Understanding and Evaluating Google+

Are there “right” and “wrong” ways to use Google+? There are right and wrong ways to use any tool. You can, for example, use a jackhammer to tenderize a steak. The result might be different, but if you’re especially skilled with it, it might work. Ultimately, the tool is theoretically capable of performing the action you want if you have enough skill to operate it. You probably can’t do open heart surgery with the jackhammer. No matter how skilled you are, that sort of work is beyond the ability of the tool.

Likewise, Google+ is a tool that has uses and as a result has some things that can be less or more effective. Let’s assume for the purposes of this article that your goal is to grow a large, valuable network that promotes real world goals for you, your organization, etc. What can we ascertain about social networks from their network and content philosophies?

Social networks generally come in two network flavors, asymmetric and symmetric. Symmetric networks are version 1.0 of social – to be my friend, I have to be your friend. To be my fan, I have to be your fan. Asymmetric networks are version 2.0 – you can follow me, but I don’t have to follow you in order for you to derive benefit from my work on the network. Twitter was the first to figure this out; Facebook took a while but finally implemented it with (Fan) Pages, and Google+ came out of the gate as an asymmetric network.


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