Help, I’ve fallen into a pit of steaming Google+ (what that means for tech blogging)

Google Sharks Cartoon

For the past six weeks I’ve been totally engrossed in Google+. Addicted is the right word. It’s like those dinosaurs that fell into a pit of tar and couldn’t get out. Heck, I’m not the only one. Today blogger Louis Gray announced he is joining Google to work on Google+. Congrats Louis!

What have I learned there?

1. A LOT of people have showed up and tried it in the first six weeks. I have 114,000 followers there. It took me more than three years to get that many on Twitter. That’s more followers than I have on FriendFeed, Facebook, and Google Buzz, combined!

2. A usage pattern has evolved. One that involves beautiful photos and large videos. Just my kind of style.

3. The feature set is maddening. It’s well enough done to make you think it’s competitive (and make other systems, like Twitter, seem boring, even as their streams have not slowed down a bit, which tells me that Google+ hasn’t gotten anyone off of other systems) but you can’t search. Discovery sucks. There’s no noise controls. Notifications suck. Etc etc.

But I’m wondering what that all means for tech blogging?

This morning I saw Read Write Web’s Richard MacManus write that tech media is obsessed with deals and rumors.

I’ve found that too, which is why Google+ has been so fun for me lately. There are a ton of great photographers over there, plus folks who run the music business, and there are tons of others, from artists to web developers. Yesterday I linked to 249 tech journalists and bloggers who are active there. Someone made a place where you can list the best folks, even.

Tonight things head into the scientific realm, with a live streamed hangout with a physicist from CERN.

But I’m finding it very addictive. Why? Because it’s not about the original post, it’s about the comments you get. The +1s you get. There’s a community forming and so far it has been mostly a positive experience, although there are some downsides. What are they?

I say mostly the problems are noise related. Or, another way to say it is they are the chat room problem. Things are fun when people you like are talking with you. But then come spammers and bad actors. Yesterday Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin said she was leaving because she had something unpleasant happen. I assume a commenter got her down, but not sure really what happened. But look at the 269 comments she got in support of her content. That’s the Google+ that has addicted me.

What does it mean for blogging?

1. Bloggers have to add even more value than before. Otherwise they won’t get the engagement that others will.
2. Bloggers have to find ways to get attention, both from their own audiences, existing places they look to get traffic from, as well as from those on Google+. Already lots of my blogger friends say that a lot of traffic is coming from Google+.
3. Lots of “pros” will say I’m stupid to not keep posting on my blog. They are right. You can’t monetize traffic on Google+ unless you have a model like mine (Rackspace pays me to be its chief learning officer, which is why I meet with so many entrepreneurs and others). That means you’ve gotta get off of Google+ and back onto your blog to get those precious page views.
4. Kevin Marks tells me he can’t do the style of blogging he wants to do on Google+. What does he mean by that? He can’t use multiple images. They don’t let you link (you’ve gotta paste out ugly URLs into your posts there) and typographical controls are few (you can bold, italicize, or strike out, but can’t do other things). So, if you need to have more “pro tools” to tell a story, you gotta come out to blogs. Most, however, won’t need those.

If you want to join me on Google+, the first 150 people to hit this link are in!

Is Google+ really ready for mass market? No.

Why not? It needs noise controls. Already for high flow users, like me, notifications are useless there and finding the good stuff, and good people, is very difficult (getting rid of people who don’t add value is also too difficult). I am missing private messages sent to me. Building circles is hard work (I know, just spent most of the weekend on rebuilding mine). The mobile clients are inadequate (you can’t share from them, can’t add those cool + links on people’s names, and on my iPhone the thing keeps freezing up). They also need to solve the real name debate, lots of users keep getting kicked off the system and the policies there aren’t very well thought out (even though I really like real names too). There are tons of other things they need to solve, too, but that’s really another post for another day.

Anyway, you can go through my feed and see the kinds of things I’ve been sharing and talking about. Looking through this selection it’s interesting to see what got engagement and for what reasons. But look at the engagement! It’s more than most people get on even popular pro blogs.

One other thing, I’ve hired Kat Armstrong and she’ll be helping me write up my videos and post those here in the future. If she posts, she’ll mark those posts with “From Kat Armstrong.” Same thing if I ever have guest posters here.

Before we get into the list of old posts, there’s already a post about this post, which is already getting lots of comments and +1s.

Link to SXSW 2012 data plot. 58 +1s. 31 shares. 16 comments.

Behind the videoconferencing technology of Google+ Hangouts (Video interview). +209. 158 shares. 58 comments.

SimpleGeo’s cool location-based iPhone app (Video interview). +123. 65 shares. 59 comments.

Audio interview of founders. +61. 19 shares. 69 comments.

A share of a very cool bicycle video. +371. 450 shares. 86 comments.

Video interview of Bob Summers, founder of Friendeo, a new way to get Facebook videos to Android and cool video discovery site. +64. 45 shares. 29 comments.

The TV wars. An editorial about what Google’s acquistion of Motorola mobile means. +169. 86 shares. 121 comments.

A link to a TED video that uses iPhones to perform some magic. +272. 325 shares. 51 comments.

A link to the top Google+ conversations about Google buying Motorola Mobile. +149. 78 shares. 80 comments.

Video interview of Luidia. The coolest whiteboard, er, surface computing gadget I’ve seen this year. +358. 379 shares. 96 comments.

Kick ass sports video camera (video interview with founder of Contour sports camera). +104. 66 shares. 37 comments.

Video interview with CEO of Healthline about healthcare info. +32. 21 shares. 11 comments.

