Thoughts on Google+, one month in
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/08/2011 (4255 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Call it the Facebook killer, call it the Twitter killer, call it the latest buzz-generating Internet time suck. One month after the beta launch of Google+, and it’s still not clear whether Google’s new social media project, however rapidly growing, will deal a death blow to any reigning social media champs.
Google+ has already attracted 25 million visitors, 1 million in Canada, making it the fastest-growing social network ever. (For the uninitiated, here’s a guide to the features of Google+, from Circles to Hangouts.) Those 25 million haven’t necessarily all signed up, but earlier reports had the number of actual users at 20 million. For a month, that’s not too shabby, compared to Facebook’s 750 million after seven years (five of them public), or Twitter’s 200 million over a similar time frame.
But that figure doesn’t say much about people who’ve visited, even signed up, but gone no further, whether daunted or disinterested. The noisiest people in my circles are, as you’d expect, tech-savvy early adopters. Among less web-happy friends, there’s mostly silence. Neither Google’s promise of transparency or the lure of interesting strangers to add to their circles seems to be drawing them in.
Many of the chattiest people on Google+ were already Twitter users, accustomed to engaging with people they know only casually. The more silent friends, at least in my case, tend to be Facebook users who’ve either avoided Twitter entirely, or rarely use it. If reports of declines in traffic are any indication, that latter group might not be an anomaly.
One issue at play could be a culture difference between Facebook and Twitter: the hub of anecdote-sharing among friends, versus a conversation among an ever-expanding group of acquaintances. Google will likely need to convince Facebook migrators to reconsider their rules of engagement, rather than get bored with the same old social circle.
What’s your reaction to Google+ so far – terrific? Tepid? Or are you just hoping the latest social media craze makes like Google Wave and (if you can forgive a terrible pun) crashes? I’ve included a round-up of recent Google+ feedback below – please let me know if you have any problems viewing it.
NOTE: We’ll be hosting a live chat about Google+ Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 2:30 p.m. with guest panelists Mathew Ingram (GigaOM senior writer), Erica Glasier (social media marketing maven), and Ian Rountree (online marketing specialist). Feel free to join us to talk about the project and its future – your questions welcome. You can also sign up for an email reminder below.