Why Google+ Engagement Surpasses Twitter Activity

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Why there is more engagement on Google+ than on Twitter? Is there? You may ask. For me there is.

In the recent weeks some tech writers have complained about the perceived lack of engagement on Google+ – They base their complaints on a statistic by a third party that compares Facebook and Google+ time on site per month. In short according to the study people spend hours on Facebook and only minutes on Google+

We don’t have reliable data from Google itself so the FUD spreading.

Many already claim that Google+ is dead. Others focus already on the next social media darling Pinterest.

I don’t want to point out the fallacies of the report. Who am I to debate with some renowned tech writers. What I will do is to reflect upon my own experiences. In recent weeks and months my social media activity gradually shifted from Twitter to Google+ to the point where Klout says that over 85% of it takes place on Google+

I was quite wary of Google+ at first, I have wasted lots of time on Google Buzz and other failed Google services.

Nonetheless there have been several issues with Twitter and advantages of Google+ that made me in the end an avid Google+ user despite my longstanding success on Twitter where I have an active and often very helpful following. Naturally many people who follow me on Twitter also added me to to their Google+ circles but I have still approx. four times as many followers on Twitter than on Google+

How come then that I get engagement on each and every post on Google+ unless it’s really off topic and often my tweets remain unnoticed?

One of the main advantages of Google+ is that there are several kinds of engagement possible.

  1. vote [+1]
  2. reblog [share]
  3. comment
  4. mention [+name]
  5. message [+name]

You may argue that you can do all of these and more on Twitter​

  1. favorite [star​]
  2. reblog [retweet]
  3. comment [@name]
  4. mention [@name]​
  5. message [dm]

Ask yourself though:

  • How do you use the favorite star compared to the +1 button?
  • How often do you DM people on Twitter and what for?
  • How often do you comment on tweets and why?

Your answers my differ from mine but usually these features are not inherently social. You favorite once in a while to remember a tweet. You DM people instead of mailing them for quick messages. You only comment on tweets when they are broken links or you disagree completely. At least that’s the way I do it and I see people do it who follow me.

I know that there are people who favorite a lot. There is even a site collecting the most favorited tweets. They are usually humorous or celebrity tweets. Some popular people also get lots of DMs on Twitter. When I ask direct questions that aren’t either too specific or too global I also get replies from my followers.

Nonetheless I see that most posts on Google+ get a few +1 votes, some comments and/or shares depending on the kind of message I share of course. On Twitter my impression is that only some tweets get a reaction at all. This is frustrating. It’s like talking to a wall. I don’t get that feeling on Google+

Another reason why Twitter sometimes appear to be an empty room full of chatter is that most messages are recorded or in other words automated.

I get so many links on Twitter in my timeline that I simply get overwhelmed. Of course I follow more people so that I get more links but it’s also beacuse people share via RSS feeds and many tools that schedule tweets. So it feels as if you are blind person amidst all kinds of people talking without knowing that you are the only real person in the room and all the others are just recorded messages.

It’s difficult to follow debates on Twitter. Google+ is like a blog. You have a comment section and the comments are viewed chronologically. You get a notification each time someone replies. On Twitter by default you can’t even add more than one @name in a reply or mention.

Most people have also hopelessly overloaded timelines so that they won’t even notice a debate. On Google+ the hotly debated items are obvious for all the visible interaction numbers around them.

I could go on like that for a while. The little things matter here. It’s not that Twitter was a hot start-up once which it isn’t anymore now that there are new hypes each year. Google+ is not better for engagement because it’s run by Google. That’s rather a disadvantage.

The whole Google+ set up is more conversational and shareable than the one Twitter where the people had to invent retweets first. That’s why Google+ engagement surpasses Twitter activity subjectively.

I still get much more traffic from Twitter than from Google+ despite all the engagement. Twitter is for quick and dirty link sharing. Google+ is for engaging in real debates. Do you like it? Does it make business sense? That’s a different question. I sometimes log out of Google in order not get distracted by all the Google+ chatter which is quite demanding. You could reply all day. I have work to do though.

At least all that Google+ engagement results in me being among the top 100 results for “people and pages” when you search for [seo].

You can’t eat engagement by itself. It’s still better than talking to a wall, even if some people hide behind it. Thus I share many more links by now on Google+ than on Twitter. I don’t care about amorphous traffic. I care about real people. I want real people to react to my shares and writings.

 

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