No, this time, it's really not "just another social network." This time I can honestly say, "Google got it right."
I'm talking about Google+ (G+, GooglePLUS, Google Plus). And you don't really "have" to start learning it today. But here are a few reasons that you might, if you haven't already. I hear your objections, "What about WAVE, that was supposed to be a game changer too?" And Orkut, and … the list of Google's experiments goes on and on. But this one is different. Let me explain.
The next frontier in business is doing business remotely. Remember that dream of working your job from ANYWHERE in the world? Google+ is making that reality come true. And here are the components.
Video – Inside a Google Hangout you may have up to 8 individuals sharing in a virtual meeting room. (yes, you've seen the feel-good ads for G+, but this Hangout thing means business)
Voice – Sure Skype does this a bit more efficiently already. But Skype, now owned by Microsoft is charging to hook you up to more than one video stream at a time.
Docs – Here's where G+ begins to distance itself from every other "platform" for collaboration. If you're not familiar with the power behind some of the Google Docs applications, you might get yourself over there and look at some of the magic that Spreadsheets are doing inside Google Apps. It's a little application engine for data.
Those are the big three of collaboration. With those elements you can negotiate, navigate, and collaborate with others regardless of where they are sitting. Cisco and other large video-network-collaboration companies (LifeSize for example) are working hard to define the top-end of this concept. The virtual meeting rooms that can actually make you feel like you are in the room with the other people. BUT, I don't believe this level of connectivity is critical. Inside Google+ you have the tools to construct your own virtual collaboration environment.
And then there are the add-on apps that Google has enabled. YouTube – for video sharing, SlideShare – for PowerPoint presentations. Add the DOC suite (just like Word, Excel, PowerPoint with less features and more power) and something as simple as Google Calendar and you're almost ready to create the virtual office system.
But then you've got to figure out how to do it.
So I'm not saying you have to start using Google+ and Google Hangouts today, but why would you want to give me such a head start? Sure, you're going to hear things like, "Yeah, but nobody's on GooglePlus." Or, "I don't want another Facebook." And the lovey-dovey ads that Google is putting out will lead you right down that path. But make no mistake, the power behind Google Hangouts is in the collaboration. There are a lot of us trying to figure this out right now.
And you don't need a lot of people to collaborate on a business project with. You only need the essential parties. And then, as they say, you are off to the races.
See you out there.
Other posts to help you kick ass in social media:
- Social Media is Only Part of the Online Marketing Mix
- Authority and the Speeding Train of Project Leadership
- Positive Momentum: How Do You Generate Your Forward Thinking?
- White Boarding – Learning To Think with Your Hands
- Truth, Transparency, and Trust: How Do We Establish Our Connection?
- Positive Forces: Delayed, Deflected, Divorced, Distracted, But Not Deterred
- Plussing or Dividing: How Are You Showing Up in the World?
- Dear Graduate – a Toolkit for Learners and Job Hunters
- Expert Not Found – Social Media is About Being a "Student" not a "Guru"
Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it. (from Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement)