I’ve seen a few discussions about the desire for the ability to categorize your status updates on Google Plus, most recently from Adrian Holovaty.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell:
You’re a multifaceted human being interested in a lot of different things. For example:
- Video Games
- Tai Chi
Your views on one of those subjects gets extremely popular and gains you a massive amount of readers/viewers (lets say video games). Now whenever you talk about one of the other 3 things a large portion of your reader/viewership is uninterested.
What do you do?
This is, admittedly, one of those good problems to have because it means you’ve been successful at gaining a reader/viewership somewhere. That said, it is a pretty “serious” problem for a number of bloggers/vlogers/tweeters/etc. out there that no one has created a “good” solution to.
My Personal Experience With This Problem
To get an idea of how this problem works and the effect it has on people like myself, take a look at the first 5 seconds of this video (it pretty much summarizes the whole video):
That video currently has 2.2 million views. The experience I had with that one video has forever changed the course of my… everything! Before that video my YouTube account was much like this blog. Random content about… whatever. After that video I had an… AUDIENCE (like… a real one that wanted new content from me).
I don’t want to ramble too far off topic. Essentially, I amassed a following of people that expected one kind of content on my main channel of content distribution and wasn’t sure how I should react to it.
One solution some people choose to go with is the “If you don’t like my content, fuck off,” approach. I’ve somewhat adopted that style to my video making but it’s not the greatest solution. If you have a viral video, a popular book on some subject, etc. you’re always bringing new people into your world looking for more of what they perceive as being “you.”
Another solution is creating multiple personas which… works, but doesn’t. Here’s a (short) list of personas I’ve created online trying to categorize my updates:
- PwningLife – Personal development
- Black Horse Tai Chi – Tai chi
- MyDeadXbox – Video Games
- Social Milwaukee – Social Media stuffs
- MilTownKlan – A Clan of digital warriors battling evil and righting wrongs throughout the multiverse
This should work in theory but… it’s a lot of work trying to update all your different personas when there’s just one persona behind the scenes doing all the work.
The Ultimate Solution
I’ve been thinking about a solution to this Google+ “problem” and I realized that it was sitting in front of me plane as day.
Whenever I create a new online persona there are steps I take every time:
- Buy A Domain
- Create a Gmail account
- Link it to YouTube
- Create the Twitter Account
- Optional: Setup a Facebook Fan page
ALL of those things could potential take place in Google’s suite of services.
- Domain -> Blogger
- Twitter -> G+
- Facebook -> G+
Now all Google has to do is let me link all of these personas into one account making the management of the accounts a BREEZE. Then I won’t need Facebook, Seesmic, Hootsuite AND the official Twitter app on my phone. I would honestly drop updating all of those services and point people to my main Google Profile (which would in turn have my sub profiles/personas).
Then people could sign up to follow all of my updates from everything (personal, professional, video gaming, martial arts, etc.) or just pick and choose. And I, as a “hyperactive” content creator, would love the freedom of being able to clearly label where certain content should go.
Don’t like that idea and want to keep things the way they are? GREAT! Just don’t enable “labeling” (or whatever the feature might be called) and people will have to take you all or none.
What I described above would be perfect for me, but not for everyone. Here are a couple more versions to get you thinking.
Instead of various personas there could be the obvious “tags.” So when you added someone to your circle who had tagging enabled a prompt would come up:
“This person categorizes their updates so you can pick and choose what you would like and not like to see.” Then you’d see a list:
- Video Games
- Martial Arts
- Cat Videos
- 中文 – Chinese
It could be as easy as having a personal and professional category (how many of you have 2 Facebook accounts for personal and professional?) Then between circles (you choosing who sees what) and people being able to choose what they want to see you’d only need the one profile.
I know I listed my personas like categories of me (which they kind of are), but how nice would it be to be able to manage your business accounts and your personal accounts from one service (Facebook has done a pretty good job with this). So, for example, my Black Horse Tai Chi Google Business Page (or whatever it will be called) could list me as the owner. Then you could just follow the business specific updates, or you could also follow me and see how much of a nutter I am (and decide tai chi definitely isn’t for you. 😉 ). And vice-versa, the tai chi page would be listed as a business I owned on my personal page.
What’s funny is when I originally saw people complaining about this I thought to myself “What’s the big deal! If you don’t like their updates stop following them.” Then I thought about it for a little while. Then I realized that I’ve gotten so used to how bad of an experience I’ve had as a content creator on various content creation sites that I’ve just taken it as the norm. Then I realized it needs to change! Then I thought about how it could change. Then I wrote this blog post (after a vision in a dream from a Googling Daoist Immortal).
More noise should be made by more people about this subject so do what you can to get this idea to the right set of eyes. I’d also love to hear what you think or if you’ve read something really thoughtful about this share the link.
Google+ has a chance to do something that no one has successfully done yet. Done right I could easily drop off the face of the digital earth for all of the other services for a lot of what I do online (I understand that Facebook is currently the 800 pound gorilla that you need to invite if you want a big party.)