My Week Without Any Social Media – Except for Google+


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  1. Anthony Pensabene says:

    interesting. i’ve been trying to ‘migrate’ over personally as well as get some traffic to a brand account. i think the mobile g+ app looks pretty good – better than twitter regarding visual aesthetics in my opinion (i like how g+ really features that initial picture.) I’m still trying to wrap my head around engagement. I’ll be sure to trace your behavior like Ive been AJ Kohn.

    Personally, I like:
    – the comment function; because, i feel less people comment these days (maybe just in my microcosm)
    – the ability to ping or ‘call’ people into conversation when you + them

    not like:
    – writing a blog post in the application sucks. i’ve been cutting and pasting, but still have to reformat.
    – also, you can’t insert pictures into the post like you could a regular blog post. Only the first picture is visually presented..and it’s at the bottom (as a long-form post), which kinda ruins the point of the picture at that point in a way..

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      The app definitely is pretty – leaves a bit to desire functionally though… it’s just not very intuitive. The one thing that really aggravated me about the app is that I can’t upload a single picture via the app without giving G+ “access” to all the photos on my phone. No thank you LOL.

  2. Meg Geddes says:

    I tried something similar in the early days of Google+ (I don’t think I made it a week though) I missed my peeps but what I really missed was *news* (both industry and local) that you get in an almost breathless, late-breaking fashion on Twitter.

    I still use Google+ for promoting my sites like my fireworks sites, but very few “real” people are there – except fireworks companies.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Oh, I definitely missed Twitter the most of all the social networks I had to give it – it was the first app I downloaded and reactivated when midnight hit. :)

  3. The interesting idea to me is the idea of extending out and “friending” or “circling” new people. I think it would be helpful to a number of people to reach outside the circle of people that they read on Twitter or Facebook to expand their incoming information. I like that you found new and informative people when forced outside your comfort zone. I am going to make a point to from time to time to add more people to my social media accounts.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I agree Keith – it was a nice reminder that if you want to experience new things or new opinions, then you need to experience new people as well. :)

      Funnily enough tho, I actually pared DOWN my FB account after returning post challenge. It made me realize I saw a lot of posts from people I haven’t actually had a conversation with – online or off – in years.

      To me, FB is my “personal zone”. :)

  4. Martin Oxby says:

    Any city can seem deserted until you wander the streets and go into buildings. The same applies to Google+. I am a Twitter ‘power user’ if you like, 55+% of my social value is on there, but I am finding stronger connections with my industry and the local geographical area through Google+.

    The challenge is not getting ‘social media fatigue’ and using things in their correct proportion. I’m glad to see some positive writing about G+. It’s not meant to be a Facebook killer, but there are a lot of positives through G+ and I intend on it being my 2nd social platform after Twitter. And it will be worth the investment I’m sure.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Martin – I agree re the building analogy. I was a huge “no one but marketers” use Google+. And, when I took the time to try and get involved, that simply wasn’t true. As an example, I love to cook and post recipes on my personal non Sugarrae blog – there are a LOT of people active in the “cooking lover” category on G+ that had nothing to do with SEO. And there was even a high amount of chatter in very niche areas of cooking (i.e. I searched for “primal recipe” and wasn’t disappointed).

  5. Jeremy Rivera says:

    I THOUGHT something was different, I was seeing you posting, commenting and sharing LIKE A BOSS. I personally have been on a G+ bender since December. Its weird because I recall when I checked Facebook every hour, but now it feels…noisy and irrelevant to my interests. I also realized that since my move to Nashville for Raven, I am less and less connected to all of those NIFs in California so I really really had less interest in their re-posts of George Takei’s latest humorous image.

    I finally have my wife beginning to be active and all of my #Ingress playing friends are there so G+ is feeling “warmer” on that count. You are SPOT ON when you talk about signal to noise quality and the bar being raised for posting. I find myself now editorializing almost everything I share with additional comments, a *header* and relevant hashtags. Those are things I rarely would do for FB and Twitter..

