Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

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Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

Well here it is. The end of Google Plus is finally upon us. The sadness is setting in, but I feel the need to say Goodbye. You see folks, I joined Google Plus that very first day, June 28, 2011. I never ever experienced the Google Plus ghost town. I ended up with 5 million followers on G+. Quite possibly the most followed person in the world who “actually used” Google Plus. The Queen of Google Plus, the poster child, or my personal favorite –  The most followed person in the world on the social network absolutely nobody cared about.

This website changed so many peoples lives. I wanted to take this time when Google Plus is shutting down, to share with all of you why so many of us loved Google Plus.  Why this closing hit us so hard. Google Plus was a whirlwind experience and there are so many things to say. Saying goodbye is never easy but I hope those who relate to what I’ve said here, can get some closure from this eulogy of mine, for something we cared about so much.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

Who Used Google Plus?

There are roughly 3 groups of people when it comes to G+. Please pick your closest available group 😉

Group 1 – You don’t even know what Google+ is. You never used it as far as you know. Hey thanks for being here and learning about it.

Group 2 – You think you had a G+  account. Likely because “Google forced you to use it” or “heard it was good for business”. You posted something once you think, you don’t know. You playfully mock your friends or anyone who ever mentioned they used the platform with – “Isn’t it a ghost town?”. 

Group 3 – The Google Plus Fans and Core Users. Your life was forever changed because of the people and experiences you had on G+. Maybe you met your husband, got a job or created thousands of connections with people all around the globe that you consider friends. Although you’ve lived the entire G+ experience with constantly being told the network is a ghost town, the actual death of Google Plus  pains you. You feel like you’ve lost something that you know will never quite be replaced. It was just a website – a tool –  but none the less an important part of your life for many years.

It was Never a Ghost Town

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ EulogyFor me and so may other loyal Google Plus fans it was mind boggling that the media kept painting Google Plus as a ghost town. My stream was rich and active and full of things I loved to talk about. Countless users, myself included, got WAY more interaction on G+ than any other social network. I posted about this many times and offered to talk to any reporter about it. Yet the media never acknowledged this. No one was interested in that story.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

Google painted G+ as the Facebook replacement in their marketing, but that was just wrong. I told them this in marketing meetings I attended at Google head office.  It was never a Facebook replacement. G+ was always much more like Reddit or an interest based platform. G+ circles allowed you to compartmentalize your social streams. Don’t want your boss and co-workers to see you out partying last night? No worries. Share those bar photos to your friends only circle. ONLY friends would see it. Your boss and co-workers never would. Want to post pictures of your cats?” Cool people who like cats” circle would interact with genuine targeted interest to your cat posts. Those who love dogs and loath cats would never see your cat posts ever again.

We all know Facebook is for friends and family. After years of interacting daily with your friends and family there though, the sad truth has come to light. You actually don’t really LIKE or share similar interests to many of your friends and family. At least not on a constant play-by-play, public, on-going update that Facebook has provided for many years now. Google plus was for strangers who just happened to like the same things you do. I had countless circles and streams of content showing only stuff I was interested in. Isn’t that the way social media is supposed to be?

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

In this current time of Facebook political post divide, (that mixed together with the constant Facebook security flaws has all but destroyed the current version of Faceybook) not a day goes by where I don’t see countless people talking about how they HATE the politics in their Facebook feed and “unfriend them” if you want to post X side of whatever today’s debate is.  The Google Plus unique way of sharing topic specific content to only the people who were actually interested in those topics is needed now more than ever.  Yet alas, G+ has decided that today it will close it’s doors forever. What was it like for those of us who used the product? The G+ faithful? Amazing. Life changing. Here are some of my memories.Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

The Core of the Experience – Google Plus Public Hangouts

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ EulogyHangouts was something that always made Google Plus special for me. I opened up hangouts on that very first day and video chatted with other random people around the world. This was a time long ago, when video was not used for nearly half the things we take for granted and use it for today. This was the wild west of social media my friends.  It was truly amazing to be sitting in my living room and Boom – The Black Eyed Peas are hanging out in their living room and we were discussing life in a casual video hangout. I chatted with countless famous people from rock stars to famous monks to movie stars and sports celebrities. Those early days were something else.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

