Google+ has been available for over three weeks, and the amount of digital ink that has been dedicated to covering this latest social media phenomenon is staggering. This fact, however, will not keep me from offering up a perspective that maybe has not yet been touched upon. What could this perspective possibly be?
Two things, really. First, the inevitable adoption of the new social media platform by teens and twenty-somethings who are enticed by a greater ability to control personal content. Second, the newly-evolving industry of social media background checks.
Let's look at the Millennials. It is ironic that what set Facebook on its meteoric rise could very well be the same element that ignites the use of Google+ by those born after 1990. During the latter part of last decade, Gen Y-ers viewed Facebook as an exclusive club that belongs only to the college bound. Indeed, as Facebook opened its doors to high schoolers and eventually Mom and Dad, the Facebook community protested fairly loudly (at least according to David Kirkpatrick's 'The Facebook Effect'). Recent history has proven that it was all much ado about nothing, but in the meantime, the stories of keg stand photos finding their way onto the virtual desktops of potential employers became an all-to-realy possibility for undergrads who never bothered to sort out their Facebook privacy settings.
Privacy. This could be the factor that draws Millennials into the Google+ world. After all, the most talked about feature of the new site is the ability to create circles that give you complete control over not only who sees what, but also who shares what. Control that is nearly impossible to find in Facebook, and when found, nearly impossible to figure out. It only makes sense that the keg standing wannabes of today would restrict visibility into such foolishness to a discrete set of friends defined in their "see my keg stand" circle.
This leads us to our other point about the newly-defined space of the social media background check. These services claim to scrape all social media activities of prospective employees to give you a profile of your candidate without violating regulations protecting certain elements of their person (race, religion, etc.).
Ah, but what of such services if these crawlers cannot crawl Google+? Well, they would be rendered useless, of course. And given that there are tools already available for moving all my Facebook activity into Google+, it seems like this could be an area of interesting development over the next year or so.
In the meantime, what of our social media recruiting strategies? As recruiting professionals, we should become familiar with Google+. The platform is much more conversational and engaging, and recruiters would do themselves well to get a head start on candidates. This education will also be beneficial while we wait for company pages or profiles to become available.
In addition, we should begin to place more trust in our own capabilities to engage our candidates and evaluate how they behave in a one-on-one situation over social media rather than depend on social media background checks that could eventually be boxed out to the type of functionality that Google+ has placed on the marketplace.
P.S. If you don't yet have a Google+ invite, let us know and we'll get one to you ASAP!