This title might leave you scratching your head and thinking how? But the concepts that are applied to Google Plus can be seen from one of the most inspiring ancient civilisations that have ever lived. It is knowing how these ancient concepts work and how they can make us engage with our audience, make us more knowledgeable but also teach us to be good Google Plus citizens.
This method has definitely been applied by many of the top influencers on the social layer, from their humble beginnings to their success of building a large audience. By simply asking a question they already know (or know the very basics of their chosen subject) and getting a reaction from their audience they slowly start to gain more knowledge on the subject. This can be particularly seen in communities and this is where we can build our knowledge and become experts in our chosen fields. From experience a place where you would have experienced this type of questioning would have been back at school when your teacher would ask you a question such as “When was Socrates born?” Which would then get you thinking and you would reply (if you had done your homework!) that he was born in 470 B.C. . Playing the teacher role and using Socratic questioning on a normal post can work really well, as research has shown, posts with questions get 100 percent more comments than other type of post. This is great if you run a brand page as you can start to understand the needs and wants of your customers.
Showing your Arete
Arete in layman’s terms “excellence of any kind” – The Ancient Greeks applied the term to almost anything, for example, the excellence of a man, the excellence of a bull to be bred, etc. So how can this applied to Google Plus? The use of Hangouts bring out our arete to a huge audience and help shape our identity on the web. One of Google’s most disruptive technologies, this video platform is more than your standard video conference tool as we connect with a wide range of people from all over the world and showcase our online identities and our ‘arete’ of knowledge/expertise.
Allegory of the cave – show non-believers the light
One thing from a philosophy point of view that has always fascinated since joining Google Plus back in July 2011 was this ‘Ghost Town’ label. For people who use Google Plus on a daily basis and constantly interact and engage with people they will know that this dubbed ‘Ghost Town’ is false. It got me thinking that the people who are not on the social layer remind me of Plato’s Socrates analogy of The Allegory of the Cave that he uses in his Republic book http://goo.gl/ViaU. In the book, the Platonic Socrates describes a gathering of people who have been chained up for the rest of their lives and all they can see is a blank wall. The people can see shadows on the wall which are projected from the fire which is behind them. These projected shadows are the closest thing the prisoners have of reality.
One of the prisoners is then dragged out of the cave on his way out he sees the fire, the light, as he reaches the top of cave his eyes fail to adjust to the sunlight. He instead looks at the reflection of the water and the night sky until finally his eyes have adjusted to the sunlight. He then goes back into the cave and convinces the other prisoners that the real truth and existence is out of the cave, however, the other prisoners deny his theory and end up murdering him. Similar situation to when Socrates was given a hemlock-based liquid for supposedly corrupting the youth of Athens.
My point is that people who have not experienced the social layer remain chained up in their caves and they need to step into the light and experience an alternative form of marketing and promoting their content that is beyond the realms of other main platforms. If you are still fairly new to Google Plus, start +1ing, mentioning, and sharing others content and start building yourself or brand and show your arete to people. The rewards will definitely be fruitful!
What is particular interesting about Google Plus (and I have never seen this on any other type of social platform) is once you have created a relationship with a person/brand through discovering their expertise and the value that they bring, the more they become influential to the Google Plus Eco-system.
By following Google Plus etiquette (http://goo.gl/RQqcVh) and adding value to the Google Plus Metropolis you will gain trust, will become an influencer in your field of expertise, sustain relationships, and overall become a first class Google Plus citizen.
There is nothing new about social, the Ancient Greeks have shown us with their many theories and concepts that to start a question and spread a message you do not to seek a large audience in an Athenian market you just need to cultivate your presence and use a democratic approach when engaging with your audience and not act like a ‘tyrant’ by link dumping and ignoring what your audience has to say. These ancient ways of thinking have therefore helped us join the dots and helped us mould our online identities from using the social layer that we call Google Plus.