Periodically I have a Dallas Plussers Network Breakfast where anyone who is a Google+ Plussers in the Dallas, Texas area can join me at one of the eateries around Dallas to have a casual chat about how they use Google+.
This month I turned the talk a little and used to breakfast as a panel discussion on issues holding back Google+ users from being more interactive.
To be perfectly clear, the discussion was not a scientific test or set up for any kind of marketing research study. It was four men and one women, and myself, in a large corner booth having a casual and very frank discussion while we enjoyed breakfast.
These Plussers reasons for using G+ ranged from two of them only on the Google+ for the Social aspects and the remaining three attempting to learn G+ to effectively promote their business.
All of them were somewhat savvy to how G+ can be used and how the features work. Surprisingly, the group was very forthcoming with addressing the issues they have and articulating their frustrations, along with their admirations, with the Google+ platform.
Here are the three issues Google which are keeping this group and other Plussers from using Google+ more.
It was rather easy to get the discussion start concerning Notifications since right after I thanked the group for RSVPing to Dallas Plussers Breakfast G+ Event I was told they nearly missed to notice of the event due to them not checking their Notifications very frequently.
So, the first issue these Plussers said the majority of people they know had with G+ had to do with Notifications.
The uncontrollable large volumes of unwanted notifications was this group’s consensus as the most urgent issue they have with using G+. All knew there were settings in the G+ settings but felt having to take the time to turn the settings OFF..instead of On…was what was keeping more people from using Google+.
Having to modify the settings on Gmail to keep from getting Notifications also was sited as a huge announce.
Secondarily, and just as aggravating, was the bombardment of notifications people receive after making a comment to someone’s post who has a large amounts of interaction. Nearly everyone said they were reluctant to comment on, or even +1 a post , a person’s post who has hundreds of thousands of people in their Circles.
The panel agreed that over 90% of many of the comments they receive Notifications for are from people just wanting to receive attention in the thread of conversation and had nothing to do with providing value to the post.
All agreed that the addition of the Ringing Red Bell was a good move towards letting Plussers know they have a notification. However, the mechanics of reviewing the Notification from the Pull-Down window just generated more aggravation when most of the Notification in the list were from ‘Thrill Seekers’ who run through G+ hitting the +1 Button thinking it is improving their SEO.
Having to MUTE a conversation due to large volumes of notifications seemed to the panel very unproductive and a huge time bandit.
When the panel was asked what they felt Google needed to do to effectively provide notice of someone making a comment to a post the solutions their suggestions were few since all realized the limitations of the way the Google+ Platform is set up currently.
One innovation was suggested for Google to make a Tab for Notifications like the Videos where the post most recently commented on would list first. This would allow Plussers to go to that Tab and view all the posts they have made that have comments and the posts they comment on that have more comments posted.
Another suggestion was for Google+ to post a quick summary notification on the threads of conversations receiving a comment instead of sending a Notification for Each Comment. Even this suggestion cranked under further discussion making the Notification Issue Google+ has the first issue they need to overhaul if they are after more people to use and interact on Google+.
For this group of Plussers, the Circles feature, and not being able to control who places them in a Circle, was a touchy issue. A few of the plussers were not keen with who could see the content they posted and only wanted people, places and things of their choosing to see the content.
Though they all agree that attracting new audiences, and other Plussers they do not know, would broaden their influence, they all also agreed that having people they do not know sharing their posts is at best troublesome.
The Sharing Circles publicly feature also was a major issue the entire panel saw as unwanted. All had stories where someone placed them in their Circle and then Shared that Circle to the public where a group of Spammers added the circle and started attempting to get them to place them in their Circles so they could bombard their Circles with Spam.
One of the other concerns related to Circles all said they avoid are the profiles without Headshot photos. All agreed they will not place in a Circle or having anything to do with anyone..even people they know..if they are not serious enough to place a headshot of themselves in their Profile photo.
The Circles feature was a very very touchy subject for all on this panel to discuss.
The panel felt Google needs to put more effort in who they allow to use the G+ platform. Verifying who someone is would encourage more interaction with more people which would result in more people being interested in using Google+.
I wrapped up my breakfast with what was confirmed to all present to be the most emotional issue these Plussers voiced. The issue with .gif animated files and the Google + Autoawesomes flooding the profile stream resulting in the most lively part of the discussions held during this hour and half chat.
A large number of war stories were shared on how the never ending digitally enhanced animated loops were resulting in many of the Plussers to rethink why they were using Google+.
The Plussers on the panel who are out to promote their business on G+ were the most turned off with the large volumes of mostly inappropriate content being converted into .gif animated files for the soul purpose of gaining attention to whoever posted the file.
Even the Plussers who were using G+ as their social space commented that the volumes of Autoawesomes was ‘not a pretty sight’. Having an entire monitor screen of moving images took away the value of Google+ and what use to be a very clean interface.
The Plussers who came to the breakfast did so to discuss with me what can be done to eliminate or block the files from being posted to their streams.
All reported that the people they have placed in their circle who are posting .gifs and autoawesome also post some very compelling text content. This makes it hard to un-circle them for posting a few .gifs from time to time.
A few on the panel reported having talked to a few of these people who post large numbers of animated graphics to ask why they posted them and found they only did so out of thinking it was fun but quickly saw where their overall interaction went down.
The panel reported being told by these people that their phone would ring from people in their circles asking them to stop posting the .gifs. One of the business Plussers reported as part of their marketing strategy started asking their customers if they used G+. Over 85% of their customers who said they do used G+ report they stopped using G+ or interacting on G+ due to there being too many animated posts.
Of course all of the panelist reported hearing from their friends who have limited data plans, weak CPU Processors or low bandwidth all giving up using Google+ because of the .gifs locking up their devices.
All agreed that they would enjoy some of the .gifs, but see that Google offering a Start and Stop button would be the simplest of the solutions to this issue.
Another suggestion was to place all .gifs in a Tab like they did for Games so when Google finds out that only a small portion of the world’s demographic enjoy the .gifs they can gracefully pull the plug like the did for Games.
I thanked the panel (all asking that their names not be used in this report) for joining me for this informal chat about what they see Google need to do to improve it’s image.
Dallas Plussers Network
The Dallas Plussers Network is growing and becoming a very exciting place to be to learn more about and mingle with other Google+ users. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas I highly recommend you join in one of the monthly events. The DPN hosts a monthly Sharing Forum where training is given on how to use different features of Google+. The DPN also has a monthly Business Social where members of the Dallas Plussers Network gather to socialize and network. Check out the Dalla Plussers Network site at www.dallasplussers.com