G+: Twitter and Tumblr are Biggest Losers

Posted on July 7th 2011

Like a lot of my peers I have been immersed in Google Plus for the last week and I have to give credit to Google for really getting this one right. The sharing mechanism is very accessible, Circles offer welcome segmentation of your social graph, and most importantly, it’s fun to use.

Much of the commentary has centered on what a successful Google + means for Facebook but I disagree that this is represents a severe near or medium term threat to Facebook. What it does harken is a form of arms race between the two companies that is ultimately good for users.

There are two major losers worth highlighting, Twitter and Tumblr. We won’t see the effects of G+ on either service for some time but I forecast that as G+ mainstreams that Twitter and Tumblr activity will plummet.

Twitter’s defining feature is both it’s strength and it’s limiting factor, 140 characters. Tumblr use over time has grown as Twitter itself grew, and I think a major factor in their growth is the mainstream acceptance of short form sharing. Like a lot of people I started to use my Tumblr blog to share links with short text snippets that provided context, and I enjoyed the photo and video sharing which embeds the media blob rather than link to it.

I wrote about my shift to Tumblr here, saying last year that:

Twitter and Facebook will continue to be important channels to push content through but rather than creating content in those networks I will, whenever possible, post through Tumblr. I will continue to “talk” with people through social networks and Facebook has some unique capabilities that I will take advantage of.

G+ is essentially a better Twitter+Tumblr for me than combining the two services could ever be. I get the realtime effects of an activity stream on top of easy content sharing tools, and I get the ability to provide a high degree of context in both what is shared and in the interaction because there is a threading model for replies.

Lastly a word about Circles. Google is providing a good starting point with Circles but it’s not the end game because being successful with Circles is entirely a function of your discipline in maintaining Circles, it’s like email folders in this respect.

We really need to get to a point where dynamic Circles can respond to a person’s interest graph as well as their social graph. In this model content would be shared not on the sole basis of who I targeted with it but as a response to what people are actually interested in.

I am making an effort to maintain my Circles but I don’t enjoy it nor do I believe that it is a model that the mass market will adopt, even though the notion of segmenting a person’s social graph is entirely reasonable and highly practical.

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JeffNolan

Jeff Nolan

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Comments

Posted on July 8th 2011 at 3:34AM

The G+ stream isn't quite as digestible as Twitter in terms of being able to scan a large number of distinct posts within each north to south eyeball scan -- but it's great to be able to inject a Twitter-like follow experience into a psuedo-Facebook UI.

Posted on July 8th 2011 at 7:57PM

interesting take on the new platform. I have to disagree about the reason people use tumblr, however. Whereas facebook provides a space in which you feel very open and connected, tumblr has designed the interface so the user feels very private. Add on top of that the fact that you create an individual blog, which can be customized to look a certain way, the user doesn't feel like he/she is simply pouring information into the stream. Instead they're building a space that is uniquely their own. I don't see that happening at all in fbook or google+. 

marcbowers7
Posted on July 8th 2011 at 10:24PM

I find it hilarious how Google+ which has only been out a short time and is only being used by select individuals is going to make services like Twitter and Tumblr lose.  Until Google+ goes mainstream and can put up the impressive numbers and statistics Twitter and Tumblr already has in place, this talk is pure speculation.

 

Maybe I am in the minority, but I'm not buying into the Google+ hype right now.  Google+ is playing catch up and for a company like Google that is embarrasing.  Like I said until Google+ can match the numbers Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. are putting up, they are just last in the social media line at this point.

marcbowers7
Posted on July 8th 2011 at 10:27PM

I find it hilarious how Google+ which has only been out a short time and is only being used by select individuals is going to make services like Twitter and Tumblr lose.  Until Google+ goes mainstream and can put up the impressive numbers and statistics Twitter and Tumblr already has in place, this talk is pure speculation.

 

Maybe I am in the minority, but I'm not buying into the Google+ hype right now.  Google+ is playing catch up and for a company like Google that is embarrasing.  Like I said until Google+ can match the numbers Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. are putting up, they are just last in the social media line at this point.

Posted on July 12th 2011 at 7:34PM

I think it's really too soon to tell. Wait until everyone is on Google Plus, then start looking for winners/losers. Oh, wait, that's not good linkbait. Sorry.

Off the top of my head, Google Plus could replace:

  • Most Blogs
  • Posterous
  • Tumblr
  • Flickr
  • Amplify
  • Storify
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Friendfeed

but only if it moves past invite only and enters general usage.

Posted on July 15th 2011 at 8:35PM

Tumblr is much different. It's a social blogging site, not a update-everything-about-your-life-and-interests type of place. Furthermore, information is shared both on a large scale on the Dashboard, and to counteract that, the privacy of personal blogs makes the user feel, well, at home. In an actual community filled with potentially interesting people you'd like to talk to, not your friends from school. Google+ won't affect Tumblr, but it most certainly will crush Facebook and Twitter.

Sam Kapoor
Posted on July 16th 2011 at 12:03PM

Nice Quote:

Listen to everyone, Because No boby knows everything but everybody knows something: )

Posted on July 17th 2011 at 6:00AM

When I start referring to my friends, family and acquaintances as my "social graph", please shoot me in the face with a scientific calculator.

Posted on July 19th 2011 at 5:30PM

i am so not sure about any of this. I work in Radio/TV/Entertainment and getting stations to adobt to just the idea of a Facebook Fan Page or answering tweets and having 2-way conversations has been a chore.
I am hoping they will say, we got beat to the punch with FB, Twitter so adapt early to G+ but from where I sit taking note of thousands of stations that still dont have a twitter account and or using a personal page or group page for Facebook, I am wondering what this is gonna look like.
Great points. great post! thanks Jeff! 

Posted on July 23rd 2011 at 7:57AM

I think it's all awesome! Just because something is working well doesn't mean we shouldn't keep testing and refining it!