Today I am exploring using Google+ for my professional learning network. I have blogged about this a few times, here and here. Overall, I consider Google+ to be straightforward and easy to use, as per usual with Google.
What is Google+
According to Google,
“Google+ is a place to connect with friends, and family, and explore all of your interests.”
In other words, it is a newer social platform than Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. The features included in Google+ are a mixture between self-created sorting and a visual message feed for all networks, groups, and friends followed by a Google+ account.
My first experience with Google+ was a few years ago when my Gmail account was initially converted into a Google+ account. At first, my feed was empty because none of my friends or networks were posting, yet.
My first reaction was that it was bland, blank, and hard to figure out. Now, I find it more reliable, easy to follow, and likely to become more dominant with learning and professional networks. Google+ is a feed similar to Pinterest.
Layout and Interpretation
The posts are arranged by the number of columns that fit the window size and are scattered based on time posted (from what I can tell). Of course, browser and computer resolution have a lot to do with the appearance and number of visible posts. In any case, it isn’t a linear representation unless you drag the window to be so small that only one column (size preset by Google) will fit in the window. This style is conducive to exploring visually attractive posts that link to other web sources. This style is not conducive to determining a conversational post or event timeline.
After Using for a Few Months
Honestly, I don’t visit my Google+ community much. I think there are a few factors that don’t have to do with Google (i.e. the topic of the community I created is unsaturated in the Google+ world). There are also ease of use factors. I don’t find Google+ to be as easy to use on my mobile device as Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. I think there are a few tweaks to the mobile platform structure before it meets other social media network standards.
In general, I find Quora and Twitter more engaging for learning about different topics. I think this is because both mediums are more popular among my networks and because the message strength and length is much easier to digest on my mobile device.
I am not sure I will use Google+ much in the future. At the moment, I feel I have hit my social media network threshold for individual user attention. Currently, I don’t have the time or interest to keep up with so many networks at once. I recognize this may change.