Can Google+ Become Your "Default" Social Media Outlet?
I’ve been participating in an interesting discussion on Facebook this morning about the future of Facebook, and it led me to this blog post. The discussion centered around a question posed by Jeff Kraus. He wondered, and I quote, “How many brands are rethinking the priority they place on their FB presence given the unpredictable nature of the platform these days?”
The overwhelming opinion from those who chimed in was that right now brands and businesses have nothing to fear, because while Facebook has made a lot of changes that have ticked off its user base, the growth of that user base shows no sign of letting up. What all of us in the discussion also agreed upon is that it will be very interesting to see Google+’s options for businesses and brands. Those are due to be unveiled later this year.
In a roundabout way, this discussion led me to think about how Google+ can grow and become the default social media outlet for more people. Right now, most people I know spend more time at Facebook and/or Twitter, and if they visit Google+, they do so as a secondary or even tertiary outlet.
I’m going use sweeping generalizations here, so bear with me, but I view Twitter users as people who want to find and share news and short opinions. Facebook, meanwhile, can be used for similar purposes, but is also a place to see what your friends (and their kids .. grandkids .. etc.) are up to. If I want to find news about something going on right now, I go to Twitter. If I want to see pictures from last night’s neighborhood event (bad example, I know) then I go to Facebook.
So … when do people go to Google+? It’s hard to answer that question. Google just opened the service to the general public (no invite required) this week. Until that day, the site was a haven for techies. Few people who weren’t connected somewhat in the social media world had managed to swing an invite, or cared to go through the trouble of getting one. As a result of that closed user base, the site has until now been a great place to find news about social media and technology, as that’s what people were sharing. I have never once seen a post on there with pictures of someone’s new cat.
I view Google+ as being in between Facebook and Twitter in what it does. You can read posts from whomever you want without being invited, something Twitter has always been identified with but Facebook just implemented. On Google+, however, you’re not limited in character count and can post images … like Facebook. Being an in between service isn’t enough, though. Right now, what will do the trick is still up in the air, as the site is still evolving. What is clear is that Google+ needs to find its niche, and it needs to do it soon before the public forgets about it.