Improving Exposure for Community and Collection posts on Google+
Over the last year, Google has invested a great deal in helping users find and follow new communities and collections. I’m generally a big fan of this focus on connecting people’s shared interests, but I believe that Google+ is now facing a problem that is a direct result of these investments:
Insufficient exposure for the posts in all those communities and collections that we’re now following.
The main place most of us see these community and collection posts is in the main “home” stream¹ — and that’s a real problem because they have to compete for visibility with posts from our circles, from “what’s hot,” from other people’s plusses, and presumably a bunch of other variables.
I can spend a lot of time trying to tune my Google+ experience by following this or that set of specific collections and communities, but only a very small percentage of their posts will actually make it through to my home stream. So, the only way I can actually see these posts is the very cumbersome process of going to your “followed” communities or collections and then clicking on each individual collection or community – like a little information cul de sac.
Of course, I don’t have access to Google+ usage data, but my guess is that what it would reveal lots of communities and collections being followed, but comparatively little engagement with the posts in those communities and collections. I’m curious about your personal experience:
How often do you actually see posts from the collections and communities you follow, and how do you find them? Do you actually click through and visit each one?
The result of all this is that I just don’t see the vast majority of content that I’ve told Google I actually want to see. This gives users the false sense that they are customizing their user experience, when in fact, not much is changed. And that’s really unfortunate because Collections and Communities are a great idea in concept. Google+ just hasn’t yet invested in the features to grant them better exposure. Without that, this huge bet for the network is going to generate a fraction of the engagement that it actually could be.
Last November, I suggested one idea for a fix (http://goo.gl/l4v6Ew), but so as not to get lost in the solution, right now I think it’s more important to highlight the problem.
It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan Google+, have invested deeply, etc. I just think this is a problem that needs some real attention.
¹ Some people may set notifications for communities and collections that they really care about, but this approach ultimately clutters up notifications if used for more than just a few.