Its weird, but i also sense that G+ has kinda gone down since the changes a few months…

Its weird, but i also sense that G+ has kinda gone down since the changes a few months ago… It definitely doesn't seem to be the same Google + that was so engaging a few years ago.

How about you guys, do you still get a lot of action from G+? … are your follower count still going up? Do you feel new ppl come in here everyday?

Wonder how you feel about it.

Surprisingly, (because i use Periscope daily now) im progressively feeling pushed back to Twitter.

Reshared post from +Gideon Rosenblatt

Losing My Patience with Google+

Over the last six months or so I have watched as the quality of engagement here on Google+ has steadily declined. I have watched my follower count fluctuate and flatline. I have watched as people I used to engage with quite a bit here have left or dramatically scaled back their investments of time here. And yes, I have seen my own enthusiasm for investing time here wane significantly.

I ask myself why and the answers are never as simple as I would like. In the end though, I have come to the sad conclusion that the real thing that is killing Google+ is just plain bad management.

Lack of Attention
One gets the real sense that many of the people now charged with running Google+ don't really understand what it was that once made this service so good in its early days. Indeed, one gets the sense that few of the people managing the service today even really use Google+. There are a few noteworthy exceptions like +Yonatan Zunger and +Leo Deegan, of course. I once made a circle with some 50+ Googlers who were once active here, and when I click on that stream, well, it feels a lot like a ghost town.

+Bradley Horowitz, the VP in charge of Streams, Photos and Sharing, (which is where Google+ sits within the Google org structure) hasn't posted here on Google+ in half a year.

Oh, and remember +Luke Wroblewski, who used to manage Google+ and would send out all those updates on the redesign? Well, he hasn't posted a single thing here in over 7 weeks (even though @lukew is quite active on Twitter). You know why? I just happened to check his LinkedIn profile, and he's apparently no longer managing Google+. I don't recall seeing any announcement of this change – just a sudden silence from the man perhaps most responsible for the UI makeover of Google+.

Rudderless and Un-resourced
That decision to remake the Google+ UI followed a long string of decisions going back to the separation of Photos and Hangouts, each of which have seriously hurt the service. I know there were probably some good reasons to move to the new, mobile-dominant (as opposed to "mobile-friendly") UI, but the lack of enduser empathy from deprecating all the old functionality really was pretty staggering. Much of it hasn't come back, and much of what has is so stripped down (e.g. Events, community moderation) that it isn't really that usable.

As users, we have been asked to be patient and to have faith in the new strategy. Because I have been such a huge fan of Google+ for so long, that is exactly what I have done. I've been patient. I've believed. Believed that some big, cool fix was coming down the pike that would not only fix all the problems caused by the UI decision, but actually start innovating again with some cool new functionality.

Yes, we got Collections, and they actually are quite useful even if they do need a lot of work still. But that's really about it. It's been a couple years now and the silence is stultifying.

And finally, it hit me:

Maybe this is it. Maybe Google has significantly curtailed its investments in this network. Maybe the management squandered the scarce resources it did have on a redesign that users weren't really even asking for. And maybe, just maybe, what we see right now is pretty much what we're going to get.

User Investments
And this is where I start to get really mad. Like many others here, I have invested a lot of personal time and energy building a following here. Like many of you, I have poured heart and soul into filling this place not just with great content, but also with a sense of community. I could have made those investments in Twitter or Facebook or reddit, but like many of you, I made them here. And now I'm starting to wonder how smart of a decision that was.

All of this is particularly raw right now because I'm starting to play around a bit with the new distributed social network called Mastodon (https://mastodon.technology/@gideonro). It's far from perfect, but one thing that is very different is that it is open source and federated, rather than centrally owned and controlled.

There are lots of implications to this different model. For one, there is lots of competition and innovation in the works because Mastodon sits on top of GNU Social and rests within a "Fediverse" of related, and interoperable, social network platforms. They are working on solutions that make it easy to export your content from one platform to another – to prevent lock-in. Also, there is a lot of visibility on exactly what investments are being made in the platform by various contributors.

More importantly though, there is a very conscious understanding that the value of these networks is only partially the result of the software developers behind these solutions. Just as much of it lies with the end users.

