The growing community on Google+ has recently been up in arms about Google’s creation of a suggested user list. The list is presented to new users during the sign-up process, encouraging them to ‘supercharge’ their stream by following celebrities and influential users chosen by the Google team. The controversy over the selection of users and Robert Scoble’s public request to be removed from the list brought up three important points for me, which I think we can all
1. Values are important
Scoble’s decision to be removed from the suggested users list shows his determination to make choices based on what’s important to him, rather than what other people think. When developing your personal or business brand online, be clear about what your values, standards and goals are, and stick to them. Not only will people respect you, but you’ll attract like-minded people who will help you expand your network. In short, be yourself, and make choices you can live with.
2. No social network is free from politics
Google+ is not the first social network to implement a suggested user list. As Scoble pointed out, Twitter and Instagram did the same thing some time ago. Whether it’s choosing a suggested user list or implementing new features, any social network will draw controversy and politics when it rolls out changes. Remember Facebook’s privacy issues? Google’s privacy problems with Buzz? Getting involved in these dramas for the sake of it
will only diminish the quality of your content and conversations. Using controversy to generate conversations and discuss new ideas, however, will keep your content relevant and your followers engaged.
3. Content will always win out. As Craig Kanalley pointed out, the list is not all-encompassing. Many users were not included, despite having large, engaged followings, or being known to create great content. So long as you’re not using social media to win a popularity contest, this is encouraging, because it shows that growing a list of engaged followers who respect your ideas and contribute to your conversations is related to the quality of content you create, and the discussions you spark.
My conclusion?Find your niche. Create great content. Connect with others who do the same, and develop a community through conversation, sharing and collaboration. And don’t bother with the popularity game.