Personally, the warm welcome and grace Google Plus received was surprising but not shocking. Surprising because Plus is a game changer and not shocking because one expects a behemeth like Google to do just that – turn tables.
As an early adopter of most web apps and social networking sites, I feel that timing of Google Plus couldn’t be better. MySpace silently went under the rug, Facebook is reaching saturation point, and Twitter founders and co-founders have jumped the ship.
It’s time for something new, refreshing, all encompassing and close to real life relationships.
If Facebook and Twitter got married and neglected the bad and accepted the good in each other and decided to take the next step by having a baby, that refined offspring would be Google Plus. For the purposes of this article, we will assume Google Plus is a HE (most early adopters are males) and not SHE. Facebook is the daddy and Twitter is the mommy.
Google Plus has been excessively compared to Facebook in the media as a threat to Facebook’s viability, largest social network with more than 750+ million active users, and I think that’s a mistaken identity. He, Google Plus, has the best of both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s best part is relationships, adaptability and scale. Twitter’s best part is mobility, reach and simplicity. If you take all that plus better privacy, more engagement, bundling of other Google services and “circles” that depict how we communicate in real life, you have the offspring Google Plus. Maybe that’s how they came up with the name.
Facebook, Twitter and Google will appeal to different audiences; Facebook will mostly be for non-geeks (average folks), Twitter for socially conscious people and Google Plus will be majority geeks and other creative people like photographers, designers etc. Facebook owns the market that was initially created by Friendster. It will remain a choice for those who are content with what it offers in terms of privacy and features. For those of us who prefer more control, features and efficient networking, Google Plus will be heaven.
That said, I think, Twitter will see a significant drop in its activity because of Google Plus. +Robert Scoble, geek godfather, lashed out at Twitter by calling it “boring” compared to Plus. Robert Scoble is very opinionated power user, believer in innovations that enhance communication and demands feature set unlike nothing else, and he might be on to something here. My Twitter usage has fallen drastically since I got on Google+. It’s not because of Scoble, though I agree with his assessments, but because Google+ gives me exactly what Twitter gives but with more control, ease and features. +MG Siegler doesn’t agree with Scoble but I don’t particularly consider him to be as influential as Scoble when it comes to swaying geeks in one direction or other.
That said, Scoble mob, same people who were the first ones on FriendFeed, Twitter, Quora etc., are now all on Plus. That’s good and bad, here’s why:
Good, because the mob helps you understand the features in the most practical way. The mob guides you in the right direction recommending people to follow and having an upstream that benefits the downstream. Bad, because they are not really in touch with the average internet user.
When the mob is done with kicking all the tires, there will be a mess and a period of confusion. That confusion will be a real test of Google’s ability to sustain growth and keep the average, WTF is this, user hooked. I signed up on Twitter in 2007 and thought it was the most ridiculous thing out there. That changed in 2009, I was active, tweeting and following. Twitter bounced back after the confusion period and that’s why I admire it. I was an early Twitter bird but the ambiguity of the nest killed my desire to explore it further. That’s not the case with Google Plus, yet.
We have all been programmed to expect and know certain things about social networking, thanks to Facebook. That includes friending, poking, tagging, and liking. Twitter taught us to be short, concise, and clear (sometimes mundane) in 140 characters and got people tweeting, re-tweeting and hashtagging. Google Plus needs to up its game if it expects to win support from Facebookers but as far as Twitter is concerned, no worries there because Twitterers tired of lack of new features will eventually hop on board. Google Plus definitely needs hashtags or some other similar concept, a robust search engine and public circles.
Plus gives Google a big bump in the social ecosphere. What it does with the bump and how will be telling of its ability to be the real player in the game.
So far, I seem to be in LOVE with G+.
Are you a Plusie? Let’s connect. Need an invite? Get in touch.