My palms were sweaty with anticipation. Standing on the outside looking in I felt like the last kid picked to play right field in the sandlot game. All those feelings of high school loserdom came roaring back in one hot blast until……it arrived. My invitation to join Google Plus. No longer would my face be pressed against the glass. I could now read the endless blog posts and expert ruminations on how Google Plus was the next best thing, will improve your brand and put Facebook out of business without a trace of envy.

I could experience it for myself. I was among the chosen. I was no longer a contender – I was somebody!

Credit Google for doing a bang-up job of building anticipation for Plus. The blog world was simply agog about this new platform. There is nothing like a healthy dose of curiosity to stoke the marketing machine. Remember Fahrvegnugen?

If you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for your chance to join the inner circle of Google Plus (oh, that’s a joke only us Google Plus users will get)- relax. This baby isn’t going anywhere for a while and there is absolutely no reason to jump into the fray immediately. In other words – the hype far out paces the reality.

Think of Google Plus as Facebook Lite. A lot of similar functions – but with different names. The learning curve is not steep but…it is a learning curve. If you are reflexive with Facebook it will take you a little time to figure out Google Plus. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but time you could be using elsewhere. Like on Twitter. Or Linked In. Or writing a blog post.

I m not here to bash Google Plus. There are a lot of interesting features. The design is simple. Adaptation will be easier because we already “understand” how social platforms work.

However, despite the fact that Google Plus will have about 20 million users in the first two weeks – it is still a beta product. What you see today will not be what is released to the general public (whenever that is). There is some integration with other Google products but that is far from complete. (I do recommend using Chrome if you are a Plus member as the integration is pretty seamless). There is no functionality for business pages akin to Facebook – but Google says that is coming.

The folks at CNET came up with a pretty good list of “issues with Google Plus and you can read that here.

In the end, Google Plus becomes yet another on-line time suck. It will take you time to get acclimated to the new surroundings. It will take time to build a community equal to what you have on Facebook. It will take time for Google Plus to reach the relevance of Facebook. Most importantly, it will take time to see if Google Plus is worth your time.

Google Plus will also force us to come up with new terminology. We “friend” people and “like” brands on Facebook. We “follow” people on Twitter. We “join” on Linked In. “Connect” is overused and too generic.

What will the Google Plus word be? We’re thinking “add” – as in “Add Me on Google+”

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan, Social Media Specialist