    Great to have you on G+, look forward to seeing more of your stuff in my streams.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Ha Jeremy – you must have missed my first message asking for social media mercy when I started the challenge ;-)

      For me, Twitter is my opinion board and water cooler… Facebook is like going to a BBQ at my family’s house… G+ is where I go to learn something new… Instagram is where I spy on my tween (kidding – meaning she knows, not that I’m not watching haha).

  6. Elisabeth Osmeloski says:

    Glad to hear you survived, Rae!! :) And happy belated birthday (fwiw, I rarely bother to wish those on FB anyway)

    Excellent write up of your experience, definitely some interesting points there just on a personal level , improving communication with friends, family.

    Professionally, I like the signal to noise ratio too – I admittedly don’t use G+ as much as I should, but trying to do more w/ my personal account, I’ve been a big believer in it for businesses/brands though for quite a while. @MonicaWright has done a fantastic job with SEL & ML on G+ – it works for us b/c our audience is there of course, but also new opps as well.

    For mainstream brands, and in particular industries, not to mention local, there’s more value than a lot of people give it credit for – Jim Yu shared some interesting information about this at SMX London a couple weeks ago:

    Oh, and to answer the mystery for you – we had contributors to SEL/ML verified on G+ a couple months back:)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Ha – barely. ;-)

      And THANK YOU – I could NOT figure out how it occurred, especially since I’d been dormant over there until last week :D

  7. Andrew Johnson says:

    I’ve enjoyed seeing your G+ posts, Rae. I jumped on G+ the day it was born, and I’ve used it heavily since then for both my personal and brand updates. I’ve seen a dramatic increase in organic search traffic since I started using it (which I can attribute in Analytics), and have noticed interaction and engagement is increasing the more I interact and engage with others there.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Andrew – I’m armed with some new hangout knowledge I plan on testing out in the next few weeks… one problem is Google does a HORRIBLE job with documentation, so people have no idea what features their missing. I was shocked to learn all the cool shit you can do with hangouts.

  8. Very cool article Rae. I’ve always found I’ve been at odds with G+ because it doesn’t conform with how I like to use the other social networks. I thought it funny a couple weeks ago that I found that Studawg took up residence on G+ after I thought he pretty much quit other social media. It could very well be the best social media platform out there, they just got to the dance too late.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks James! Agreed on it’s timing… but after this week, I feel it still definitely has a “place” and an audience marketers shouldn’t completely ignore. :)

  9. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Thought Mr Dolan played that very well getting you off Facebook/Twitter while he smuggled in your friends.

    I usually don’t wish people happy birthday on FB so when I saw it was your birthday I didn’t bother on G+ either. Wish all the networks would get rid of that feature to be honest with you.

  10. Jeff Loquist says:

    I definitely don’t spend enough time over at G + and have not given it a fair shake. The new layout disturbs me a little bit, I think, but hoping to utilize it more, especially with the possibilities for search.

    I have seen several G + posts get indexed and pushed before the actual content.

    Definitely interesting.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      LOL, to me I didn’t have to deal with a “new” layout cause I’d never used the old one. ;-)

  11. Jason Waite says:


    This does seem interesting, however the real traffic DOESN’T seem there, however of course Google might allow others to see more of our content and activities online, thus increasing traffic.


    Maybe it’s more efficient to focus on value, paid marketing, and just monetizing and tweaking our daily automated email messages that are sent our to our list?

    As well, besides this Google + phenomenon, it seems that now people are monetizing their leads and traffic through Google + group hangouts. Although this seems cool, it does seem that now marketers are becoming slaves to the constant monetization Google + groups game.

    All this is amazing, however to me focusing on paid marketing, value, and tweaking the email messages to send out to the list seems more efficient.

    What’s your take?


    (The same guy that messaged you that lived in Denton ;)… I’m in Bogota, Colombia at the moment)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I look at social networks from two aspects – as a user and a marketer – and those aspects are very separate for me. As a user, I’m finding great info on Google+ I’m not finding other places, so it justifies making it a part of my personal social repertoire.

