With Google announcing a pretty big overhaul of Google+ at I/O 2013, there has been some increased visibility for the social network lately. And the same critics who have barely used it have come out again to complain about having no one to talk to on there. Simply put, they are wrong.
Google+ is not the same thing as Facebook or Twitter and shouldn’t be used the same way in a lot of cases. It’s not a place to get baby pictures from your family or read one liner jokes and quick sports updates. In general, Google+ is a place to share content and have meaningful discussions about it.
If you want to dive into Google+, here are some steps to avoid the “ghost town” that people seem to think it is.
Search for you interests, and then follow people posting about those things. Add them to, or create, circles based on those subjects. When they post, comment on them. A lot of people on Google+ will follow you back if your comments are insightful and your own posts are good as well.
Join some communities. This is the best way to interact with new people. Communities are Google+’s version of message boards. You can find them for almost anything. Some of mine are centered around comic books, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Firefly. Post and comment in those and you will discover other people with similar interests to add to your regular circles.
Do not treat it like Facebook and Twitter. If you want to share pictures of your dog or baby, circles enable you to only share it with the people who actually care, and you won’t be flooding other people with unwanted posts. It’s also not great to treat it as a mind dump like twitter; posts with good content and that can generate discussion usually do well.
Between Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, I am involved with quite a few networks and have about the same amount of activity on each. But by doing what I just outlined, and treating each one differently with minimal overlap, I easily get way more interactions on Google+ than any of the other networks. So this “ghost town” that critics talk about is nonexistent to me.