Google+ is most certainly the buzz of the Firefly office and, as usual, has us all delving in to see where its PR potential lies. Though many of its core characteristics and features are unfortunately yesterday’s news to social media enthusiasts, some of its more developed and business-tailored features look set to be something we’ll want to shout about to our clients.

But how will it stand up against the other already highly successful social media platforms? Michael Nardis, Head of YouGov Investment Products, argues that “Google+ is tracing a path similar to Facebook’s initial growth,” supported by study figures that forecast 22% of US web-using adults will activate a Google+ account within the next year. This is predicted to surpass Twitter by this point and so is a force not to be taken lightly.

In the meantime, a bigger debate has arisen around how people will use Google+ versus other social media platforms already in place. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have each found their groove, but where will Google+ fit in amongst the top players? One of the more discerning arguments that has cropped up is how the media shapes society’s uptake of social media.

Fearful of tagged photos, “NSFW” comments and globally viewable tweets, as well as being hyper-aware of tone (e.g. LinkedIn professionalism bordering on the bland), social media consumers have become quite adaptable and aware of online etiquette. Armed with this knowledge and understanding (and scepticism), we anticipate Google+ will invite a much bolder and more open online community – a place where users could start afresh.

It will be intriguing to see how Google+ will unfold from a social and public relations perspective, and where social media understanding amongst users has greatly improved through trial-and-error. Thanks to the media, we believe this should instil confidence in online consumers, spring-boarding a hugely creative, sociable and intelligible online community. We’re already signed up…are you?

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