I keep reading internet headlines describing Google+ as a ghost town. For some, this is very understandable considering who they may be following in their circles. Some on Google+, including myself, are not using it to its full potential and not posting as much.
What are the reasons for this? I have my theories and I would like to share them in hopes maybe someone, including Google will take notice and think about their strategy.
I think many users who are on Google+ started out on Facebook like myself. So, this is one issue. Why? Because many were already set in their ways of using Facebook to communicate with friends and relatives. Adding the Google+ social network just proved to add more time and frustration to social junkies lives.
I had noticed many friends like myself were eager to jump to Google+ when it opened because of the issues and dislike for the constant changes made on Facebook which probably made many feel like guinea pigs. I know I felt that way. It was agrivating to say the least and the privacy changes just got more complicated as well.
The problem with that jump, many other connections were not willing to take the time to learn and use another social network. So they stayed behind on Facebook leaving those on Google+ to find others to connect with.
For me, I had kept my Facebook account mostly private and open to only friends, acquaintances, and family after getting some connections that started spamming. Upon moving to Google+, I opened up a bit and started creating circles according to those that shared the same interests as myself such as photography.
Photography on Google+ is great. The way Google handles the display of photos and galleries in posts is simple and elegant. I enjoyed following photographers that I had been following on Twitter and some I just newly discovered. If you are fan of photography and follow those who enjoy it as well and share it, Google+ will not seem like a ghost town at all. There is lots of activity for photography buffs.
I am sure there are other hobbies enjoying their presence on Google+ as well if one searches enough and since Google knows "searching", it is very easy to find interesting posts on subjects that may interest you.
Let me get back to another reason why Google+ is failing in some eyes. Facebook as done a lot of work and made a huge effort to make their platform open for developers to integrate and use their services. It is very odd to find an app or website these days that doeasn't offer a "share to Facebook" option.
Google+ on the other hand hasn't done as well in this department. Sure you might find the "+1" option on nearly every website offering a Facebook share button but, you will hard-pressed to find the same ease of sharing with most mobile and web apps.
This is hurting Google+ a lot. I have posted many requests for my main social media web app tool, Hootsuite to adopt Google+ and Google+ Pages in their offerings but it just hasn't happened. They hold Google accountable for this and claim lack of support.
What does this do for Google+? Nothing good. Instead of users sharing their cool discoveries with friends on Google+, they share them to Facebook where the option is always readily available. It is a shame really because I honestly feel that Google has created a nice product that is worthy of more.
I know some even planned to leave Facebook for Google+ only to come back to Facebook because they weren't able to get the interaction they hoped on Google+.
What should Google do? They need to work on making their platform more open for developers to contribute. I realize they currently have some API's for this but I think they need to do more. Google needs to start making some alliances which would help promote their service and then work on showing social media users they are there for good and mean business by giving social media power users and non-power users more options for using and sharing on their platform.
I think if they look that this and the big picture and take action, Google will see the benefits unfold as activity will increase and users will be more comfortable in adopting their service.