It wasn’t just the famous though. Some of these early day hangouts were just visually, chatting and getting to know people from all around the world.  Simple conversations that were well… fascinating. What do Polish people eat for breakfast? How much is a cheeseburger in Japan at Mcdonalds? What is the hit music in Australia right now? What are your thoughts on this tech news article people from all over the place? It was the same eye opening experience you get from backpacking around the world, all done from the comfort of your living room. I saw amazing places around the world with people who lived near those locations. Trips to the Pyramids, the Eiffel tower, Niagara Falls, and Shopping Malls in Duabi to name a few. I hung out with thousands and thousands of different people from all around the world. I asked where they were from, what they do and how they are. I likely asked you if you hungout. Tattoo artists to lawyers to geeks to moms to students to technology fans to rocket scientists. I’ve met them all and countless more in a Google+ Hangout. It was a networking paradise.  Many of these people I still consider friends to this day. Many are good friends, who I’ve flown to meet and hang out with many times in “real life”. I’ve been a part of some of these people weddings, and some of their funerals.  I played Dungeons and Dragons in a hangout with people from all over the place, for over a year, every Sunday.  Long before this was a regular YouTube streaming experience for countless Role playing brands today. The people I met in these Hangouts  became core parts of my life.

I loved hangouts… I did them daily, usually public, with countless people, 10 at a time for many many years. I wouldn’t change these experiences for anything in the world. If you were part of those hangout days, you know. You remember.

Circles Made G+ go Round

It wasn’t just hangouts though. I made curated circles on a wide variety of topics I was personally and professionally interested in. From Zombies to Xbox. From Cats to Canada, I created countless circles of users around the world who liked these topics. When I had a questions about gaming – Which new headset should I get? I posted it to my “gaming circle”. Immediately thousands of people who were knowledgeable about gaming and whose opinions I trusted on gaming would give me advice. My social time on Google plus was filled with content I actually wanted to see. What a novel concept for “Social Media”. Shares existed on Google Plus first. Facebook copied this concept years later. Mobile video conferencing from your cell phone? G+ had that first too. Google Plus did countless firsts.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

 

Being Famous On the Internet

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

Being famous on the Internet was hard. I see countless Youtube, Instagram and other social media Influencers expressing this concept daily. When you finally “make it” as an online celebrity there is no user manual or guide on what to do or how to act. Although I made a lot of friends, I also made a lot of enemies having 5 million people follow me. A lot of hate. My life was threatened. I was stalked. People tried to blackmail me even. It is quite something to have 5000 people correct a typo you make. Every typo, every day.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

I had countless jealous wives contact me about their husbands. They wanted to know who I was, and why was I talking to their husband. I never knew who their husbands were, never even talked to them, they just followed me on G+. I feel bad for those husbands. People love to follow and criticize you on everything you say and do. They also idolize you too. People wanted to take their picture with me if they saw me in real life.  I had several people tell me a post I made changed their life. You know, that cat one from 4 years ago?  I never knew. I likely had no idea who they even were. It was impossible to keep track of everyone, although I tried to always be approachable and friendly on G+. It was hard.

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

I learned a lot about human nature from these things. I learned a lot about human nature around the world too. I once posted a joke about a cow and had countless people from around the world inform me that my cow joke insulted their sacred animal. It’s something in North America I would never think of. It became very hard to find content that did not offend people as my audience grew. The world is a very big place. Being a celebrity is hard work and I empathize so much more with the famous ‘movie stars” of the world after this” D Level” fame experience. Many people ask me why I haven’t moved to Youtube or Twitch or some other streaming platform to “do it all again”. I learned the lesson of not investing everything into a network you don’t control. I also don’t really wish Internet fame on my worst enemy.  Many of you on Google Plus had a larger audience than you have had anywhere else in the world on social media. You perhaps can relate to some of what I’ve expressed here too. Fame is a funny thing and we all deal with it differently. I had some really amazing experiences because of G+ fame too. Perhaps that is an article for another day though.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye….

Goodbye Google Plus -The Final Death of G+ Eulogy

These life changing experiences were not unique to me. Countless individuals are expressing their sadness on Google Plus shutting down. My experiences were shared by many, maybe by you too. If so i’d love to hear about your experience below in the comments. Funerals and eulogy’s aren’t for the dead, they’re for the people left behind – the Google Plus Fans.  Regardless of which Google Plus user group you fell into, many people around the world are mourning the loss of this platform.  We feel immense sadness that a platform that was so different, so special, was never really given the chance by so many.  Google Plus was something we put so much effort and love into and it was taken from us today. Thanks for all the laughs, the friendships, the experiences. Thanks for everything. Goodbye Google Plus. We will miss you.

 

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25 Comments
  1. Jason ON says

    Wait a minute … GOOGLE+ is that one with the … nevermind. I’ve never heard of it.

