The agencies have joined Google+ with the help of Google+ Pages, a service to facilitate businesses' and organizations' participation in the social media service. Google had shut down some business-oriented Google+ accounts this summer after organizations began creating profiles before the company was ready for businesses to join, but Google+ Pages aims to bring organizations back into the fold with a service that differs somewhat from Google+'s personal profiles capability.
Google+ and other social Web platforms give agencies the opportunity to connect with taxpayers and other constituencies and help agencies better meet the spirit of the Obama administration's transparency initiatives. However, Google+ also opens up the risk of Web sprawl, as it becomes yet another social media platform on which agencies maintain a presence.
[Once reluctant to use social media, the Marines have done an about face. See Marines Release Social Media Handbook.]
Most of the agencies thus far have been posting news, multimedia, and information of the type one might expect to be posted on their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. For example, with the exception of a post introducing itself to Google+, the Marine Corps' Google+ posts have thus far been carbon copies of its posts on its official Facebook page.
Since joining Google+, NASA has been the most active of the new entrants with almost two dozen posts, mostly images and multimedia, and many of them different from information shared on other social media platforms. The page already has more than 18,000 followers.
Among the other agencies joining Google+ this week include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Army Aviation's Fort Rucker, the Texas Army National Guard, the National Weather Service's El Paso field office, and the National Weather Service's Warning Decision Training Branch.
Google+ has seen its traffic plateau and even decrease after an initial spike upon the service's launch, and some agencies that set up pages before Google+ Pages' launch appear to have become inactive. The United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, for example, shared a number of items in late September, but hasn't posted anything since September 29.
Some of the agencies on Google+ have created profiles, but haven't added any posts, including the National Guard, the Air Force Academy, the U.S. Army Contracting Command, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Google Plus pages of Yosemite National Park and Brookhaven National Laboratory include a number of images of park landmarks, but no posts.