      As a marketer, I take into account several things…

      1. Google has blatantly stated that where they *want* to head is towards using Google+ authorship and publishership as a ranking factor. Whether or not they’ll get there, who knows, but I’m not going to bet against them.

      2. If your analytics data is showing a high percentage of [not provided] then a lot of your visitors are surfing Google while logged in. No, that doesn’t mean they have a Google+ account, but for those that do, you having a large circleship on G+ could affect whether or not you achieve personalized ranking boosts for users that have circled you or are friends of users that have circled you.

      3. Whether or not my specific target audience is active on Google+ (for Sugarrae, they are… for another niche, maybe not). If my users are there, then I need to be there from a marketing standpoint. Just like I would tell a personal injury lawyer that Twitter isn’t something they should focus time on, I’d say the same to certain niches regarding Google+. I have one site I NEVER would have thought would need to be involved in G+ – but when looking at the social buttons on the page, there is MORE activity re the Google+ button than Twitter. So, when I look at where to place social media importance for that specific site, users are telling me the order should be FB, G+ and then Twitter – for that site.

  12. Cleofe Betancourt says:

    Sounds like you need to add your G+ link to your bio box here :) Let’s connect!

  13. Dave Perks says:

    I’ve come across more articles than I can count telling me why I should spend more time on G+, this is the best I’ve read yet – probably because the direct purpose is not to tell me what I should be doing.

    Thank you for taking the time to dig in on G+ because, honestly, that’s been the barrier for me. I’ve sensed every time I’ve been on there exactly what you said about the bar for content, though I’m not sure I’ve ever stated it as plainly inside my own head as you did here.

    It does make me realize how much of the time I spend online and in social media consists of running from one bit of semi-interesting information to another, like a bee in search of its next hit of pollen.

    Your post has me thinking seriously about issues beyond what channels I use to how I use them and budget the time spent there accordingly. I’ll be looking for windows this weekend to take a deeper look at G+ for sure, likely at the expense of reading another update from a friend who can’t believe another school year has come and gone and how fast their kids are growing up. Turns out my kids are growing up just as fast. Should probably go spend a little of this time with them throwing a ball around in the backyard, as well. (By the way, nice job on your daughter’s room. I know it means a heck of a lot more to her than you did it rather than hiring someone.)

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks Dave – and you are correct. I’ve never taken much stock in the posts that tell me how I should use social media. How you use it vs. someone else using it depends on a lot of things, including personality, your audience and objective to name a few. Anytime someone comes out with a do and don’t for Twitter, I usually find that I break about 80% of the “rules”. ;-) Glad you found that the post spurred some thoughts and ideas for you. :D

      And thank you re my daughter’s room – it was a lot of work, but you’re probably right on it meaning more. :)

  14. CeeCee Evans says:

    Hey Rae,

    I loved this article and your challenge, and I agree each platform has a purpose, Facebook is my family place. I love Google+ much more worthy content, like your article. I will pass on a few helpful tips, if you use the Chrome browser Google offers a lot of extensions to integrate your twitter feed to your Google+ stream, and a extension to convert post to tweetable text.

    The also offer a Pinterest extension that will allow you to pin from Google+. Also there is an extension called DoShare that will allow you to post and schedule post to Google+ from another webpage.

    Just some tips to make you love Google+ even more. I love it now that I have tools to integrate.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Thanks CeeCee… yeah, Facebook is my NIF zone for the most part. I have some industry folks on there, but most are people I “know” in real life as well. I like to keep my social networks very separate but thanks for the DoShare suggestion – it could come in handy!

  15. Tim Staines says:

    Great read. I’m sorry I didn’t wish you a G+ Happy Birthday . . . posting it on twitter was my way of rubbing it in. The reality of G+ for me is that I would LOVE for it to replace Facebook as my NIF platform of choice, and I actually tried for two weeks to make that happen early on. But our NIFs are way less likely to explore new platforms than we are, and FB is comfortable and entrenched for them.

