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Community Building, With Two Purposes

Earlier this week, we saw numerous reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about problems with Google Friend Connect, on some Blogger blogs.

Once we realised the variety of the symptoms being experienced by blog owners and guests, it was not too difficult to report the problem, providing sufficient details, to Blogger Support. In less than 2 hours after the problem was reported, Blogger Engineers identified and resolved the problem.

Unfortunately, every problem with Blogger - and with Google Friend Connect - is not always going to have a similarly happy ending.

Blogger, and Google, is constantly evolving. One of the subjects of evolution involves Google Friend Connect, which is being replaced by Google+ Circles, and Google+ Following.

Eventually, Blogger may spend more time upgrading Google+.

As Google develops Google+, and similar community building products, Blogger Engineers will spend more time developing connections with Google+, and less time supporting Google Friend Connect.

The next problem with Google Friend Connect may take longer than 2 hours to resolve. This may happen because the next problem will be more complex, and require more Engineers to identify and resolve.

Alternately, there may be less Blogger Engineers available to work on the next problem, because some Engineers will be busy on other projects.

Google+ Followers is different from Google Friend Connect.

Google+ Following does not work the same as Google Friend Connect - nor does it provide the same opportunities for community building. But we, as blog owners, need to figure out how to make Google+ Following work, for our blogs.

This blog has two similar sidebar accessories - "Follow Me" (aka Google Friend Connect), and "+Follow Me" (aka Google+ Following). One day, Google Friend Connect will be discontinued, and the "Follow Me" gadget will be removed. Right now, people can follow me, and this blog, using either or both accessories.

You can add either accessory, using "Add a Gadget".

You can add either - or both - accessories to your blog, using the "Add a Gadget" wizard in the dashboard Layout menu entry. The "Google+ Followers" gadget is in the Basics list, while the "Followers" gadget is at the bottom of the "More Gadgets" list.

Hopefully, with the Blogger Followers gadget being rewritten, the two gadgets can be displayed more equally.

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