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7 Reasons Why Google+ Drives Hyperactive Engagement

Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. This theory was first studied by a French sociologist Gabriel Tarde in 1890.

7 Reasons Why Google+ Drives Hyperactive Engagement

In 1962 Everett Rogers published the book “Diffusion of Innovations” where he synthesized research from over 508 diffusion studies and produced a theory that proposed 4 main elements that influence the spread of an idea.

1. The Innovation

An idea, practice or object that is perceived as new

2. Communication Channels

The means by which messages get from one individual to another

3. Time

The relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of the social system

4. The Social System

The people that are engaged in joint problem solving to achieve a common goal

He also outlined  the following adopter categories that reveal the percentages of the types of participants that are involved in the innovation cycle.

Diffusion of Innovation the rise and spread of Google plusThe Google+ Social Experiment

The Google+ Project has drawn the innovators and early adopters into its web and  it is producing activities that have surprised myself and others.

As I have been involved with using Google+ in its initial field trial stage I have been able to observe as well as participate as people started entering Google+. As I started prodding its features and watching the crowd I noticed revealing activities and behaviors that were different it seemed from my experiences on Facebook and Twitter.

The field trial by nature and design attracted the innovators and early adopters that will tweak every knob and play with every shiny new object within the new environment.

One of the first things I noticed was the high level of engagement and interaction that Google+ ecosystem seemed to facilitiate. Posts and updates seemed to drive comments and interactions at hyperactive levels with 70 or 80 responses being created over a very short time frame.

Mashable ran an experiment to compare Facebook engagement with Google+ engagement and the results verified my anecdotal observations.

Facebook vs Google+

Mashable started discussions on both platforms about a study that claims 34% of iPhone users think they have 4G. The posts were published at roughly the same time and had similar prompts, posing questions about the study’s results.


57 likes and 40 comments


183 +1′s and 116 comments

The difference is significant with Google + receiving 321% more approvals and 290% more comments than Facebook, which is highly significant statistical difference.

Their comment regarding the results was “Granted this is only one post of many, but it’s still quite telling

Chris Brogan in a recent post commented on this phenomena and his anecdotal observation was that updates on Google+ seemed to drive 3 times the activity he had experienced elsewhere.

Google+ seems to be a more natural platform for conversations.

7 Reasons Why Google+ Drives Hyperactive Engagement

This is my take on the Google+ and the key elements that are producing this marked difference in engagement.

1. The Google+ Project is currently highly populated with innovators and early adopters that are both influential and very active and are poking and prodding the new levers.

2. The well designed UI (User Interface) encourages ease of use and consequently more interaction. So good design matters!

3. The speed  of the Google+ channel . It seems to be almost Twitter like in real time updating to the Google+ stream which keeps the topic hot (it would be interesting to compare the lag times between Facebook, Twitter and Google+ on updates into the streams on each channel)

4. It is not limited to 140 Characters like Twitter and so encourages people to interact more naturally rather than think long and hard about how to make it fit to the 140 character limit.

5. It is more engaging because it is multi-media rich in real time

6. The inviting ‘red button” hinting at more notifications is compelling and addictive (according to a comment from Nancy Loo after I posed this question on Google+)

7. The “shiny new toy” effect.  People are curious about this new Google social network so if they had to choose between the new or old toy, they want to play with the new one. (Thanks David Polykoff)

This is indeed a second generation social network that is taking online engagement to new levels through good design and technology that truly ‘works’ and is intuitive and highly responsive in real time.

This is No Accident

My bet is that this is no accident, this has been designed by Google to happen from day one.

They have taken the issues such as time lags, privacy and ease of use that have been learnt from Twitter and Facebook and other social networking channels and invented a better mousetrap.

Why do you think Google+ drives such high levels of engagement?

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Image by Peter Forret

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • I think you’re comments are right on, sort of Windows 3.0 of social media. Question is: Can FB and Twitter catch up? Remains to be seen.

    • Thanks for the comment Kevin. I think it will drive Facebook to innovation and possible reinvention but Twitter seems to listen to the beat of a different drum!

