Chris Brogan at Lunch - PAB2008

Recently, a few folks have asked if (insert name here) social network is a ghost town. Let’s be clear to start: any place with more than a million people in it is by default not a ghost town. If Twitter/Facebook/Google+ had under a million people in it, then I think you could make the claim that it’s a ghost town in social network terms with reasonable credibility. But none of these networks could accurately be called that. Numerically, Twitter is around the 8th largest country in the world, Facebook the 3rd. Google+ is in the vicinity of 4th or 5th. Any place that sports more population than significantly-sized real world nations is not a ghost town.

What’s at the heart of the claims that X social network is a ghost town is this: the network is not delivering the results you’re looking for. I made this claim for me about Google+, and it’s a claim I continue to stand by. For me, for how I use social networks, for the limited time and resources I have available per day to devote to any one network, Google+ simply does not deliver the same bottom-line results that other networks do because the way I use it doesn’t work well with the service.

I know plenty of people like my friend Chris Brogan who derive enormous value from Google+ because they have different use cases, different resources, and different methods than I do. For them, Google+ isn’t even remotely a ghost town.

Could you get a network to stop being, in your perception, a ghost town? Absolutely. Ask around to anyone using that network with great success. Watch what they do. Take notes on the types of content they share, the way they interact with people, the frequency of their presence, and develop a model around it. It can be a super primitive model at first, but it’ll give you something to start with.

Let’s use Chris as an example. Yesterday on Google+ by my rough, fast account, he posted a bit more than a dozen items. Two of them were promotional, about 6 were promoting other people that he may or may not have a business interest in, and the rest were pop culture items like songs, videos, and memes. He also religiously replies to anyone who mentions him with at least a +1, if not a comment or a reshare. His presence is consistent throughout the working day.

That’s a pretty straightforward model to copy for testing purposes. Open up a spreadsheet and create an hourly post slot. Put two of your own promotional items in there in cells 4 and 8. Monitor your friends’ feeds for anything valuable and slot those into cells 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Go to the explore tab in Google+ and fill in the remaining slots with trending items. Now set a timer on your phone or computer to ping you every hour of the day. Reply to any comments, +1 anything mentioning you, and post on schedule. Now you’ve got a primitive but working model of Chris Brogan’s public Google+ usage. See if that differs from your own model, and try it out. If it delivers better results, then you know it’s a model that works for you. If it doesn’t deliver results, then find someone else being successful, study how they use it, develop a model, and test it.

This stuff isn’t rocket science. It just requires you to study, pay attention, and test. If you are vigilant, you’ll find a model that works for you, delivers results you want, and can be refined and tested until your success is being modeled by others.


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