    😅

    1. Carms Perez says

      LOL oh Jason… Thank you Amanda for being a woman and handling such a crowd you were always so fun to read! As I read this, I feel the exact same. Group 3: Hangouts forever changed my life. G+ saved me over and over when I would feel so lonely in real life, I would come home and I knew I had 65,000 friends at my disposal to accompany and cheer me on. G+ saved me over and over again from the depths of a terrible depression. I knew people looked up to me and it brought out the most positive thoughts in me. I will never be the same without my G+ fam but I cherished it every day and I will always remember every face, every interaction, many jokes and all the amazing people I met through G+. Shame that Google can’t keep it on. I agree w/you internet fame it’s not as people think it is. However, out of my 65K I was never once disrespected or harassed and I’m very lucky for this bc it’s rare! All love, I will miss you all.

      1. AmandaBlain says

        🙂 it is good to see you Carms. It’s been too long.

  2. Michael D Tedder says

    Thank you Amanda for all you did for G+. I’ve always spent more time here than any other social media. Please enjoy your life

    1. AmandaBlain says

      🙂 Thanks for stopping by

  3. Alex Reusch says

    Thank you Amanda for sharing your personal experience of G+. I belong to Group 3 and totally understand your feelings. I never became famous as my circle count (or followers) was far from reaching millions. But still, I had a great time sharing my passion and discussing with people from around the world. I even met some people in the real world, after I first met them on G+. Some examples: Photowalks or individual photo shootings with photo enthusiasts like me. But the best was inviting strangers to dinner to have a joint audio listening session in each others homes. Well… HiFi audio freaks like me!

    For me, the most beautiful summary of what G+ was is:

    “Imagine a social network where geeks have higher follower counts than celebrities. Where there’s no advertising. Where trolls get crushed and ordinary people have a voice. Where smart people gather for long, detailed and interesting conversations. Where most streams aren’t algorithmically filtered. Where photographs appear at full quality. Where social networking engagement leads to actual, real-life friendships. Imagine a social network that strikes fear into Facebook, and forces them to improve the site for their users. It’s all hard to imagine. But for about three years, this was Google+.” (Mike Elgan)

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90252543/goodbye-google-a-eulogy-for-the-last-great-social-network

    1. AmandaBlain says

      I did many photowalks myself. Amazing fun times those HIRLs…. 🙂 Mike Elgans definition is beautiful. I had not read it before. thank you for sharing.

  4. Martin Seeger says

    While I spent 7+ years on G+, we never ran into each other until the end in the G+ EA group. Judging from this excellent post here, the loss was mine ;-). Have fun wherever you go next.

  5. Bob Danley says

    Excellent narrative Amanda, you summed it up very well. I have read several of these eulogies. Plussers cannot understand the stupidity of shutting this platform down. Am in total agreement 🙁

  6. Robert says

    Good times!

  7. Elwin Green says

    As much as I agree with most of this piece, I will diverge on this bit: I don’t “immense sadness that a platform that was so different, so special, was never really given the chance by so many.” I feel annoyed, and maybe even angry, that Google itself never really gave it the chance it deserved. It was indeed the anti-Facebook, the place to meet NEW people, and fascinating ones. That was what made it special, and having all of my Facebook friends there would have likely ruined the magic.

  8. Joel c says

    I met my partner on g+, to my knowledge we had the first baby from meeting on g+ in Australia(we’ve not got two!). I made some amazing real life friends too. Its a real shame it didn’t work.

  9. Amid Yousef says

    I was on Google+ from the start and always loved its cerebral PLUS.
    I loved meeting and following and circling ALL of you and will really miss ALL OF YOU.
    Goodbye Google+

  10. Ryan says

    Thanks for all the Hangouts, Amanda
    Next time in Toronto I’ll owe ya a Thanksgiving poutine

  11. Isabelle Cardinal says

    Ha!! Such a good read… I will miss G+ a LOT! So many creative people I met there, hang outs were just awesome.. we use to do “musical hang out”, a bunch of creative people and I, while working on our individual projects (photographers, illustrators and graphic designers)… it was like having co-workers that you had CHOSEN! haha Oh well… they are still my favorite people and so are you, and just for that, for the people I met there, I am grateful I got to be there. Cheers!!

  12. Ron Clifford says

    What an experience. The “Early Days” were LIFE CHANGING. nothing near a ghost town and it changed my life forever for the good. I had thought of creating a lament on the loss of such an influential network, but really it died a long tie ago when they dismantled the core services and lost their vision of who they serve. It’s odd that right up to the end I could post an image to my Antarctica Collection or my Portraits Collection and it would receive millions of views from all the ghosts who called G+ their online social home.

