There is also a long list of enthusiast categories, from beer brewing to parkour, where superfans are active users in both Communities and on people's individual posts.
Then, in the past year, there has been a massive influx of people who appear to be non-English speakers who, for whatever reason, don't engage in the same way. Any post with a significant number of comments will attract a large number of people who don't care about the post. They show up to make friends, flirt or try to get other users to contact them. Anecdotally, it seems now that one out of every 30 comments is "Hi."
Google+ is growing faster now than it did in its first three years. I just did the math and found that my own follower count has grown by an average of 3,242 new followers per day in the past year. Obviously, this is a dizzying rate of growth (I'll hit 5 million followers by the end of the month). But the engagement on my posts isn't growing at the same rate. It appears that Google+ is growing fast; but that growth is perhaps more significantly driven by people who use it as a chat room than it is by people who use it as a place to share interests.
Overall, it's clear to me that the new Google+ is still by far the best place to connect with people who share your interests, and to have conversations about those interests in an uncluttered, ad-free space.
The redesign is really the final step in a yearlong pivot that transformed Google+ from a bloated and slow everything social network into a sleek, fast and more streamlined site that's really good at one thing -- giving superfans, enthusiasts and nerds a great place to geek out together on whatever passions they share.
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