Do you use Google+, and if so, how? (Poll)

Now that Google+ has had more than enough time to settle, I'm curious to find out just how many people out there use the platform, and if so, how they use it.

Now that the dust has settled around Google+ and Facebook's IPO has proven to be merely mortal, I'm as curious as ever to gauge not just Google+'s adoption rate, but how many people actually, really, truly use Google+ -- and if so, what for?

To begin, here's the poll:

[poll id="286"]

Now that you've cast your vote, I'd like to solicit your feedback in the comments below. If you use Google+, then what is its primary function for you? Do you use it for business/marketing-related reasons, a self-promotional tool, a Facebook replacement, or something else altogether?

The reason I'm curious about this is primarily due to the polarizing opinions surrounding Google+. Purely listening to Google, you'd think that Google+ was the place to be, due to the current size of its user base; however, be it the case of a vocal few or something more, it seems that a lot of people are Google+ users for completely arbitrary reasons.

Personally, there are two reasons I signed up for Google+ -- neither of which being because I just wanted to:

1 - Self-promotion: Truth be told, the only reason I primarily use any social networking tool is to promote myself and/or my content. It's a way for others to keep up with my work in a day and age when people "follow" you instead of subscribing to your RSS feed. Once Google+ began to gain traction, I knew it was time for me to hop on the bandwagon, despite my reluctance to join yet another social networking site.

2 - Google favors Google: I understand the reason why so many people cried foul when Google was noticeably promoting Google+ content over Facebook or Twitter in their search results, but I think many of those people underestimate the importance of social as an avenue of search and just how much it will be worth once someone figures out how best to monetize it. Anyway, Google favors Google, plain and simple. If you're a blogger/writer and you don't have a Google+ account so as to take advantage of Google's authorship benefits, then you're missing out.

So, that's the extent of my Google+ usage. Unfortunately, Google has me right where they want me, too. People using Google+ as a Facebook replacement are fine and dandy, but it's the people who use Google+ as a marketing/promotional tool that stand to serve the most benefit to Google+ for the time being. So long as Google rewards writers/bloggers like they do with authorship in search, Google+ will stick around; however, long-term signals don't look good when considering the lower number of social shares I take note of on sites (like ZDNet) that integrate Google+ social share buttons into their posts. That's just a matter of personal observation/opinion, though, so take it for what it's worth.

Let me know your Google+ thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

-Stephen Chapman

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