In the end, this is the thing that I am most frustrated about right now with Google+. End users have made this place every bit as much as the coders and product planners behind Google+. This isn't to in any way diminish the importance of those contributions. But what I do find frustrating is the way that Google seems to regularly dismiss the importance, and the real economic and social value, of end user contributions. This was true with Google Reader, and sadly it appears to be true with Google+.

I'm still rooting for Google+ to turn things around, of course. I have a huge soft spot for this place, given all the great learning I've done here with my fellow travelers. But one thing is clear: I'm losing my patience, and I don't think I'm alone. 

  1. Jeffrey Young (lilazndude) Reply

    My collection counts have been going up and I get a lot of interaction there. I get some follows to my "actual profile" but it's mainly just my Destiny collection since that's where most of my posts go anyway. It is a tad annoying since I like to keep things on topic there, then people think its a place where they can ask any random question, lol.

    I personally won't go back to directly using Twitter (my public G+ posts get forwarded) because I hate those limits, but I can see how you'd be pushed to just use that platform considering your Periscope use.

  2. Mike “KemoNine” Crosson Reply

    My direct profile counts have stagnated since collections were introduced but my creative collections (photography, drawing) have skyrocketed in followers.

    I am seeing fewer direct interactions overall though which is annoying. I really like the "long form" discussions that are common here compared to other networks.

    I've looked at Twitter but the character limit is a huge pain. There is no nuance or sane conversation. Pure sound bytes and 0 nuance.

    Mastadon looks promising but I don't need another firehose of posts to wade through right now. G+ is still just active enough to keep me focused.

    Maybe we'll see more GNU Social nodes pop up to replace G+ if it continues to decline. I know I'd pay money to support a sane GNU Social instance focused on long form posts and community building like G+ was back in the day.

  3. Sarah P Reply

    I'm literally here for updates on your icons and I like looking at cute animals and such. Lol. That's literally my feed. I cut out political shit and actually like it. It's my peace place.

  4. Tais P. Hansen Reply

    I think it's quite the opposite. There were a few months where it seemed somewhat slow but recently it feels like things are picking up, like there's more activity.

  5. Michael Sheldon Reply

    My follower counts flatlined a while ago. I'm spending more time on Twitter, but as mentioned, you can't actually discuss anything significant there.
    Been looking at Mastodon, and might even consider setting up a server of my own. It's still not long form, but 500 char is a big difference from 140.
    No desire at all to join the FB dumpster fire.

  6. Mike “KemoNine” Crosson Reply

    +Tha Phlash​ Twitter with a better limit and federation would be my best description right now. The federation part just means it's distributed and nodes can talk to each other. You register on a node and can still see other peoples posts elsewhere (think a flavor of email).

    The 500 character count is limiting but semi manageable.

    Edit kemonine @ mastadon.social is where I've got my account currently.

  7. Sarah P Reply

    Yeah just Instagram. That's my connection to other Breastfeeding Mother's. :::))) Cut out Failbook in November. I feel lighter. Like centered. Reading is my main thing anyways so social media is just kinda the thing I do when my kids are good and occupied. It's nice. 🙂

  8. Art Gill (GillRigged) Reply

    Censorship. Censorship. Censorship. At least that's been my experience and with many in my circles. I understand and am all for law and order but when you can't even post a sexual pic in a PRIVATE community without getting suspended then that's when I have a problem. At the same time, I DO NOT want to see pornographic posts outside of private communities.

  9. Tais P. Hansen Reply

    +Art Gill​ I've always wondered about that. I sometimes see both public and private obviously NSFW posts that never get censored. I even still have one (non-sexual but still NSFW) public share that isn't banned, which when posted on Facebook was quickky removed again.
    As such, I believe someone has to report it before it gets banned.

  10. Char G Reply

    My follower count is still going up, but my collections are gaining followers faster than I am. The spam is frustrating though, I get tired of dealing with it sometimes

  11. Raymond Cool (stainlessray) Reply

    I see it similar to the OP +Tha Phlash​. However, I'm involved in early access testing. I can't talk about what is being worked on. BUT, some of you may be able to join it if requested. I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to find out for anyone interested.

