These days our heads are spinning with social media sites. Want to keep it short? We’ve got Twitter for that. Sticking just to photos? Instagram it. Lot of tiny thumbnails? Pinterest it is. Need a job? If you’re not on LinkedIn you might as well call your career over. Want to organize a party? Facebook’s where your friends are at.
I will semi-preface this with an admission that I can’t completely avoid it, or stop posting to it. But I have to also say it’s lost my interest even though I’ve been rooting for it. The point is, even 6 months after its launch, I can’t figure out what the point is. Hangouts, probably the most unique feature, are great, but if we all wanted to chat with random people, Chatroulette would still be popular (and yes I know there are far less dudes jerking off on G+, but they are still essentially strangers). At the end of the day, to me at least, Facebook’s “Subscribe” feature has pretty much officially taken out the novelty of circles (most people really only care about sharing with two types of people: 1) their friends 2) the world), and accomplishes much of the same tasks. Plus, everyone’s already there.
But what’s really gotten to me to be honest, is the attitude (and everyone on G+ will probably say, “Good! We don’t want you anyway!” because of this). The platform is largely empty (I’ve seen enough blank profiles to make my head spin), yet still people insist the conversation is better and more engaging. Last time I checked, good, well crafted conversation has a variety of opinions, not just points the same people want to reiterate.
There are unfortunately, a few lessons Google never learned from Facebook as well. Perhaps the biggest point, is that believe it or not, geography matters when it comes to social networking. Facebook, and even Twitter to a large extent, was built on real-world connections that had people in close proximity (colleges). While Facebook doesn’t completely adhere to that today, it still encourages to connect based on schools, towns, jobs, cities, etc. It’s simply telling us to take our real worlds online, and maybe branch out a bit. Google Plus, while it hoped to focus on interests, hasn’t done enough to create meaningful bonds. It’s sort of said, “Hey! You like tech? So do these people! Who cares if you don’t actually know each other at all. Talk!” That just doesn’t work.
I hope Google Plus succeeds, I really do. It’s innovative, intuitive and really a lot of fun. But until it can give a good reason for it’s existence (beyond boost search rankings), I think I’ve got a few better places to post this… like Tumblr :).