ramblings from the hive mind

Everybody's Talking

22 November 2011 | View comments
Damien Austin-Walker

Google+ LogoThis last week I have seen a lot of talk, and writing, about Google+ and whether charities are, or should be, using it.  I'm not talking about charity professionals using their own personal accounts but organizations setting up and using the new Google+ page functionality. Since Google launched pages on Google+ earlier this month everybody seems to be talking about it.


Social media on your cornflakes

“Treehorn liked cereal for breakfast. But mostly he like cereal boxes. He always read every single thing on the cereal box while he was eating breakfast. And he always sent in for the things the cereal box said he could send for.” - excerpt: The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide

Much like Treehorn, I like social media for breakfast. But mostly I like social media platforms. I read almost every single post on my favourite platform’s stream each morning while eating breakfast and on the train to work. And I always sign up for new social media platforms.

Well, not always. But I am both a speculator and a protector. I join some platforms simply in case they become useful or popular. It can be advantageous to get a head start and begin building a presence, reputation and community before it goes mainstream. You also don’t want to hang back and then find someone else has started using your (or your organization’s) name. Even if you don’t use the service, it’s not great for your brand or search engine ranking if it is being used by someone else, so protect your name.

No one is here right now

I agree with @RKtweets in his Guardian article - Why Google+ is no match for Facebook or Twitter – yet.  Book it. Try it. Watch it. But don’t let it take you down a blind alley, or steal your valuable time.

Hanging out

The one Google+ feature I have heard a number of people get excited about is Hangouts. Hangouts are Google’s version of live video chat between two or more people. Toby Blume of Urban Forum says he has used Hangouts for team meetings. Sylwia Presley is hosting a Voice Social Media Breakfast on Hangouts and as Ben Matthews details in this AskCharity post on Google+ the International Tibet Network used Google+’s Hangout features as a platform for a press conference. If you want ideas on how you might use Hangouts check out 25 Crazy Google Hangout Ideas by Brian Krassenstein which Michael Litman shared on Twitter this week.

What do I think of Hangouts?  Well, I have tried it a few times. ‘Hangouts with extras’ allows you to share your screen, share documents and make notes. Sounds great, and follows Google’s strategy of stitching all their products together into the “uber platform”. Presently it all feels a bit like Wave did, trying to do too much and overwhelming people with features they don’t know they need yet. This philosophy worked for Apple but Google have never been particularly good at pulling it off. So it feels like mere mortals are leaving it to the social media Jedi for now. For me it’s also too slow and unresponsive to use properly and has crashed more often than not. I’ll be sticking with Skype for now. If you have positive, and stable, experience of hangouts I’d love to hear.

Google pwns* search

However cautious about new social platforms I am. However many times I have seen Google fail with it’s Jaiku, Wave and Buzz. The bottom line is that Google still owns search. While it does you would be foolish not to watch carefully to see if Google+ grows to influence search results and and if it really can be the glue between all their products.

You can find Damien on Google+ here:

Pwn is a slang term derived from the verb own, as meaning to appropriate or to conquer to gain ownership. The term implies domination or humiliation of a rival.

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