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What is Google+ all about?

Well, I could tell you the facts and throw couple of buzz words at you (great interface, concept of circles, communities, ripples, transparent privacy handling, hangouts, SEO, more SEO, so much SEO you don’t know where to hide from it, etc.) Or I could tell you what is so much better on G+ compared to Facebook (the short version: pretty much everything; yes, it is). But I guess you can figure out all these things on your own. So instead, I’m going to tell you what Google+ is for me.

Three things:

  1. Learning about things
  2. Learning about people
  3. Listening and being heard

While the first one doesn’t need any explanation, learning about people is a complicate and yet fascinating process. It normally takes place in the real world of human interaction and not on a social network. But on G+, you start talking to people, at first about things and/or other people, but with time it goes beyond the ‘h/t’s, ‘great job’s and ‘thanks for sharing’s. With time, you get to know a real person behind a profile picture, things they care about, things that make them laugh, stories of their lives. Even if they don’t tell you directly, you’ll get a chance to figure it out because with time they start being more and more open with you. And this is the closest thing to a real human interaction I’ve ever seen on a social network so far. I guess it must have something to do with the kind of people all the features aka ‘buzz words’ of G+ attract.

The third one is my favorite, although I think it is ironically pretty far away from the real world of human interaction, at least in my books. Go try doing this in real life:

“Man, person XYZ, that thing you posted was amazing! I’ve been thinking about it for days. You probably do not know this, but you are in my Inspiration circle. Thank you so much.”

There is no way I could do it in real life, let alone to somebody important. Even if I managed to, there would be a lot of awkward silence. Also, you don’t get to hear ‘amazing’ and ‘inspiration’ on daily basis from me, not even on weekly basis. But when it does happen, because I can reach anybody so easily on G+, because I don’t need to wait for them “to accept my friend request” for me to follow their posts, because I can so easily re-share and tag them to let them know about it, I can just go and tell them what I thought at the moment I read their stuff. That they are awesome. That they are an inspiration. No strings attached. No awkward silence involved. And almost always they respond. And sometimes you start talking and learning from each other. First about things, than about people.

So I guess even if you took the SEO, the hangouts, and the color red from G+ (although this one would be a big disappointment), it wouldn’t matter to me if you leave the people, and the circles with the mentions. To be able to learn about things, to learn about people, letting people know they’ve been heard.