I have to admit something to you. When Google+ launched communities, I honestly had no desire to check them out.
I know, I know – those of us who do social media are supposed to be the people championing all of the new services, new features, and new changes, aren't we?
But sometimes, even I get a bit jaded and tired of the changes all of the time, especially when I'm not sure at first how something is going to benefit me or my clients.
That's how I was with Google+ initially. I had my page and my profile, and I was searching for people to follow and sorting them into Circles. But honestly – I was doing it because it's Google, and I knew it's something I "should" do, even if it doesn't seem that useful or interesting yet.
As Google+ Communities launched, it seemed a bit more interesting, and I even got invited to a few to begin with, and that helped me enjoy it a bit more.
So I began to get more involved, spent some time interacting and engaging, and little by little, something started to happen.
Once I got over my initial hesitation, my thoughts and feelings about them changed, and I have to tell you – I love them!
I even took the step of starting my own Google+ Community (more on that in a bit).
You might be thinking, "Well, that's great, but what does that have to do with me?"
For me, there were a couple of lessons in here.
Why You Should Use Google+ Communities
On the social media side, the lesson is this – don't be afraid to learn new technology. (Another lesson might be "don't overlook anything made by Google," but that's a topic for a different day.
I think the other important lesson for me was this – don't write off anything new until you've taken the time to learn it.
My early hesitation with Google+, and especially Google+ Communities had more to do with my unfamiliarity with it than anything else. It wasn't Facebook or Twitter, therefore I had to do some learning to be able to use it well. And while I've always been open to learning new things, sometimes even for me it's hard not to ask, "One more thing?!" when one of the platforms decides to make some changes.
But my experience changed with Google+ Communities specifically when I decided to jump in and get comfortable with it – specifically when I decided to start my own community and see how they work from the inside out.
And in the process of beginning to connect with other people in meaningful ways, providing information of value, and just engaging with people and building relationships, I discovered that I really like Google+ Communities!
In social media, nothing really "happens" until relationships are built. Building relationships takes time and activity. It's not enough just to click a button to "join" a community. You've got to be an active and engaged member, reading what's posted. You've got to contribute – both your own thoughts as well as information written by others that you've discovered and found to be useful.
And you've got to be engaged just to get to know people better and to let others know the real you better too. It's the human factor. Sometimes it's memes, other times it's cute animal pictures, and other times it's the friendly rivalry of what side you favor for a football game.
But if you're willing to take the time to connect and engage, the world of Google+ Communities is a highly valuable place to interact with others in pursuit of your common professional interests in the world of Google+
Are you a member of any Google+ Communities yet? I'd like to invite you to join my community! Come by the Social Media Cafe at https://plus.google.com/communities/100899197350722011038