Is Google+ the first real social network?

I’ve been using Google+ for just over a week and I have noticed one particular shift from any other social network I have ever used. For the first time some of the more popular and well respected people in our industry are engaging on a whole new level. They are inviting what seems like a natural introduction into who you are exactly. No one needs to be clever, they’re simply saying hi, tell me who you are, what you do and where you’re located. These are very normal, natural questions you might ask anyone you met in person. Google+ at the moment is mostly full of geeks, we follow each other on twitter, wish each other happy birthday on Facebook, we read what each other says, look at pictures, like blog posts etc, but this is the first time we are very naturally getting to say hi, I’m so-&-so, I do this-&-that and I’m from …

The other thing is that Google+ allows you to add anyone to your circles, so long as they permit it, you don’t have to send friend requests. I was only adding people I thought might know me, people I follow on other networks, but being that it’s currently so industry specific, I’m adding a bunch of people I’ve never engaged with, but because of the friendly and openness of Google+, I tend to be adding a bunch of new people who strike me as interesting and I’m getting to know them on a level, more casually, than any of the other social networks I’ve used.

Finally a social network is feeling normal and for me, that’s why it’s winning me over. I’m not sure how long this will last, it seems we’ve all been ‘virtually’ burnt before, so I won’t stake my reputation on this lasting forever, but if it means I’ve made a few more connections, with a bunch of like minded, more accessible people during this period, then I cannot complain.

Please feel free to add me, say hello, I’d really like to get to know you.