Monthly Archives: January 2013Blog

Understanding Google Plus

If you’re like me you’ve had a hard time figuring out, much less using, Google Plus. Do we really need another social network? Then about a year ago Google changed its privacy policy and began integrating its many properties. Now you’ll often see a Google log-in for services like YouTube, where it didn’t exist before. There’s a method to the madness though, and it turns out Google Plus is destined to be the hub of Google’s services, which in the long run has the potential to be a far more integrated and meaningful approach to social networking than we have seen to this point.

Most people believe [Google Plus] is just another social networking service where all of our friends are supposed to join and share photos, status updates, and messages with each other. But it’s really not that at all.

Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass.

This articles goes on to show how services like Google Authorship and Google Plus Local Business pages all come into play to make Google Plus membership a must have. I think it’s time to take a second look at Google Plus, and be ready for a migration to come some day soon.

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LinkedIn Endorsements: Frictionless = Meaningless

LinkedIn seemed to have hit on a great idea: let members endorse other members for their specific abilities with a single click. Problem is, it’s so easy to do that endorsements have become meaningless. Everyday I get endorsements. Then dutifully I go and return the favor by endorsing my endorser. The result is a click-fest that distorts what people really do. Judging by my endorsements, I’m an expert in SEO and web marketing. These are things that I offer to clients, but our strong suits are design, technology, strategy and digital media (code for ‘video’), all of which appear at the bottom of the endorsements list on my profile. And because that list is so prominently displayed, visitors will totally misconstrue my business. Hopefully they’ll read the summary portion of the page, but does anyone read anymore?

There is a way to make endorsement relevant, however. Make them harder to give. The article below suggests a couple of ways to do this:

Right now, endorsing is way too easy. When you go to a connection’s profile page, there’s usually a list of categories in which they can be endorsed. If you click the “Endorse” button, you endorse that person in every category … remove that all-in-one feature and you’ll probably get rid of a lot of spurious or unintended endorsements. Second, when you endorse, give the endorser the opportunity to expand on the thought by citing a specific project they both worked on …

LinkedIn’s endorsements point out a greater problem, however, and that is how companies are, more and more today, creating features that benefit themselves and not  users. A solid endorsement mechanism could provide value if it reflected companies’ and individuals’ true worth. Something like that already exists: recommendations. But they take some effort to write. It’s easier for users to just click an endorsement. Yay! pop the cork and celebrate our brilliant feature. Everyone’s using it. But if there’s no meaning you just end up with lots of data signifying nothing. Unless what really matters is LinkedIn’s user engagement numbers.

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