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Google Plus (Google+): The Painful Realization
Posted on July 1st 2011
Yesterday was an awesome day. I played with Google+ all day. I’ve had a blast on it experimenting with features and building my social graph from scratch. Today however, was a different story; I had a moment of uncomfortable clarity.
The honeymoon high is over for me, not because Google Plus is any less awesome, but because of several other realizations.
Realization #1: Google+ isn’t replacing Facebook
During yesterday’s exuberant geek-high I almost believed that this was the end of Facebook. Not realistically, but somewhere in my mind, I felt that maybe, soon enough, we’d all look at Facebook as a distant memory of the MySpace successor. Even if that weren’t the case I had pipe-dreams of ditching my personal Facebook profile and moving to the Googlesphere. I dreamt of Mark Zuckerberg sitting with Dateline talking about how he “almost” ruled the world, but got too cocky. I picture him crying saying “I wish we hadn’t been such assholes.” Sadly, these are all fairy tales.
Facebook has 700 million users. It’s not going anywhere. That means that unless my 30-50 closest friends all migrate to Google+ then I’m stuck checking my Facebook. And for my 30-50 closest friends to migrate, the majority of their closest friends and family would have to migrate, and so on, and so on. It’s just not going to happen. This leads me to my second realization.
Realization #2: I haven’t replaced an inbox, I’ve added one.
Google+ doesn’t mean that I no longer need to check Facebook, it means I now need to check Google+. And you can believe me when I say I’m not giving up Twitter. Hell no. I love Twitter and I’ll stand on the deck of that ship until it sinks deep into the ocean of lost social media sites. So now I have three, very active communities to pay attention to, and to nurture. I’m already pressed for time with all of my social activity. I’m approaching a breaking point of what I can participate in.
Realization #3: Every Google+ key feature is a Facebook “update” away
Facebook has proven time and time and time again that it will copy features and products from other companies. You can bet your ass they will have something similar to “circles” and something similar to “hangout” in the next 6 months. That’ll be just enough to keep 98% of people using Facebook.
Final Realization: Too big to fail
I’ve wanted for so long for my friends to adopt Twitter, but most don’t “get it.” And instead, I’m stuck dealing with all of the crap that comes along with Facebook. I struggle to stay objective as I work with clients on a Facebook strategy when I’m tired of Facebook and just want to ignore it.
Facebook is, unfortunately, too big to fail.
So now, I have Google+ and I really like it, but it’s just one more place to spend time and one more set of notifications to check.
The honeymoon is over for me. Now I wait…