Google+: Is It the People’s Social Network?
Are you walking the halls at work wondering why people keep saying Google wrong by adding a "plus" at the end? Have you found yourself without anyone to chat with on Facebook in the last week? Is your Twitter stream looking a little sparse lately?
Your coworkers, friends and twitterers might be suffering from "G+ Syndrome". Let me explain...
Google recently announced another attempt to get social networking right with the introduction (via limited test invite only) of Google+: its real-life sharing project.
With a number of failed attempts laying shame to the Google superpower, Google+ aims to forget the days of Wave (and if we're lucky Buzz!).
Early adoption (though limited with an invite-only model) has been phenomenal, with numbers of 10-20 million users floating about! Can this be an indicator that Google has finally gotten it right? Or is it simply a reflection of a tech-savvier conglomerate that's willing to jump the gun to try something new and shiny online?
So who gives a flying squirrel about Google+? Why should you spread yourself even thinner and add yet another social network to your roster? Honestly, I don't know! I'm not particularly partial to learning a whole new interface, a new way of sharing, a new way of connecting online. There's a theme here: it's reinvention. Reinventing what you already do online (surf, share, connect) to make it easier, funner, cooler! But I imagine Google wouldn't call it reinvention, they'd call it rethinking or retooling -- a simpler way to take your life and transpose it online.
I'm a digital nut -- it's what I live and breathe. So I got a little giddy at the clean interface and the "fancy" terminology: Hangouts, Sparks and Circles, oh my. Though, admittedly, it sounds like I'm in a kindergarten classroom and we're about to learn how to colour in the lines!
And yet with all its innovation (and, yes, I do believe it to be innovative) and the perfect positioning of making the network "you-focused", I still wonder the same question I've always struggled with when it comes to social media and social networks: How will it all come together?
Do I now have to choose between a Google+ post, a Facebook post, a Twitter update and a LinkedIn status change? Does each get its own dedicated time slot in my already filled-to-the-brim day? Do I pick one or two and say screw the rest? Or do I find that perfect aggregator that lets me manage them all, making my life easier, but ultimately diminishes the real value of each network itself?
Where I think Google will succeed is with sharing, conversation and engagement. It's easy to +1 something or share a great news story, funny pic or blog post. It's easy for me to make a comment on another's post and build a relationship. It's easy to get involved. For whatever reason, it feels comfortable. And comfort is not easy to create online.
I'm rooting for Google -- they may just have something here.