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Google+ = Confused+

I may be in the Circle, but I’m not in the loop

Posted July 13, 2011 by Catherine E. Toth

Are you in the Circle?

Apparently, I am. But I’m not in the loop.

Circles are the latest social media hub — the place where you want to be. It’s replacing followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook.

And yet, Google+, the company’s newest social-networking effort, looks a lot like the latter social networking site.

You organize people into Circles and you can choose what you share with them. There’s a news feed, called a Stream, and a feature called Sparks that encourages users to plug into news that interests them. And there are things called Hangouts, a 10-person video chat that’s way cooler than anything Facebook has to offer thus far.

The best part? You don’t have to request to be friends with anyone. Or approve (or ignore) friend requests. Always the awkward part about Facebook.

A look at Google+

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Except I have no idea how this whole thing is supposed to work.

There are so many terms I need to get used to: Huddle, Spark, Hangout, Circles. I was just getting used to tweeting and DM-ing. Now I need to master the Google+ lingo while managing the same friends I’ve already organized in Twitter (in lists) and Namesake (in conversations) on a site that looks like my Facebook.

I have a headache.

I’m wondering if all this social media stuff is really making me more social — or more socially deficient. I spent more time these days managing my sites — posting pics, responding to replies and comments, browsing status updates, endorsing followers, “like”-ing photos of double rainbows — that I don’t have time to really socialize with real people in real time in real life.

Is this really what social media should be about?


  1. M
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Hello Cat,
    I rather socialize IRL rather than on the computer or phone unless it’s off island. IRL it’s more personnel, you can look them in the eyes, laugh with them, cry with them, support them, interact with them, it’s more meaningful.

  2. jermel_lynn
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

    im so confused too, like editing and everything. bleh! social media. lol. I think google has tons of things to alter. Think they are trying to be like Facebook.

  3. itsbf
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

    From Chris Brogan:


    No matter what, no matter how much more engagement you get on a place like Google+, it is not your “home base.” It’s your “outpost.” That means, it’s a place where you can go to have interactions with people, on “neutral ground,” and that in the course of those interactions, should someone want to know more about you, learn more about what you do, understand how you might interact further, that’s when they will move from your outpost property on Google+ over to your home base on your website or blog.

  4. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I’m completely with you trying to figure out where Google+ fits into my life. It seems like all the early adopters that got into the beta early love it to pieces but I can’t figure out why exactly. I’m not seeing much that is inherently better with G+ than with Facebook and Twitter. I mean, I’m using it, but right now, it’s just another social network I need to update. Which sucks, because I just found Hootsuite, which lets me update my Facebook and Twitter and the same time.

  5. Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    We need to get together and talk about Google+. Who’s down for a Think Tank?

  6. MyongChoi
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    @johngarcia count me in. I’m on Google + but have no idea how to do anything in there. It also for some reason uploaded all the photos from my old blog which hasn’t been active for 4 years into an album for some reason.

  7. Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    @johngarcia im down for whatevers if there are gona be steaks :)

  8. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    To understand social media, is to define it. To me, social media is simply “the use of technology to communicate and collaborate with people around the globe.” In terms of using it to communicate, if you are leveraging this medium to build a community, then you must communicate with members how they prefer, not you. With respect to social media, Facebook and Twitter are likely the way your community members would prefer to dialogue.

    So, for now, Google+ may just have an overlap of community members. Although it may not seem like it to you, from my perspective you’re doing the best to keep up with it all. May I suggest you just allow alerts to at least respond should someone prefer to communicate with you on G+ or Instagram or Foursquare or Yelp or Socialcam or Tout or…you get the idea.

    One thing I love about the infancy of this emerging industry is our new vocabulary…and job titles. :)

  9. libz
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Like @WERUreo said, I’m still figuring out why people are going “gaga” over Google+. Video chat is probably its biggest selling point right now… but that isn’t the way I nor my friends prefer to communicate. And most of my friends / “my audience” are heavily using Facebook and Twitter. So, while I have a Google+ account, don’t expect to see me on there very long and often.

  10. ATsdca2hnlhi
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Anyone remember Google Wave… Yeaaahhh…

  11. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Great conversation, folks! Interesting to see how people are using Google+. All I see when I go there is chrispirillo! :) hehe

  12. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    @johngarcia I’m down for it. Great idea to build off of our mutual experiences.

  13. Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

    @@sdca2hnlhi I actually liked Google Wave. I had always wanted to use it for work stuff but never could.

  14. donj808
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    there is no doubt facebook and twitter has become powerful tools for socializing with friends, colleagues, and companies. although many companies has facebook pages setup, the use of facebook are actually blocked from employees accessing their accounts. google+ has instantly become widely popular among my friends who can’t access their facebook because of this block. its their way of communicating with the world outside the frame of work. Cell phone use are strictly prohibited at the work place as well, which makes google+ an appealing tool for my friends and myself.

  15. turkfontaine
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    oh no. not again. not CHANGE! i fear change.

  16. iamwhite
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    @johngarcia I’m down for a Google+ Think Tank! I’ve been doing plenty of reading and discovering with it, and I am intrigued by the possibilities!

  17. MaxMaxMax
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

    @jermel_lynn And FaceBook was trying to be like MySpace? It’s an endless cycle. Someone else will come along and be like Google+.

  18. libz
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    @MaxMaxMax @jermel_lynn Facebook wasn’t “trying to be like” Myspace, they were striving to be better than Myspace. And the users have spoken. Now Google+ needs to strive to be better than Facebook.

  19. townieUHfan
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t think I’ll ever sign up. It caused Cat to post about something that didn’t have a pic of her biting into fuud. Not for me.

About Catherine E. Toth

Born and raised on O'ahu, Catherine E. Toth has been chronicling her adventures in her blog, The Daily Dish (, for four years. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawai'i for 10 years and continues to freelance — in between teaching journalism full time at Kapi'olani Community College, hitting the surf and eating everything in sight — for national and local print and online publications.

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