So this past Tuesday morning, I sat on a panel a the New North Social Media Breakfast in De Pere, Wisconsin someone asked our panel about our opinion on Google+. I gave some lengthy explanation about why Google’s reluctance to open the API among other things keeps Google+ from catching on since it isn’t easily integrated into the tools of social media management and community management. Then my friend Tommy spoke and it occurred to me why my answer made sense to me. My friend Tommy gave an eloquent and simple answer that really made sense.
He said, “Google+ doesn’t solve an issue I have” sitting next to him I thought, that’s brilliantly correct.
In my mind I started organizing why I thought that was so perfect. So what does Google+ really bring to the table for the average user.
Circles? Sure they’re great but everyone has grown use to lists and groups the only thing Google+ really did was give us a clean slate to start from. Great but not special. Path allows you to only friend 150 followers to keep a small true circle of friends. That is probably a better implementation of the idea of not sharing to everyone and keeping private things to a closer circle of friends.
+1? This is really a just a reaction to the like button. Google wants to incorporate social into search and wasn’t going to get the data from Facebook so they did what they had to, invented their own.
So what we’re really talking about is exactly what Tommy said I’m yet to see what issue it solves.
So at this point I could do web searches and find a lot of people out there that are pro-Google+ and I would probably read and be somewhat convinced of Google + potential. I may then be even ready to jump back to my Google+ page and start posting but that is where I would stop dead in my tracks and remember that Google+ doesn’t let me post from some of my favorite social media apps.
Everyone will want to tell me that it’s easy to post to Google+, that you shouldn’t use other tools to post to social media site or that they just aren’t ready yet. To all that I say phooey, we love those tools we use that allow us to organize, maintain and engage in our communities! Our tools are the reason we grab onto new sites. Twitter kind of sucked until you had locations tweets, list management, URL shorteners integration and others. People forget that Twitter didn’t create those but users with access to the API did.
I say Phooey because this is just backwards to how a lot of other successful platforms rolled out. Twitter’s best features came about because of it’s open API. Facebook for as weird as they have been from a changing privacy to making anti-user changes has never closed it’s ability to post from remote tools. LinkedIn another one with an API that allows posts to structure. Not Google though they don’t want the API open from the beginning. They opened it a little to business pages but honestly what are you trying to accomplish. You want businesses? Get users? If the users find using Google+ a hassle compared to other sites then it won’t stick. So Google why do you not follow some of the successful practices of those who have gone before and open the API for remote posts and tools. Honestly of all things to really change in a new social media site you changed the part that makes your site easier to use? *Lower my shaking head*
As an old prepress guy I have seen my share of tools and systems designed to improve my operations but one fact has always remained true. If new tools works in my existing system that’s great. If a new tool is so earth shattering that I change my system to use it that’s great too. However if a tool is alright but doesn’t quite fit in or work in my system then I will eventually move on and cut it out of workflow all together. That’s my nature either work well with I have or be so awesome I change to use you. You have to do one or the other.
So I go back to Tommy, “what problem does Google + solve for me?” my response is it doesn’t but it does create an annoying one for someone trying to mange multiple social media communities.
By the way, while I’m ranting I may move on to why Android’s less than desirable upgrade path is making me excited for the next iPhone.