    I know there are people who are working very hard to improve it.

  12. eric peacock Reply

    It is clear that +Google​ is trying to kill +Google+
    It's not even half as useful as it was. FFS, I can't even access specific circles anymore; which was one of the initial key selling points.
    We have all screamed, begged, pleaded with +Google+​ and tagged all the people, every time they have stripped away usefulness and ease of use, but they don't care.
    I was never on any social media before G+, and am not active on any other social media, so when it does, I'll probably just fall back into anonymous message boards and such… Now, where did I put that tapatalk app?

  13. eric peacock Reply

    +Raymond Cool where is this "user engagement" and "addressing feedback " you speak of?

    It is very true that the +Google+​ dev team do not care about the users, or what the users think, or if anyone is even using the product. If they did we wouldn't have this pitiful UI that exists today.
    In the weeks leading up to the permanent change to the "new google+", my stream was like 70% posts of people asking them not to do it.
    Now we have this UI with the least amount of functionality, control, and customization as the product has ever had.

    The beginning of the end was signaled when they took the G+ link off of the Google pages header area and moved it into the app menu.
    I suspect now they are using the product only for researching other things before they finally shut it down like so many other Google products over the years.

  14. Raymond Cool (stainlessray) Reply

    +eric peacock Clearly, you know more than I do. Since you followed a question with a wall of reasons that I shouldn't bother answering the question. You are way too knowledgeable for me to help you. You've got it all figured out. 😉

  15. David Barcena (DaringDomino3s) Reply

    It doesn't feel much different recently. I took a year off of it back from 15-16 when I took a break from flashing custom roms. when I came back it felt a little quieter overall, but the communities I actually pay attention to seem to be just as active as before. It's always kinda seemed that way, though.

    But I like how specific G+ is, you want to follow an app's development? It's here. You like this guys icons? follow him and find out about upcoming designs.

    You'd think it'd be more intuitive since anyone with a Gmail account has access to it, but Facebook and Twitter etc still have the social media game monopolized on the popular front.

    But I'm okay with that, I'm not really interested in sharing my personal whatever with the world all the time and I certainly don't care too much about other people's drama, so I avoid Facebook. I don't understand Instagram, and Twitter seems like a very disjointed way to have a conversation and is just barely manageable for me to comprehend.

    I've never cared about followers, I don't post much, I just want to know what's up with technology and apps/themes/icons/roms I follow so I use g+. If I want other content I go to lurk Reddit.

  16. Aaron Huffman (Phonesmarts) Reply

    I've been using Google+ constantly since the invite only beta and I've loved it here the entire time more than Facebook or Twitter. For me it's just how the platform works. Sure I've gotten a slight decrease in incoming followers every passing year but that doesn't tell me to slow down in posting, consuming content, commenting and following mote active people. I've setup my notifications to work like a news feed, I've got Artem, Android police, pocketnow and a few others on there that get me always going back to G+.

    Of course I also have reasons to also return to Twitter and I get those notifications from important people and companies who only really post there. I use +Friends+Me​ to mirror my Google Plus content over there and it works as good as ever!

    I used to have a Facebook profile to have my Google Plus posts mirrored to there as well but I have such distaste for how that social network works, with them making me reauthenticate a token every 30 days with +Friends+Me​, it's just too much of a hassle to keep a Facebook profile open even though some of my friend and most of my family uses it. I always tell them if you want to see everything I post and what I'm all about, check out my Google Plus or Twitter.

  17. Tha Phlash Reply

    +Gideon Rosenblatt sure no prob. Yep it totally did strike a chord, because like you i've been here since the early beginnings.

    Made my first official pack to the look of this platform ( https://plus.google.com/+PhlashTha/posts/ecgZFTWECq9 ) and it was much different then, the sense of connection was great and i can't help but feel its not the same anymore.

    Of course i still receive a lot of support from my true soldiers and i don't by any means want to diminish that. But its obvious the growth seems to have come to a grinding halt.. somehow…

  18. Tim Austin Reply

    Ya. I used to get a lot more followers on my personal and dev profile. Now they all seem to just follow my collection instead. Super lame.

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