Typically in situations like this, I think, “God … everyone and their brother is talking, Tweeting and writing about Google+, I should write something different just to be a beacon of freshness in the stale drawer.” But I’m on vacation and haven’t been thinking about much more than my kids and family this week. When I’ve take a moment or two to jump online and see what I’ve missed, I’ve been experimenting with G+ just to see if I have any relevant thoughts to bring to the table for you.
But I’ve noticed a few things that need to be brought to the discussion to center us all a bit.
The biggest thing that stands out to me is that too many tech/social/digital dorks are proclaiming it the holy grail without putting it into proper context. Steve Rubel has pointed out consistently in his stream that the demographic makeup of Plusers is still very tech and engineer/developer heavy. What that means to me is that it’s the echo chamber’s echo chamber. The Scoble Clones and Brogan Heads think G+ is the Shizzle, so the, “next Facebook,” just happened.
Chris Brogan, in fact, has even placed an “I have moved” avatar on his Facebook page.
My first reaction, weeks ago, to all this Facebook vs. Google+ hype is still my reaction: Why does there have to be a winner? People’s time spent online is not a zero-sum game. Facebook and Google have, do and will co-exist. It’s like Mac or PC … neither is going to kill the other. Right brain people are probably still Mac/Facebook types. Left brainers are more PC/Google+ types. But even that is a stereotype. To each their own, which implies that some will stay on Facebook while others follow like lemmings to G+ … or perhaps find usefulness for themselves there without jumping on the Geek King and Queen bandwagons.
Honestly, there’s a lot to like about Google+. One thing I don’t, however, at least from a marketing standpoint, is the majority of people aren’t there. They’re on Facebook. We also don’t yet know how G+ is going to handle brands and businesses. There’s a lot left to be determined. Jumping ship on a 700-million person behemoth of a marketplace is just short-sighted and hasty.
That’s not to say that G+ won’t wind up being a great market for brands. But when you look at what the A-listers are saying about Google+ and its benefits, they’re not asking the right questions. Yes, there are a ton of comments and a nice boost in traffic that result from you posting your musings to your minions, Robert. But your minions are early tech adopters who are going to comment and click no matter what platform you’re on. The only reason Google+ looks more impressive is because it’s the one network you’re sharing content on that isn’t also populated by real people, marketers and, yes, spammers, that dilute the streams of everyone and make clicking on anything less attractive.
As soon as five in every 10 posts that show up in someone’s stream are a blogger pimping their latest attempt at being Chris Brogan or some company trying to get us to enter their sweepstakes for free tickets to watch Chris Angel masturbate, Scoble’s links to Whatchamacallit.com will get lost in the shuffle.
The reality is this: Google smacked a home run with this attempt at having a viable social network and/or sharing platform. It’s relevant, it’s going to be important for individuals and businesses. The way Google processes and scores shares, Plus-Ones and content funneled through G+ and applies it to search results will likely make it critically important for businesses and soon.
But it’s not the end-all and be-all. It never will be. Facebook isn’t dead. Though, I honestly think Twitter should be scared shitless that it’s easier and more compelling to share content on G+ than Twitter. In a couple of weeks, G+ will probably surpass Twitter in the number of users who can see those shares, too.
At the end of the day, all three said networks are major players in the social sharing and networking landscape. Ignoring one over the other because Chris Brogan “moved” or Scoble discovered the comment limit is not smart planning for digital marketers.
Stay the course with what you’re doing. Wait for the brand-permissions and guidelines to come from Google on the Plus platform. Experiment with it for yourself to know how it works and how non-linear you have to be thinking to optimize the use of Circles.
And make smart moves that you can track, measure and report on.
If you’d like to follow my content and experimenting on Google+, you can find me here.
Your thoughts? The comments are yours!
- Google+ Reviews, Tips and Shortcuts (proactivereport.com)
- The Google Plus Ecosystem (downes.ca)
- The Best Resources For Learning What Google+ Is All About (larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)