Why Google+ Is Great For Pagans

I’m connected to social media for a good portion of my day. I’m a daily user, for both personal and professional reasons. I pay attention to trends and notice changes quickly. I’m vocal about what I like, and what I hate. And Facebook has made another silly change that has gotten under my skin.

Now not only does your personal profile look like MySpace, so do Pages. While I quite like the large header photo, the two column, non-linear, shifting timeline is a nightmare. Although I manage the Patheos Pagan Portal FB page every day, even I have trouble making heads or tails of the new timeline. If the purpose of your page is to disseminate current and topical information, then you better hope you pop up in your follower’s timelines because going to your page is a nightmare.

What makes it worse is I’m on Google+ every day as well. The experience there is very different. It’s easier to use and pages are cleanly linear. You can find current posts easily. Also when someone posts something brilliant that goes viral, the credit goes with them wherever the post goes. So it’s easy to find interesting people. I’m loving the experience.

A good example is Cara Schulz’s Little Oikos on the Prairie. Had she begun this project on Facebook is would have been an uphill battle to build a fan base. Links she shared would have quickly lost her page’s name. Notes would have been largely ignored. “Status posts” are limited in length. Not all links will load properly, even from trusted sites. She would be unable to comment on her page as “Cara Schulz” and as a page she would be unable to follow her fans back.

Yet on G+ her page has taken off. She’s gotten over 200 fans in a short amount of time. Her “status updates” are fascinating posts of substance and length, often with pictures, and anytime someone shares one of them the credit and link to her page remains stuck to that share like glue, regardless of how viral it goes or how many times the post is shared. While on FB it’s far easier to respond with a quick sentence, G+ allows you to write out, edit and format your response before posting it. Hitting the Enter key won’t post a half-baked thought. In fact, G+ seems designed to draw people into deeper engagement with each other.

The other reason is that Google+ informs Google search results. We all know that when it comes to search Google is King. Anything that makes it easier for people to find you via Google search is a good time investment. For Pagan writers who are trying to overcome the noise to signal ratio in our community, this is a fantastic tool.

Combined with the fact that G+ makes organizing people into groups easier, the Hangout feature is more stable than Skype, and Hangouts are about to tie into Youtube in a fascinating way so that live broadcasting can happen at a moments notice, Google+ is a clear winner in the social media war.

True, there aren’t as many people on G+ yet. But that is also an advantage. It’s easier to connect with movers and shakers on G+ and to build a format that newcomers to G+ will find engaging. The truth is that Google+ is a vibrant place that growing and changing the way social media works. I’m learning from other Pagans who use the service. Cara Schultz is thriving and building networks and finding opportunities faster than I can keep track of, Rodney Orpheus has become one of the people I have in my VIP feed, and T. Thorn Coyle is also experimenting with building a G+ fan base.

I really think G+ is taking off. It’s vibrant in ways the more idealistic Diaspora can’t be, and it’s far cleaner and more useful than the MySpace-inspired morass that Facebook has become. I think it offers the Pagan community a platform to engage and learn in a way that no other social media service can.

So here’s the deal:

1. The Facebook pages for the Patheos Pagan Portal and Star Foster: Blogger and Grump aren’t going away. I will keep updating those pages like I always have. Have no fear.

2. Over on Google+ I plan to start creating some content based on what I see other innovators doing. It’s going to stay on Google+ and be more focused creating a real sense of community. If you want to check that out you can follow the progress on Patheos Pagan Portal, and on my personal page. I want your feedback on this. Follow, engage and let me know what you think.


About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lupa-Bi/644493626 Lupa Bi

    Google+ would be a lot better for pagans if they didn’t have the ban on pseudonyms. Makes it harder for those who are closeted, or who simply prefer to go by their chosen rather than government-recognized names.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

       I have scads of pseudonymed people in my circles on G+. The name nazi thing seems to be overhyped based on my friends list.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lupa-Bi/644493626 Lupa Bi

        I’m banned from G+ because they took issue with my name.

        • eelsalad

          That sucks, Lupa Bi!

          Me, I am boycotting G+ because of the tactless way they handled having it pointed out to them that “legal names only” policies essentially ban folks with safety reasons to use pseudonyms. So, say, if one’s stalker ex-husband is a concern, you can’t use G+. Google’s response was basically, “sucks to be those guys. They can use a different social network.”

          My attitude is, if abuse survivors with safety concerns aren’t welcome, than neither am I.

    • http://www.groveofthelion.com/ Adrian Hawkins

      Im sorry you were banned, and understand why that left a bitter taste. Circles also make it possible to be closeted and pagan with no need for a second profile or page. Your bio can have protions that are circle only.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paposehn Philip Posehn

    Thanks for the information! It sounds like by blog will fare better on G+ at the very least. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

       Shoot me a link to it when you create the page!

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    So, I got bored and created a G+ page, I blame you :P

  • William

    The “my personal page” link took me to “Little Oikos.” ??

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

       Fixed. thanks!

  • http://www.groveofthelion.com/ Adrian Hawkins

    Personally, i think that google+ has made me a better and wiser pagan. I have gotten to know more pagans via it than any other social network- even ones that were for pagans. 

  • http://www.myownashram.wordpress.com/ Niki

    I’ve been debating starting a G+ page for my wee blog. I feel like it’s more ‘big time’ in some ways than a FB one (which I started last week). But this was a good kick in the pants to reconsider.

  • veedub

    i’ve just started a new distance class and tried a g+ hangout the other day for a meet & greet. much clearer and less freezing up than with skype, and i hung out with 8 people. only one person, from brazil, dropped out involuntarily, and i was able to do a one-on one with him later. (i think brazil’s telecom is not all that up to date). i’m also syncing the  group with a google group, which was a lot less satisfactory (the first attempt crashed in flames, but the second seems to be up & running; my main beef is the lack of support), and gmail.  yahoo groups is a bit more intuitive to use but migrating a list over to yahoo is a PITA.

  • http://blog.chasclifton.com/ Chas Clifton

    “I have trouble making heads or tails of the new[ Facebook ]  timeline.”

    I am glad that I am not the only one who feels that way. On the other hand, I heard this about Google+: “Google+ is like the gym–everyone signs up, but then they don’t go.” :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

       Yeah, I hear a lot about how dead it is, but that hasn’t been my experience. I actually probably spend more time on G+ now than any other social media site.

  • https://twitter.com/symsoa Sym

    I love google + I’m happy to know that you have a page too. I hate FaceBook:-P