    To your point, if G+ wants to really compete (not just with tech types) it needs to consolidate into a single platform the things our NIFs use on different platforms . . . hoping to sell the idea that our NIFs don’t need to manage other platforms. It’s monopolistic, but the convenience is what people want.

    Also, I think it’s a generational thing. People who are already on FB with an established friend base aren’t likely to convert because their friends are on FB. G+ needs to convince the next generation that it is the place for them and start playing the long game to try to break the FB stronghold.

    And finally, I think this really is a Facebook vs. G+ issue as far as Google is concerned. Twitter and Pinterest are “over there” and they do some cool stuff, but they’re not the target. If G+ is going to be successful, it needs to take market share from Facebook, the primary platform of our NIFs (thanks for introducing me to that acronym by the way, I will over use the shit out of it now).

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Hahaha, it’s ok Tim ;-) When I logged into Twitter after the week was over, your tweets joking that I’d break made me giggle ;-)

      I disagree a bit on a social network needing to be able to get a generation to migrate – in my opinion, MySpace had the same generation and demographic as Facebook upon their launch – and they still ended up being MySpace’s demise. I’ve been on Facebook since the day (literally) they opened it up to non college students. I think the bigger problem lies in the confusion and not knowing how to really do anything – G+ is not intuitive. It took quite a while before I started seeing NIFs (older than college age anyway) heavily using the platform.

      Facebook slowly developed features, so you got to learn them in little bites (making it much more NIF friendly by default). G+ came to the game with tons of features, little documentation and causes a lot of confusion for people not familiar with it OR willing to dig in and spend hours to learn how to use it, if that makes sense. I mean, hell, I’m an internet marketer and even I had a steep learning curve for getting heavily involved there. ;)

      I do agree though that despite the differences, Facebook is their mega competitor. Pinterest is it’s own person. Twitter is a much different kind of person. Facebook and G+ are very close in the grand scheme as far as what someone might use them for – and how. I think G+ has a big legup when it comes to hangouts and video chatting – if they made it much easier and much more intuitive, it could be a big draw for NIFs (i.e. a Mom being able to group chat/video with all of her children on Mother’s Day). It’s a big asset (IMO) that they’ve made it very difficult to identify, learn and use.

      Haha, you’re welcome – I’m glad Boser made me aware of it as well. ;-)

  16. TJ Philpott says:


    Interesting post and the timing is even more intriguing since I’m currently writing a post on the negative impact of social media … on the user!

    Sounds like even tho you took the week ‘off’ from social media you still kept yourself pretty busy ‘refining’ Goggle plus! Pretty cool feeling of accomplishment (bedroom re-do) isn’t it!!!

    I must agree however that using social media is fun, addicting, and time consuming if not managed properly!

    Great share and hope you’re now back inside your comfort zone ;-)


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      TJ – the funny thing is that I’ve been spending less time on all social media channels since getting my other social channels back. I also did a deep cleanse of my Facebook friends upon my return (I consider Facebook to be a personal social channel). And yep – the bedroom came with a definite, definite awesome feeling of accomplishment that social media will never be able to replicate or cause. ;-)

  17. G+ since day 0 says:

    “As I said, Google+ raised the bar on shares”

    Maybe. That’s good, though.
    People can post their stuff in different circles – just ask to be included in all those fluff shares people do not post as public in G+.

    Hangouts was not mentioned in the main article at all?!

    Another thing missing is communities (aka groups). Didn’t you try them at all?
    There are also lots of communities for sharing all that picture-drawing-quote etc. stuff..

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      This is likely going to sound weird, but I don’t want to see random shares on the quotes, etc. Even on Facebook, I don’t belong to any of the groups that do that – I see ones that other people I’m friends with felt awesome enough to either post or share. I guess they are somewhat of a filter so to speak in that regard. :)

      Re hangouts – I only wanted to discuss my experience in the week. I did do one hangout, but it was a paid consult with a hangout expert to teach me all the intricacies of hosting a hangout. I think hangouts are one of their big advantages (which I later mentioned in the comments) but don’t have enough experience with them yet to fully comment on them. ;-)

      Re groups – I did join a group or two… but I didn’t really “get into them”… it seems sorta like a mesh between a profile and a message board – dunno – couldn’t seem to get into the feel, but admittedly didn’t try super hard. It was a big enough task learning the G+ basics. Haha.