  13. LaDonna Pride says

    I am most definitely part of group 3…there from the very beginning…..flying to different parts of the country to “meet” old friends is something difficult to explain to some. And hangouts!!! so much fun and learning and people and…..I am so sad it is now gone. My following was never as large as yours…..but by far the largest I ever had….thanks to being in one of Thomas Hawk’s beta “photographers” shared circles. I hope to keep in touch with so many of the amazing people I met on G+

    thank you for putting into words the feelings I am having difficulty expressing.

  14. Terence Towles Canote says

    Very well said, Amanda. I was with Google+ almost from the beginning. I joined on July 8 2011. I had more success there than on any other social media site. When it closed early today I still had 12,444 followers. More importantly, I made lasting friendships there. Google+ just seemed to be built for that kind of thing. I will always remember the many discussions held there, and I will remember the hangouts. Google+ truly was a life-changing experience for me. It is perhaps why, as odd as it sounds, I am feeling such profound sense of loss with its closing.

  15. Nina says

    Yeah, see, I never had that problem because I didn’t have “followers”, I had circles of “friends”, “acquaintences”, and shared interest groups and new everyone in the first two groups by name.
    “Internet fame” what a crock.
    Yes, I had the same experiences with people from different cultures across the world, but that’s because we had become friends over time. Not because they were my “followers”.
    Hangouts I occasionally did in a small group because one of us had a problem and needed support. Normally hangouts were between two people, without the need for the world to watch.
    In any case… Just because G+ has burnt our house, we did not lose our home. My friends and I are building a new one. Privately owned so that no one can kick us out again. We stuck together, a couple hundred of us.
    No, it’s not about ridiculous “fame”, it’s about true connection. And that will never die.

    1. Al Chris says

      Agreed. Well said!

  16. Chris Sutton says

    Hi Amanda, I was a latecomer, 2013. I never really embraced hangouts, too nervous on camera, but nonetheless, G+ changed my life. The photographic mentorships were a revelation, so many people freely giving their time to help others. I learnt so much, and was inspired by so many, I don’t have the words to express my gratitude for that great gift.

    Over time I amassed half a million followers across various collections, and while there was spam, there was always much more interaction with real people than I’d have ever thought possible.

    It’s still almost incomprehensible to me that images I posted would gather millions of views. Even in the last days, possibly even more so in the last days, complete strangers would strike up conversations, real conversations, and over the years I have made many friends who will remain lifelong friends.

    As far as Google is concerned, they simply have no organisational understanding of what they created, they knew the cost but not the value. Social Media platforms should be held to a different standard than providers of widgets, people invest vast amounts of time, emotional energy and creativity in social media platforms, and turning them off because they’ve outlived their commercial usefulness shows a callous indifference to their users. I strongly suspect that over time, this will be a turning point in the fortunes of Google. The company was built on backs of their product evangelists, and those same people will in a great many cases become Google’s greatest critics.

  17. Al Chris says

    I’m grieving for the loss of a beautiful world where you could build meaningful discussions with people from all parts of the world.
    Most people were considerate, articulate, witty and welcoming.
    I learnt so much about photography and made some very dear friends as a result. They will not be lost to me the way G+ now is.
    No other side compares.

  18. Richard Krawczyk says

    It’s not the first time Google has failed in this space.

    Hopefully, the next incarnation will be the best.

    At least I got to meet you, Amanda

  19. Hermine Ngnomire says

    I just considered you the hangout Queen. To this day, I still remember how elated I was when I finally got a seat in one of your hangouts. You were so engaging, cool, calm and collected. It was intriguing to see you bounce from one topic to another and seemingly be able to have expert level conversation on everything from gaming and the art to media and the world around us. I met some of my closest friends now because of your boldness and ability to bring people together and conquer the innovative realms of social and digital. If I never told you this prior: thank you immensely.

  20. Charbax says

    Hey, I saw you at CES again recently.. we also did a video at CES this other time but I think it didn’t get published.. Google has a Trillion dollars but they actually didn’t have a clue how to destroy the stupid facebook, instagram and twitter. It’s a shame, they should have listened to me, I know exactly how they could have killed facebook. It really wouldn’t have taken much engineering. Thing is, when you have a Trillion dollars, you don’t care much anymore about anything. Many Googlers are already set for life. The G+ bonus doesn’t matter to them. If they only had implemented a smarter customizable feed, where post quality matters and where the number of followers wouldn’t matter as much.

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