I am ashamed that this is my first and probably only post on GooglePlus. Not since the Diet Coke and Mentos thing or Google Wave (hint hint) have so many people wanted to try something they saw on the internet. Yet last week I took an informal completely unscientific poll on Twitter and though the sample was small the verdict was unanimous. Nobody cared about G+ anymore. All of the thrill was gone. I took the poll because I found myself looking for a reason to keep at it and couldn’t think of one. Despite my personal bandwagonning it does not look like G+will supplant my comfortable social triumvirate of Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.
With all of the hype, mystique and manufactured cool G+ is not unique – it is superfluous. It is highly unlikely that the site will reach critical mass among the people I connect with through Facebook. Most of those are not geeks. For some of them Facebook is the most complicated thing they use in technology. If G+ can not capture the mind, time and data of the techno-middle class that anchors my social network in Facebook I can’t justify getting out of it and into G+. Content has inertia – but relationships have more so – once established in a system it takes much more work to move somewhere else. Most of the non-technical people I know will simply not be up for the move. Why? The people they want to interact with are already in place and they either move en mass or not at all.
I found my Twitter usage fell for a day or two but quickly recovered as following the flow of things in G+ was just too much like work. I became bored seeing posts by the same four people no matter how many I added and tweaked the stream. When I wanted to post something I had to think about which circles would care and which wouldn’t. Frustrated I finally did what everybody else does and post everything to public – which ended up being more like the way I was using Twitter but with far fewer people engaging with it.
LinkedIn gets far less of my time and attention in an ordinary day than the other two but compared to G+ it too has the advantage of history. G+ is not useless. Circles, Sparks and Hangouts are cool – and easily replicable by FB. I’m sure Mark is grateful for the suggestion. The best parts of G+ will be emulated in every offering and ‘ll be grateful but no individual feature was enough to tip the scales and begin the move of my relationships with the people in my life.
Perhaps the most lasting effect of G+ will be replacing Like with +1. Iconic but hardly life changing. There is probably an environmental aspect to saving 2 characters but it won’t save the service. In the end I am afraid like Wave before it, G+ is like the Diet Coke Rocket Car -A cool concept that starts with a big splash but you’re not likely to drive it home and eventually it will just roll to a stop.
(BTW – My favorite part of the video is the disclaimor “Driver on a closed course.Do not attempt without professional help” – well we all could use a bit of that from time to time)