Since the launch of Google Search, when people have a question they tend to pull out their phone, tablet or computer and type it into Google. But there is something occurring within the Google+ environment that is increasingly changing how we behave…
Sometimes when you ask a question you don’t actually want or need the answer. Ok, so sometimes you want ‘the answer’ to questions like “when was the Golden Gate Bridge opened?” but so often other times you want ‘an answer’ ‘or a viewpoint’ ‘or a suggestion in a totally different direct’, especially when you trust the opinions of those who are giving them.
Take the example of “what is the best phone for me to purchase?” – this is dependent upon your personal needs and we may want a conversation with people whom we trust. It is also sometimes useful to have multiple viewpoints and a Google+ community can allow this to happen in a thread of comments as well.
Google+ Communities: Using the human resource
When people arrive in Googleplusville, they may well experience a new phenomena in the same way I did when I became active on the 6th March 2012. I found a community built around mutual help and support unlike anything I have experienced previously, without hangouts being a pivotol feature for me.
So often a group of us will get together and work in virtual teams, accessing the resources and knowledge we need – and simply ‘pinging’ people into the room (i.e. the hangout) if we needed to pull in some extra expertise, tapping into whatever part of the global brain we may require.
Since then, however, we have seen the appearance of about 50,000 Google+ communities, as some might say; and as such I think now, the whole world is starting to Commoogle.
A couple of quick examples…
One Friday afternoon, I’d been Googling something akin to…”Why won’t the metatags on a WordPress article change to new ones, when I drop it into a Google+ post?” (with an appropriately ‘foot stampy and petulant voice tone to boot) and, no surprise here, the results were not exactly what I was after. So I go for “metatags not updating in wordpress” and that throws up results I don’t feel are quite right either.
So what do I do?
In a fit of despair (ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but certainly I was irritated) I go to Google+ (as if I ever leave!) and search within Google+ for communities about ‘WordPress’, find one, press join’ and post the same question there.
Within 10 minutes I get a response from Stephan Hovanian as to the reason this is happening and how I won’t be able to do what I want until the site gets re-crawled by Google.
So, in less than the space of time it took me to think up a ‘First World Problem’ meme caption, I have been given a reason for the problem and a ‘hey, stop searching as it is out of your control.’
This was very handy as it allowed me to leave it and move on.
Ok, next, I posted in a Podcasting community for a little advice on how best to record a Hangout-On-Air and a podcast at the same time. Within about an hour I had several people respond with advice, links and offers of support. It was Jim Collinson who suggested we hang out, so we did. He spend about 40 minutes educating me and, quite simply saving me money, time and effort whilst enabling me to get started with the project. I cannot imagine in any way how I could have achieved this without Google+
On another occasion, Fendy Winardi gave me some simple advice in a hangout on sprucing up a Google+ Tutorial document which really made it stand out; Dustin Stout was just a conversation away to lend me his awesome design skills; and George Sepich is always on hand to give his expert marketing mind to any project. I could go on…
Why is this so incredible?
Well, with Google+ communities not only can you meet like minded people around existing passions, but you can also find the people who can help ‘shift your problems’ and facilitate ease of learning new things as well.
This may sound a little obvious to some, but think about it for a second…
Don’t we, so often, stop projects because we don’t have the answers?
If you have both answers and also feel you have support network set up where you can continue learning, well, this could well enable life long learning as we flow better through our blockages.
When you combine the ability to ‘find the right people’ with the connectivity of ‘hangouts’ it can lead to learning new skills and then their implementation, in a very social setting.
The Google+ communities to which you belong will determine to some extent your sense of belongingness. Knowing, however, one can simply dive into other communities, ask questions and be enlightened on just about any subject area on the planet has is incredible. Learning has taken on new meaning with Google+, you simply need to ask “What do I want to know or learn?” and then find the people in the community who can help. It is awesome.
When you combine our networks and communities with Google Local reviews, with +1s on Pages and Adverts, and results in search with Google authorship, we can see how ‘social’ is now integral to Google. ‘We’, it would seem, are increasingly becoming part of the fabric of Google.