Google+ Communities as Plazas and Topic Boards


Researchers have recently been focusing on understanding online communities in social networks that offer easy access to new audiences. In this work, we conducted a mixed-method study of public Google+ Communities and found two major types evident in both how users talk about them and how they appear to use them: plazas to meet new people, and topic boards to discuss common interests. This reflects two common motivations users cite in describing Communities: "meeting like minded people" and "finding great content". We characterize these two types of Communities within Google+ using mixed methods including surveys, interviews, and quantitative analytics, and expose differences in user behaviors between them.