone and therefore, really not that much use to the average user or even an average business.  At least, not yet.

Yeah, that’s the “I love Google” part of me talking again.