In the financial advisor community, Social Media is a seemingly never-ending debate. How do I use it in my practice? Isn’t it a waste of time? Can I understand it? How do I keep up with the constant changes?
Right now, it’s Pinterest. A few months ago it was Google+. One of the most common refrains was “I just don’t have time for another platform.”
It’s a legitimate question: Why do we adopt a new platform, how do we find the time and when is enough enough?
Recently, Mike Barrad of Morningstar Inc. suggested technophile advisor Russ Thornton and I try a little experiment: A single day when we only use Google+… no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Facebook. The three of us had discussed how much we enjoyed Google+ and wished everyone else would just start using it more. We invited others to join G+ Day and had about a dozen other participants.
I learned a few things about my social media preferences on that day. First, I really love Google+ as a social media platform. It’s just better. Second, Twitter is noisy! And it was nice not having that noise.
So I Dumped Twitter…
I love Twitter. It is STILL my favorite social media platform. It’s where I’ve made the most meaningful connections and spent the most time. It has offered me the most reward for my efforts. And I still needed to dump it.
Twitter’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Twitter is fast. News moves at lightning speed, and Twitter is great for news. You can learn about a breaking piece of news an hour before it hits any major media outlet. It offers the world in real time. But Twitter is also incredibly noisy. So much interesting and fun and engaging information flowed over my stream… I wanted to read it all. I wanted to click every link.
And that’s why it was time to dump Twitter.
Google+ To The Rescue
So I decided to date Google+ for a while instead.
There were a few key reasons I chose to move to Google+ which may answer some of the questions advisors have raised about social media. There are three in particular to highlight:
- Focus – I have a finite amount of time I can commit to social media. With G+ I can follow anybody I want, much like Twitter. I can also get much of the same information as on Twitter. Google+’s circles allow me to narrow who I’m watching in an instant. I recently created a circle I named the “Circle of Consideration.” These are people who I want to check out, but I don’t necessarily want cluttering my stream. I review the circle weekly, stop following people I didn’t find fit my needs well and move those I want to continue to follow into one of my permanent circles.
- Conversations – Google+ is designed to hold conversations. It threads conversations well, unlike Twitter, where every @reply would change a little bit. The people being tagged would not be the same. I might be dropped from the conversation, then added back in leaving me utterly confused. G+ provides notifications far superior to other platforms of new posts in a conversation thread. I can stop following a conversation if I no longer find value in it.
- Data Ownership – I can archive the information I share on Twitter. It requires that I set up an archiving system in advance, but I can do it. Twitter indexes my tweets, then removes them from the stream after some time. Google+ is different. I own my data. I can pull all my data out of Google+ at any time. In fact, Google created a tool they have called “Google Takeout” that allows you to export virtually any information you have put into any Google service for your own records. It’s yours. That’s a big deal to me.
There are several other reasons I have decided to leave Twitter and focus on Google+ including a much better mobile experience, Google Hangouts, Instant Upload and so on. There are even extensions for Google Chrome that allow any mentions of me on Twitter to be shown in my Google+ stream!
Mostly my decision is about focus. I still love Twitter, and I’m not abandoning it, but I couldn’t live with the noise every day!
Is Google+ For You?
If you like social media and like things to work well, Google+ is a great place to be. It’s not a Twitter replacement, it’s different. The audience’s are different, especially since not everyone has made the move to G+.
Social media is about connecting to me. Google+ allows me to connect in a more meaningful way than any other social media platform. It may do the same for you.
I suggest giving it a try to find out. Have your own G+ Day. Turn off all the other noise, circle a bunch of people and see if it suits you. It may just change your social media life.
Thanks again to Nathan Gehring for submitting this guest post. If you’d like to write for The Scalable Advisor, please read over the guidelines for submissions and send us your pitch! We’d love to hear it.
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