By now most are probably like me, someone who actually likes Google+ (Transparency), are probably starting to grow a little wary of the number of blogs on Google+ that talk about how awesome or un-awesome (it’s a word..seriously..) it is. Okay, fair enough, I have written my share on this topic and comments until my fingers were getting blisters from attempting to dispel ignorance and stupidity (yeah..there is a difference, look it up, you’ll feel slightly more intelligent for having done so.) However, every now and again I actually have stumbled across an article and/or blog that makes an interesting point in the use of the technology. What a novel concept I thought, mostly to myself, an article that actually is talking about the use of the tech and for actual benefits. (Engagement type benefits no less.)
For today’s discussion, I want to focus on a Mashable article (5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+) as it has taken a position from an actual group of end users and discusses some interesting things that have found their way out of the bottomless pit of random egotism and otherwise useless junk we tend to find on social outlets. I mean seriously, do we actually care what people have put on their Facebook wall or tweeted about for the 15th time today? Meaningful content is becoming difficult to separate from the general noise of social media. Anyway, I digress.
The Five Ways:
“Talking About Google+”: As the article points out, this is a no brainer. Google+ is new, shiny, and ripe with controversy surrounding issues like privacy, functionality, and how it’s not Facebook. Not much to be said here, news is news. Love it or hate it, new tech is always going to leave plenty to talk about.
- “Hosting Audience ‘Hangouts’” (TV/Web News): This is probably one of my favorite points the author talks about. A news organization in Columbia, Missouri hosts ‘Hangouts’ in Google+ while on the air. This allows viewers to log in and interact with staff, etc while they are on the air. Staff can then use the discussion and content from the ‘hangout’ to answer viewers questions and/or mention someone’s point of view. (Granted this is similar to tech like UStrea, Justine.TV, etc Google is taking it to the main stream.) Want to talk about social engagement? *BAM* Social engagement.
- “Engaging Readers” (Written News): I’ve enjoyed this concept already personally. A handful of reporters I follow are actively engaging their friends/followers as they post articles. This is not a “fire and forget” environment like their primary news organization’s website. Reporters are engaging their readers for feedback, open discussions, etc. (Don’t believe me? Follow +Dan Patterson of ABC News)
- “Analyzing News Coverage”: This is similar to “Engaging Readers” mentioned above. Reporters are starting to use their stream to have discussions about their content instead of just stating journalistic “fact” and moving on. News that is interactive is always more interesting to me. You can watch stories evolve and get multiple input from people all over the World. This allows for a more inclusive world view on developing stories and may provide input you may never had considered.
- “Showing Personality”: Okay, so this one isn’t really Google+ specific. However, I think is a great point to mention when talking about journalists interacting with people. You can see their personality, how they think, and as an end user of their content you can understand their perspective on issues. This is important in the news cycle and to active news junkies.
So, as stated when we started: These concepts probably could be applied to any tech in the space right now, however Google+ for some reasons is the break out leader in journalists using the medium in order to engage their audiences and push content. It will be interesting to see what adjustments, if any, Google makes as this becomes more so the case. (Or if other social media giants will make adjustments in their tools to attempt to gain a piece of the growing news based organization pull Google+ is amassing.) Say, what you will, but I promise you if you take a close look: It’s most journalists, media specialists, content providers, etc that are filling up the Goolge+ streams right now and the engagement is very high so far.
Now it’s time to stand by and watch agile development in its beauty go to work during this beta and watch how it impacts other forums as well.
Stay Classy Washington!