An article explaining a little more about a culture of collaboration on Google+

Introduction

When +Denis Labelle said to me many months ago, “We are a team” it hit home what we are doing on Google+.

It is through sharing content, in particular, that enable messages to spread.
Later he pointed out we are the G+neration, which I have adjusted to Generation+ for this article. This got me thinking about the movement from Generation X to Generation Y and beyond…

Gen X and Y:

Here are a couple of definitions…

Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western post–World War II baby boom. While there is no universally agreed upon time frame, demographers, historians and commentators use beginning birth dates from the early 1960s to the early 1980s.”

Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Commentators use beginning birth dates ranging somewhere from the later 1970s or the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The 2007–2012 global financial crisis has had a major impact on this generation…”

Generation Y is considered to be a more collaborative, socially aware, globally considerate etc. than Generation X

In a way, Google+ and the technology that will be built after this initial phase of integration, will provide the social structure for much of the ideals of Generation Y to be manifested. And, of course, Facebook, Twitter and so many other technological platforms that have bought people together are all part of this journey. Maybe then, Generation+ is the emergent of the values of Generation Y yet transcending the limits of date of birth.

The role of team on Google+

As well as finding your niche and being persistent, as +Jaana Nyström told me early on, very often people are collaborating on Google+ in formal or informal teams.

Since launching the commoogling concept back in September 2012, we have had a considerable change in the system with the launch of ‘communities’. And as such, I believe that the members of the 45,000+ communities built to date are now all commoogling to come extent. Google+ communities are all commoogles in their own right, with their own cultures and degress of support between members.

It is worth considering at this point that an organisation is, in effect, a team. Most often, people align themselves more or less to the values and directions of the strategic plan and play a role in getting there. The same will be when people become ‘organised’ in less formal ways, or when they form part of a community based around a shared interest or passion.

This shift from an individual acting alone to an informal arrangement of people working together is one of the powerful aspects on Google+; and it manifests in mutual sharing and trending topics i.e. where people come together and use the same hashtag as a way of communicating/binding within a theme. This can then take on a life of its own as it goes beyond the network initiators of a hashtag.

These teams as +stephanie wanamaker, The Hashtag Queen, and +Robert Partridge attest to have tremendous resource to spread messages across Google+ with their own memes! But anyone working together in any way is in effect a team, even if the don’t codify it in this way. An idea virus cannot be spread by one person alone. See http://www.sethgodin.com for more!

Application in Google+ communities

As many of your will now know, I believe a culture of collaboration and mutual support is one of the foundations to a positive experience in a community. Without this, we tend to ‘pull apart’ instead of ‘pull together’.

Since joining Google+ I have seen so many people engage around the idea of a collaborative culture/helping people simply as part of the shared culture within which we live ‘virtually’.

Now we have so many ‘places’ where we could spend our time, the real question for me is…”where do we put our attention?” I believe this to be especially relevant now we have Google+ communities, as in particular, we all can see our attention shift from ‘place to place’ during our time on Google+; and sometimes our activities are behind the closed walls of communities.
But what is the outcome we are seeking from that behaviour? It is still very early days with Google+ communities, but some of the factors will include: belongingness, finding an appropriate audience for content, the ability to connect in either ‘private’ or ‘public, engaging in strategies for monetization, sharing trade secrets, and so on.

How could this relate to the concept of Generation+?

Google+ communities have given us the opportunity to ‘find people’ and as such, maybe Generation+ (or Gen+, G+neration) are no longer bound by a date of birth, but more by a common understanding that we can become increasingly connected in, as +Vic Gundotra says ‘new ways’. Google+ communities, with the tools of hangouts and events, being some of those ways.

During my time on Google+ I have seen several waves and I feel personally there is currently an increasing focus on the role of team.
We are individuals, yes, but we are part of something that is dependent upon each other.
I know that we are stretching the term ‘generation’ here beyond a birth date but already seems to have happened with Gen Y in any case.
This is about connecting in new ways and on a global scale.

+Denis Labelle, who seems to be the initiator to many thoughts in this article, said “the future is ripples”. In the context of team, it will be “sharing” more than comments/+1s that makes you make of people’s team. The proof will be in the pudding ripples.

In an increasingly transparent future it is sharing that shows you are part of a team i.e. the evidence is shown in the sharing, in the ripples.
When you add in the emotional/relational exchanges through comments and time in hangouts you begin to gain a fuller picture of how positive relationships allow information to flow.

Conclusion

In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
I must stress that it is still very early days on Google+. People in the wider world may even be doubting that Google+ will ever happen but, again as +Denis Labelle says, “Google+ is Google”.

“The social layer across Google’s products and services”, +Vic Gundotra is something that needs to be experienced to be grasped. In my view the engendering of a supportive colloborative culture, with teams coming together on projects enables a binding force between people – and once again connects more people in new ways.

And to conclude with a final quote from +Denis Labelle
“The best is yet to come.”

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