Google Plus – Should you and your Library be there?

Google Plus is all the rage this week – invites have started spreading around (here’s a link to my Google Plus account – feel free to friend me!).

Some tech leaders have been making big claims about Google Plus, saying things like it will replace blogging, they’re moving from Facebook to Google Plus, it will take over Facebook or Twitter, etc.

Ok … Google Plus is only a week or so old. WAY too early to predict the demise of anything – especially of something like Facebook, with its 600 gazillion followers. Also remember that this is a third try for Google – Waves and Buzz both sorta fizzled out. let’s give it a good 6 months to a year to see if it survives.

On to the more important questions – should YOU be using Google Plus? Should your Library/organization?

You – this one’s easy. If you get an invite (or have an account already), by all means sign up and play around with it. Friend people, do some posting, try a video chat. Get familiar with the tool. Then either use it or not … that part really depends on you. But since it has some early potential in becoming another useful social media tool … why not at least play with it a bit?

Your library/organization – this one’s a bit more tricky. Or not – Google Plus isn’t supporting organizational accounts right now, according to this article from Search Engine Land. This article from ReelSEO goes one further, saying Google Plus will shut down an organizational account (though there are a couple out there [DLK – oops. Google found those, and they’re now 404-nothing found pages. You might check this out for some news orgs, from Moonflowerdragon in my comments] anyway).

So for the time being anyway, Google Plus is an individual-only network. That’s great, because it gives you time to play with the new tool, and gives Google time to see if it’s a winner (translation = profitable) for them.

Once that happens, and Google OKs organizational accounts – should you be there? The answer is … it depends. Are your users there? If so, then yes. Recent national stats claim that 51% of people age 12 and up are on Facebook – that’s 51% of your community, so it definitely makes sense for most libraries and organizations to have a Facebook presence.

But for other social networks, it really depends on your organization’s goals, and on where your customers tend to gather. If they start gathering in Google Plus, then yes – you should figure it out and be there for them.

If not? Maybe not so much. Time will tell!

And a question – are you playing with Google Plus? If so – what do you like/dislike about the service? Let me know in the comments!

  • Amanda Goodman

    Thanks for posting this. I was just starting to think about creating an account for my library! 

  • Will Marlow

    Very sensible post on Google+.  I agree that people are a little too eager to announce that G+ is capable of unseating Facebook. 

    After using it for a week or so, I actually think that G+ is more of an information-centric tool than a relationship-centric tool, and I think that that puts G+ in direct competition with Twitter, not Facebook.

    As for librarians and libraries, the best advice is that there is a big value in being an early adopter on a social network.  Lots of the most popular Twitter users, Flickr users, bloggers, owe some amount of success to being ahead of the curve and adopting quickly, before the spammers join in.  Even if G+ does NOT have staying power, there is a lot of activity there right now, and it’s a great place to share, learn, etc.

  • Colleen Greene

    Academic libraries should definitely be there because so many of our students, professors and staff are already on Google Apps for Education.  Educators seem to be very excited about the potential for using it over Twitter and Facebook (I’m working on a post for Monday about this). 

    I’m already planning a Google+ class next month for our campus faculty, and drafting my recommendations for how our subject librarians can partner up with professors using Google+ for class circles.

    Just waiting on Google+ to officially allow organizations…

  • Israel Yáñez

    I have been playing on Google+ and prefer it to Facebook because I have
    easier control over what I share and what I read.  Managing circles in
    Google+ is much more intuitive than managing friend lists in Facebook. 
    Facebook seems to make it difficult for you to control what you share. 
    Also the dynamics of adding folks to circles are very different. I don’t feel slighted if someone I added to a circle doesn’t add me back. It’s not like having a FB friend request ignored. :)

    The hangout feature has potential for collaboration in education.  It is
    also interesting, as a social, fun thing to do.  Today I tried it out
    with family in Texas and California and we sang Happy Birthday to a

    I don’t think Facebook needs to worry. And I certainly
    hope Google+ isn’t trying to be Facebook.  I hope it continues to
    develop in its own direction.  I can see myself leaving the clutter
    Facebook has become for the cleaner pastures of Google+.

  • Will Marlow

    Israel — if what you say is true, shouldn’t Facebook be very, very worried?

  • Israel Yáñez

    With 750 million users,  I don’t think FB needs to worry.  Apparently, there are plenty of folks who enjoy those spammy apps; I’m just not one of them.

  • moonflower dragon

    David, while the links you gave appear to have been closed, the news I’ve seen shows a strange contradiction in policy .v. practice. News organisations seem to be posting through Google+ without restriction … with only three of the accounts in that list now 404’d

    I haven’t been playing enough to say what I like about Google+;

    I don’t like the sporadic discrimination against online identities – there are many people I only know through their screenyms.

    I will love it better if delicious’ new developers whip up a feature to let me post while I’m tagging useful items, just as I can to twitter, although I can see wrinkles if one would want to share into limited circles.

  • moonflower dragon

    I was just about to disagree with Will about G+ being more information-centric than relationship-centric and then realised I’m not sure what Will meant.

    However, my perspective is that relationship is ongoing interactive activity and people do that (when sufficiently motivated) wherever they have a line of communication.  It would take too long to compare the features of the tools mentioned, but I would note that:

    When I read David’s Google+ location ( of this blog-post he had six different commenters there than here; only one so far at Twitter (that I could see {!/calloni/status/91938856206737408}); and oh dear having to remember how to open Facebook…. hm, none that I could see at Facebook (

    Of course this may be explained by the fact that the topic of Google+ usability was inside Google+ and would have less relevance for Twits or Facebookers. Although perhaps interested readers from either of those followed the link to here (me via Twitter/echofon – hadn’t yet circled DLK).

    As to whether libraries should (when permitted) create a G+ account:
    Donna Feddern expanded on David’s point about it depending on whether a library’s users are there, to include the fact that it may depend on whether the library is capable of participating in conversation – which comment reflects an aspect of the challenge for any organisation seeking to optimise its ?community outreach? through social media.  Conversing with an organisation is not one of my objectives in participating with social media, but I do follow one or two for their events notices and others for their information distribution; and have enjoyed receiving contact from one or two organisations I have mentioned.

    David’s was the first (that I’ve seen) cross-posting of Googleplosnik’s outside blogpost. (Oh and BTW David, do you have a simple tech-tip for achieving that, or was it manually done?)

  • davidleeking

    Yep – the cross-post was a manual one. 

  • davidleeking

    Yep – the cross-post was a manual one. 

  • davidleeking

    Yeah – those were closed fast! And agreed – the Delicious thing would be great.

  • davidleeking

    Yeah – those were closed fast! And agreed – the Delicious thing would be great.

  • Erin Seeger

    My favorite part of Google+ so far after playing around with it for the past day is the option of creating circles and sharing different information with each. It makes sense!

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  • Diana Moore

    I am waiting to suggest to my director that we get onto Google+ until some of the kinks are worked out.  I’m watching it right now and playing around with a personal account.  I could see it working out really well for libraries, though, especially with hangouts.  Group video chat would be a great way to do information literacy instruction or book clubs or have guest speakers or… (my creative juices are flowing!!!)

  • JoeSmith

    I had been using Google+ till they banned me because I refused to use my “Joe Smith” “real” name, using instead the name by which everyone knows me online.

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    It will be great to see Google have a way to enable business to take advantage of Google Plus. Also if they retain the DO FOLLOW on links it may also be beneficial for SEO purposes.


  • מתחתנים

    i dont know…i mean, i like my privacy and prefer to keep some parts of my life private.

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