  18. Phil Gregory ⇜Zero1➚ (@SEOZero1) says:

    I loved this post Rae,

    Can I start by saying I don’t think you are alone, most of us were most likely initially skeptics when it came to getting started with G+. I remember thinking..”I wish something would happen”

    Now though, like you after following more people, and specifically joining communities and commenting on what people had to say I found the whole thing so much more rewarding.

    G+ is now my go to for important work related learning and Twitter is just my RSS feed.

    Facebook, well it’s getting more trashy week by week and I barely use it anymore.

    For anyone who writes content for the web, or indeed anyone who has a business online of any kind, I say ignore G+ at your peril because playing catchup is a hard hard game.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Yeah – someone mentioned at a conference once that you shouldn’t “bet against Google+” – and I agree. It might never go anywhere and could be shut down in a year, but the advantage of the head start will be worth the time risk if it doesn’t. ;-)

  19. Christopher says:

    I’ve got my hands full with so many projects online that I too have been avoiding acquainting myself with Google+, but I suppose eventually I’m going to have to make some room for it. There’s nothing worse in online business than being the last to “get it.” At the same time I love the idea of tuning everything else once in a while, including all other social media. I do this periodically, always with the initial fear that I might miss something I can’t afford to miss, but always reassured upon my return finding out that things are pretty much right where I left them, only I got SO MUCH MORE done on everything else that’s been requiring my attention. Knowing when to ‘tune out to tune in’ is one of the strongest skills we can develop when our work and play both take place online.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      That’s the exact reason I was avoiding it too – but after a week, I fully had the hang of it :)

  20. Catherine says:

    I identify with your reticence to try Google+. I reckon I’d have to be forced as well. I can’t keep up with my other social media outlets as it is! And I love the “nif” thing. Fully intend to adopt that :)

  21. Anthony Hereld says:

    I was an early adopter of G+, but like with your experience, it was like showing up early to a party and no one of significance was really there yet. I dabble in photography, which has a HUGE community on G+, so there was that at least.

    But for people I always categorize as “The Elite”, the top tech gurus like Rae, Chris Brogan, etc…they just haven’t embraced G+ and made it feel like home the way Twitter has.

    Hopefully that changes. I truly believe Facebook will ultimately go the way of the dodo, and G+ will be where all the cool kids hang out.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Ha! I definitely don’t see myself as “elite”. As far as communities, I saw the same thing in the cooking and recipe community – they had a huge, HUGE G+ presence… but, the country music industry – as an example – has a ridiculously low involvement in G+. So, for a lot of people, you’re interests will determine if you see tumbleweeds in G+ or a large, vibrant community. :)

  22. Celene Harrelson says:

    Funny, I had a similar experience. I must say that I love Google+ more than social media sites, but I still need my FB and Twitter fix a couple of times a day!

    I find Google+ conversations much more intelligent and I like that, but I do need some silliness too! The people on G+ are very responsive I must say. Thanks for this post Rae!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      The big thing for me is the adoption of those in my personal life. They make FB a must for me as far as keeping up with friends, family, etc. Twitter however is my personal addiction. ;-)

  23. NANCY BADILLO says:

    Hello Rae,

    Thanks for the great post! I totally agree with you G+ is a great social media platform. At first I really did not understand it or get it. After a couple of weeks using it, I have been able to understand and see the potential of using it. There are many different social media platforms and I get using all of them gives you the best results when targeting tons of free traffic.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Yep – even now, the more I continue to use it, the more I continue to like it. The hangouts aspect of Google+ holds big opportunities for those getting to the game early. :)

  24. Ashley Coombe says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for when I posted on Facebook. Thanks for taking one for the team and committing to it for a week so we could learn from you :) Looking forward to using it more in 2014.

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