Video interview with founder of SceneChat, which lets video producers add interactivity to their videos. +68. 46 shares. 39 comments.

Video interview with founder of Buckaroo, which helps local businesses with promotions. +42. 24 shares. 20 comments.

Video interview with founders of Tout, which brings productivity to email through useful templating system. +60. 42 shares. 43 comments.

Photo of guy behind AOL’s new Editions iPad app. +60. 23 shares. 86 comments.

Link to ShowYou video, cool way to discover videos on iPad. +76. 44 shares. 35 comments.

Audio interview with founder of 6dotinnovations, a braille printer for blind people. +110. 30 shares. 44 comments.

Video interview with Extole’s CEO which helps big brands convert people into brand advocates on social networks. +54. 26 shares. 21 comments.

Video interview with SteelHouse’s CEO, talking about eCommerce tracking. +62. 41 shares. 43 comments.

Video look at Toodo, a social to-do list. +70. 35 shares. 116 comments.

Video interview of founder of the OpenPhoto Project. +78. 15 shares. 54 comments.

Video interview with founder of RentCycle, which helps stores rent things. +38. 10 shares. 32 comments.

Video interview with founder of Alltiera’s Rodeo App Maker, which lets you do “bookmarks on steroids” or apps of websites. +77. 40 shares. 53 comments.

Video with Pioneer, the audio/consumer electronics folks, who are developing an API for controlling your favorite web services with your voice.

Video interview with’s CEO, talking about curation and social media. +42. 25 shares. 15 comments.

Video interview with NewMe Accelerator startups. I hope these startups kick some Silicon Valley ass. +189. 111 shares. 88 comments.

Video interview with CEO of, a new way to search for hotels. +39. 27 shares. 23 comments.

Video interview with GLMPS, cool photo/video app on iPhone. +94. 58 shares. 93 comments.

Video interview of CEO of Wildfire Interactive. One of the best Silicon Valley CEOs I’ve met. +200. 130 shares. 66 comments.

Video interview of Jimdo’s founder. They help small businesses make really great websites. +87. 60 shares. 34 comments.

A tour of Rackspace’s headquarters (my employer) with President of Rackspace Cloud. +98. 48 shares. 101 comments.

A rant about why I can’t wait for brand pages on Google+. +351. 222 shares. 130 comments.

A rant about my “noisiness” on Google+. +282. 26 shares. 356 comments.

An interview with Teens in Tech founders and startups. +83. 31 shares. 55 comments.

Video interview with founders of NowJS, toolset for developers who want to build real-time apps. +100. 91 shares. 60 comments.

A rant about why MG Siegler at Techcrunch is wrong and a bunch of insight into how I am more productive with email. +167. 62 shares. 110 comments.

My answer to Chris White, who asked why he should use Rackspace for his VPS. +43. 3 shares. 56 comments.

My rant on how to recruit the best talent. +253. 206 shares. 103 comments.

Link to a cool video from astrophotographer Tom Lowe. +517. 458 shares. 88 comments.

A post about what my first month on Google+ was like. +315. 167 shares. 161 comments.

Video interview with CEO of, which is bringing a new way to watch online TV to your TV. +71. 50 shares. 49 comments.

Video interview with CEO of, which is enabling developers to build a new kind of phone system. +50. 41 shares. 10 comments.

Interview with CEO of Tackable, puts your local newspaper online and on a map. +68. 62 shares. 26 comments.

Report on why Google is asking people to use their real names on Google+. +1146. 1103 shares. 414 comments.

Video interview with CEO of Fwix, which is making an API of geotagged info from around the net. +118. 74 shares. 37 comments.

Video interview with CEO of Cleversense, which is an iPhone app that helps you find good things near you. +43. 22 shares. 26 comments.

Audio interview with Bert Monroy, who made the world’s largest photoshop file (he’s a digital artist who worked on this for four years). +80. 21 shares. 53 comments.


Instagram has new camera competitor on iPhone, gets me back to blogging

For the past month I’ve fallen in love with Google+. Instead of spending time on my blog, I’ve been hanging out there posting long posts and participating in the quickly-growing community there.

Truth is I’ve been a bit bored and the engagement there got me over my boredom. I even reformatted one of my iPhones to see if I could live without any apps (I couldn’t, but the ones I really could live without are fewer than even I expected). One app I’ve become addicted to over the past month is GLMPS, that launches today.

First, we all know Instagram passed 150 million photos uploaded yesterday. That’s amazing for an app that’s only nine months old and that most in the mainstream still haven’t even heard of.

The other apps in this space, Color, PicPlz, Path, seem to me to be struggling to come up to the nice UI and use case of Instagram. To be honest, I’ve been using them a lot less lately because of GLMPS.

So, what is GLMPS?

To the untrained eye it looks like an Instagram copycat.

But I’ve found it to be more engaging than Instagram. Why? Because in addition to shooting a photo and uploading that it records five seconds of video too.

It doesn’t sound that cool, right?

But, chase around your cat, or chase around your babies, or watch your significant other for when he or she does something goofy. Shoot the photo. What you’ll notice is that the five seconds of video ENDS with that photo.

Huh? How did it record video before you push the shutter button?

It is recording in the background on your phone. When you push the button it grabs only the last five seconds and uploads just that and a photo. Nothing else is sent to the servers.

Anyway, here co-founders Paul Robinett and Nicholas Long talk to me about it. By the way, why are they talking to me on Google+ instead of in my house, or me visiting them? Well, they did visit me this week but I screwed up the video somehow. I covered that on Google+ itself. Sorry about screwing that up, but I think this actually worked pretty well, I might use it for other videos in the future.