Google+, Day 24: Is Google+ a More Engaging Social Network?
Then we have Google+. On Google+ the comment was +1'd 17 times, and there were 43 comments. The debate went on among myself and eight other individuals, and included discussion between commenters, and shared links pointing to other resources. All in all, I would have to say that Google+ won that battle of social network engagement as well.
Today, I tried one more time. This time I decided to talk about breakfast cereals and ask people to choose their favorite (I voted for Lucky Charms). I expanded my audience on Facebook to include both my personal Facebook social network, and my Facebook Page which lets people who aren't in my network follow my posts as well. The combination of personal and public personas on Facebook is a more apples to apples comparison to the mix of people that see my posts on Google+, and brings the total Facebook audience up to around 2,500.
The cereal query only got two responses on Twitter. Opening up the audience, however, had a dramatic effect for Facebook. The post got four responses from my personal social network, and another 13 from people on the Facebook Page--including some "Liked" comments. Meanwhile, Google+ is a little behind on this one with only 9 comments so far.
Putting Results in Perspective
The problem right now is that the level of engagement is artificial. Either way you look at it--whether engagement is unusually low or unusually high--can be blamed on the fact that Google+ is a limited "Field Trial" that is not available to the general public.
My experience indicates that there is more interaction than Facebook, and more opportunity for meaningful dialog than Twitter. However, the audience on Google+ right now is an audience that is made up primarily of tech geeks who are on Google+ specifically to engage and see what it is all about. Check back three years from now when the novelty has worn off and it is just another mundane way of sharing information with a group of people.
Conversely, there are many who report that Google+ feels like a ghost town. But, Google+ is an invitation-only environment with only 25 million or so users, while Facebook has 750 million plus, and Twitter boasts 300 million or so. It is hard to be social on a social network where only a fraction of the family, friends, co-workers, and others you normally share with are even available.
The bottom line is that the verdict is still out, and it will be out for quite a while. It seems, based on my experience so far that Google+ is, in fact, a more engaging and social network, but only time will tell.