For the record, the morning I woke up and Google+ appeared in the world, I was livid.
What? Another social network? For real? I have to do this too?
The hilarious thing about this is that social media is a part of my job. The only thing I love more than whining about and making fun of social media is social media itself. I’m a bit of a junky, albeit a selective one. I may exist on Foursquare and LinkedIn, but you’d never know it. I’m careful to invest my time and energy – and the time and energy of my clients – in networks that actually mean something.
The thing is, I had the same feeling about Google+ as I had about Foursquare – I don’t need this and it will soon die – but there was one hitch: it was Google. So of course everyone on the stinking planet was going to jump on board, which means that I would have to jump on board eventually, and I could not stomp my foot hard enough to express my frustration over this.
Well, fast forward a couple months. I was still slaving through a veil of open-mindedness when Mike forwarded me this delightfully validating blog on Forbes.com called “A Eulogy for Google Plus.” Hooray! Huzzah! My silent suffering is over! I posted it to Twitter and Facebook and was deLIGHTed by the responses of everyone who agreed that Google+ is going nowhere.
But here’s the thing: as tremendous and awesome and correct as the article is, it doesn’t even cover all of the reasons that I believe Google+ will never go anywhere. With my newfound voice of opposition, I will take this opportunity to announce them:
- We don’t want Google for that. Google has all of my emails. They have all of my documents, my search history, my future searches and all of the passwords, usernames and favorite websites stored in the browser I can’t live without. That’s fine. But they’re getting on the creepy side of large. Do they need to get involved with my social life too?
Google and Facebook have already proven that they will take what you type into emails and search engines and your status lines and profile you for marketing purposes. Do we really need the keeper of all our data and the keeper of our personal lives to be behind the same curtain?
- It has been mentioned that we’ve already built up our social network on Facebook to include our friends and family and colleagues and why would we want to start over. This is a good point. It should also be noted, however, that we have already suffered through the social awkwardness of passive aggressively filtering out all of those people who we don’t want in our network. I’m willing to bet the average Facebook user would much sooner volunteer to find all of her friends again than have everyone in the world be able to find her again. Setting boundaries isn’t fun, but it’s a necessity for sane people.
- A Eulogy for Google+ has this super great chart about the rate at which Google+ “grew” and why those seemingly awesome stats are meaningless. Let’s add to
this fact that most savvy Internetters have a Gmail account, meaning we were nearly automatically added to Google+ and people were added to our circles with such ease we hardly knew it was happening. I was getting notifications right on my Gmail inbox page and I hadn’t even posted anything. Obviously this was calculated and very smart. But while Google has figured out how to get us all to be in a network together, they have forgotten that it doesn’t work if we’re not social now that we’re there.
- Finally, here are two reason to believe that even Google can fail at setting up a new social network: Google Buzz and Google Wave. Remember those? Yeah, me neither.