Is Google Plus really a Plus for Libraries?

Of the social media we’ve discussed so far in class among Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google +, the tool that most baffles me with its relative lack of popularity is Google +. And by lack of popularity I’m referring to its use by the public in general and libraries in particular. Although I’ve been using the Google suite of products for years now, and this used has increased substantially since starting at SLIS (especially Chat and Drive), I only set up my Google + profile on account of this course. Upon doing so, the cursory check of my contacts for possible addition to circles illustrated that it definitely hasn’t caught on as much as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This translates to the use of G+ by libraries as well, most of the library systems in my area have either a nonexistent page with few or no postings, the bare minimum of information, or don’t have a page set up at all. These are libraries who have a presence on Facebook or Pinterest, or both. Have they decided that Google + is just another social media tool that is one click too far?

As many of my fellow students have commented on, it seems that Google Plus just really hasn’t caught on, but a recent report by Global Web Index “benchmarks Google+ as the second largest social platform in the world.” The author of the posting goes on to state that the future is indeed bright for this platform, and that it has seen growth in user behaviors such as posting videos, comments, and links that surpass Facebook and Twitter. I’m inclined to believe that this is a social media tool that will continue to grow and its potential for library use as well. As a professional tool for librarians I’ve already seen that it surpasses Facebook for instance through the use of communities, one pertinent group being Libraries and Librarians, a “public community about libraries and librarians of all kinds, covering both local and global issues in librarianship.” With the wealth of tools at Google’s disposal, the use of circles to group people together of similar interests (and distribute specific and relevant information to them), the ability to have live Hangouts, all make me think that although use is currently minimal, libraries will have much to take advantage of in the future.

-Luis Salazar

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