Google+ Communities: The Great, the bad, and why you need to Join

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In case you missed it, Google+ Communities launched about 48 hours ago.

It’s Google’s answer to Facebook Groups.  That new car The Photo Community - Google Plus smell jumps off the screen, but this is more than another shiny toy.

I caught the post Thursday on the Google’s Official Blog that Google+ Communities were being rolled out.  They showed some public community examples including The Audi Community, Star Wars, and The Photo Community (led by Trey Ratcliff).  The Photo Community has over 14,000 members already if you’re keeping score at home.

Later that evening it became apparent that Google+ users could create their own community.  Hmmm, should I do this?  What the heck, let’s give this a shot, and the Blog Community was born.  Come join if you’re interested in blogging and making connections.

The Great

The People – While the core of Facebook is friends and family, the active Google Plus user has more of an interest in industry and hobbies.  While Photography, Technology, and Social Media are some of the favorites, there is a wide array of topics that have a passionate following outside of the communities.

Categories - So you’re not relegated to one long stream of dialogue and content as is the case with Facebook.  The Google + Communities have categories which basically create communities within the community.  Below is an example of some of the categories from The Photo Community.  As you can see there are many categories that are included in photography.  This allows the member to hone in on a specific aspect of photography.  This is powerful.  Whatever your community of choice, you’ll find a layer that should no doubt keep your interest.

Categories - Google + Communities

Diverse Communities - Only two days in and there is no shortage of community topics.  There is something for everyone from Photography to Nuclear Energy.  Here are few to check out that look like they’re cooking already.

The Photo Community

deviantART Community

Real Estate

Space

Makers, Hackers, Artists & Engineers

Friendly Interface and Search – The Google+ Community interface and search really makes it easy for you to take a look at a community before joining.  The overwhelming majority of communities are set at public, so the door is wide open.

Community Search on Google +

The Bad

Well it’s not all peaches and cream!  Google has a good reputation of digesting user feedback and making adjustments to create a better experience.  It’s a little tough to be overly critical after only two days, but here are two flaws of the Communities that have been discussed widely on Google+.

Currently if you post on a public community that post will also be shown under your profile.  This can create confusion especially if you are posting consistently in several communities.  It can make your profile messy fast.  Google has to allow users in communities to choose if they want their post shared to just the community or to specific circles in addition.  There is no choice right now.

If you are creating a community, choose very carefully if you want to it be public or private.  There is no turning back.  Unfortunately, if the need arises to change from one setting to another you’re out of luck.  If you wanted to go from public to private you would need to delete the group and start over.  That is a problem.

Why you need to Join

Ground Floor on Large Network – Communities are fresh out of the oven, and a great time for you to create your own community of interest. It’s unbelievably simple to start your own community.  Be one of the first to start a community in your niche, and build it up.

Make new Connections – The active users on Google Plus are generally not the same active users from Facebook.  Most pick one or the other to spend the brunt of their social media time.  This gives you the opportunity to make new connections in a whole new environment.

Many of us have made our strongest online connections in Facebook groups, and I have a few that are still of great value.  However, Google+ Communities looks like it has the makings to be a special place, and I highly suggest you give it a shot.

 

If you enjoyed the article and found it of value, please share.  Comments are welcomed. 

16 comments
rgoutal
rgoutal

Well, as for your "highly suggest you give it a shot"  ....  some of your other comments inform me better. I get the feeling that I'll be playing with fire and get burned.

 

Like with Facebook, where changes happen daily, Google is not my kind of team-mate. 

 

"My kind"?  Not a geek!  With respect.

DrErica
DrErica

Steven,

 

Thank you for sharing this suggestion.  I am involved in several Facebook groups, several are either local networking groups or groups formed as part of a 6-8 week training course.  I also belong to several LinkedIn Groups, but I find it difficult to stay involved in the discussions and shared links to articles and blogs  in LinkedIn.

I am still reeling a bit from the dfficulty I had originally to even sign up for Google+ because they called my email an app email.

 

But now I am getting ready to start my own community so I like your idea to be the first, or one of the first, here on Google+.

 

Warmly,

 

Dr. Erica

dewane.mutunga
dewane.mutunga

I'm a HUGE Google + fan, so I'm loving this. I've been waiting for this for forever. Now there's almost no reason for me to have to deal with Facebook. While there are a few tweaks to be worked out as far as the communities are concerned, the rollout is here and I'm happy.

donnamerrilltribe
donnamerrilltribe

Hi Steven,

I have joined three groups already and find that it buzzing with activity.  I made several new blogging friends and they have visited my blog already.  What I like about it is that you have to ASK someone to join a group.  Where on Facebook, every day I have to "Unjoin" several groups people put me on.  So that is a plus right there. 

I do think the subject matter is limited, but maybe they will have some add ons as they grow.  I take the "what the heck" attitude on this one and have joined some groups. 

Thinking about starting my own...It doesn't hurt to try!

Donna

Scott Scowcroft
Scott Scowcroft

Thanks for the good information ... every little bit helps, especially the encouragement to start a community early in the game.

Michael Cudahy
Michael Cudahy

The community posts to my profile is my biggest beef so far, Steve. Overall though, I'm optimistic and enjoying the new communities so far.

Sharon Greenthal
Sharon Greenthal

Thanks for this great summary and overview of Google+ communities. Having just started on myself I am interested in any and all info I can gather.

Yourinda
Yourinda

Hi Steven,

what a great overview of this latest development.

 

It is good to know that if you are posting in a public community it will show up in your profile.

 

I like the way Google+ communities make categories available. 

Some which I have been invited to have a self-promotion category, which means it would be good to choose carefully how often we do that, since it will show up on our profile.

 

Thank you for sharing this timely and informative post.

 

Cheers,

Yorinda

FeliciaD
FeliciaD

Thanks for the article, I just started the first Makeup and Beauty Community yesterday and am interested to see how I can grow it. 

1Claudiu
1Claudiu

will be a great tool for both business & individuals (artists, etc) .

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @rgoutal Thanks for the comment Richard.  There is an abundance of trial and error with the myriad of networks and new apps constantly popping up. I jump into many of them to see if there is a heartbeat.  I understand some your distaste with Google (and Facebook), but both offer a slew of positives for users. I think Google+ Communities has a large upside.  We'll see. Please come again Richard, and have great weekend.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @dewane.mutunga Thanks for stopping by Dewane.  I agree wholeheartedly.  Other than 1-2 groups on Facebook, I'm not finding too much use for it.  Google+ is part of my daily routine, while Facebook gets a visit time pending. 

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @donnamerrilltribe Hi Donna,

Yes that's a great point about waking up and being joined to 5 Facebooks groups out of the blue.  You don't know what hit you.  There is are definitely some wrinkles to be ironed out, but that is common for a new offering.  See you in the communities Donna.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @Scott Scowcroft Thanks for the comment Scott...Yes, there is a lot of info to sift through out there...I think getting on bus early with these opportunities is pivotal to growth and sustainability.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @Michael Cudahy Hi Michael.  Absolutely, that is a big issue.  I'm betting that Google makes that adjustment sooner than later.  Yes, it looks like a good core and I feel confident that it can be something special.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

 @1Claudiu Yes Claudiu definitely looks like it will be of value for users...They just need to get some kinks out, but it's only been two days...