    • I love Google+ but it is the one who is catching up, not the other way around.  I don’t care how much FB sucks, 800 million users migrating is gonna take awhile.  The good news: FB just screwed up their chat so bad its practically not usable.

  • Impressive how much engagement G+ is showing. Nice Google+ widget on your sidebar.

  • Great post Jeff! To be honest with you I have not been spending as much time on Google+ after I kicked is tires because it overlaps so much of what the other networks do. But your post intrigued me enough to start spending more time there. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment Neal. I initially didn’t spend much time there but I have invested more time recently due to its growth and high engagement. It is actually driving more traffic than Facebook to my blog after only 2 weeks!

  • Google has made G+ easy, friendly, social and, might I add, sexy. (Okay, I’m a Google groupie.) Never have liked Facebook and the controlling, take-it-or-leave-it attitude, so if I never have to go back there, that’s fine with me. Still very loyal to and in love with Twitter.

  • I think you need to take into account the honeymoon period users are experiencing with Google+ that stimulates this kind of interaction. Time will tell if this carries on for years to come. 

    I believe that Google+ is more appealing to a mature & techy audiences whilst Facebook will, as it was always designed to be, a favourite for younger audiences.

    • But they are all so different…
      I mean, Facebook has been a place to share “social” stuff. I guess G+ is set to attract social users–but more in “real time” with the webcam hangouts feature. 

      Also, if you saw Modern Family last week, you know of the endemic called “parents spying on their children’s pages…” G+’s privacy features will shut that down. So that’s attractive to young socialites who want to keep “business” separate from “pleasure.” (Of course, none of that matters if no one is “hanging out” on G+.)

      But that’s not really what we’re talking about in this post–we’re talking about G+ for business–and G+ hasn’t really proven it’s merit for business yet. In fact– business isn’t even whom G+ is trying to attract. Yet only business people (the early adapters in this case) are really into it (so far).

      I think SMEs are attracted to G+ right now because most do not have a Social Media Strategy in place, thus, they feel like the “older” SMMs platforms are “too watered” down and don’t know how to participate. So G+ seems like the knight in shining armour– a new place to take over and really have an impact. But really, it’s just like any other SMM and will require planning too.

  • You really have me thinking on this Jeff. A superb post. My instinct is it is this newness factor that you call out but time will tell I guess. In any event, fascinating to think about and this is a first-rate conversation starter!

  •  What do you think of google + privacy settings?

  • I haven’t used G+ yet, but the Mashable example could be because the vast majority of G+ users right now are techies. I’d like to see how much engagement a non-technical post gets.

  • Monique Nelson

    I think there is another factor involved, though your theory that everyone on Google+ right now is in the innovator / early adopter phase is a good one. I think “leaders” are leaders for a reason, and that is often because they have a loud voice that they like to use!

    The other factor that I think comes into play is the massive amount of people who you can have in your circles. Though the security on Google+ seems to be much more secure than on Facebook, you are also given more Freedom. You don’t need permission to have someone in your circle, instead you need to give permission for people to see your posts.

    Personally, there are a LOT of things that I post that I would be happy if the whole world viewed. Other posts, I only want friends or family to see. I have that power with Google+, so I welcome anyone to put me in their circle. I assume other people are thinking the same way. 

    It creates a much larger potential following to interact with, and vice versa.

    Just my two “sense.”

  • Steve

    I love the idea that Google+ could give Facebook a “run for it’s money” but will be interesting to see if it remains as highly interactive once it grow’s past the innovators & early adopters.

  • Paul Anthony

    Hi Jeff, interesting take. I blogged something similar a while back, be interested to hear your thoughts: 


  • Thanks Rebecca for your comment and that feature of Google+ adds to the “7 Reasons” which now should be “8”

  • Ezequiel

    It’s stupid to take an article from Mashable as a measure of Internet reality. Your grandmother has Facebook already, it doesn’t mean she’ll ever be on G+.

  • TangyWords

    OK, yes Google+ is shiny, new and cool (like all things Google). 

    But besides content sharing, what else will we do on here for business? 

    Hangouts are unlikely. Circles are done. I’m sitting here thinking, “now what?