Thursday, May 7, 2015

No, Silly Pundits, Google+ is not dead



Since the service's inception, declaring the imminent demise of Google+ has been a regular main stay of the lazy tech pundits. Steve Denning of Forbes went a step further recently and declared Google+ not dying but already dead. I call this sort of tech punditry lazy because it is a very easy way to get a lot of views and comments.  Google+ has a number of devoted followers that will rush off and defend it when it's threatened. Denning doubled down with a followup article about how he was really right and Google+ is dead. 

I'm not going to go through these articles point by point and rip them apart, others have done a good job doing that. The TL:DR version is that his claim is based on a secret report we can't see that isn't even about Google+ users and the fact that some other tech outlets have written click bait stories.  

I've noticed a common denominator for people who declare Google+ either dead or a graveyard. Whether the person is an actual tech journalist or just a standard person, they all have spent very little time on Google+. "I went on Google+ once and there was nothing going on." "Well who did you circle?  What communities did you join?"  "What now with the circle communities huh?" 


That guy who wrote those two google+ is dead articles, joined, posted twice and that was it. He then declared it dead. You want to know what social media site is a graveyard to me? Facebook. My Facebook stream, dash, whatever, gets about on average twenty posts a day. Most are fairly useless and stupid. No I will not take a quiz to figure out which Frozen character I am. Because of the people I've circled and the communities I have joined, I see about twenty posts an hour on google+.  A good four or five of the posts are even interesting.  On top of that google+ lets me tweak how much of the content from my communities and circles show up in my stream. You post three quizzes about what sort of plywood I am and I'll stick you in a circle I call purgatory where I will never hear from you again. 

From a corporate brand perspective Google+ has not been much of a success. In the early day, some brands made noise about going into Google+. They then posted three times and gave up.  A few brands have put some time into it and have seen some success on Google+.  Some individuals have had success at developing "personal brands". There are Google+ celebrities. 

There is an ever present threat looming over those of us you really like Google+.  Google has achieved an infamous reputation for shutting down things it no longer deems important to its business.  They don't care how many people love it and are still using it: see google reader. A good argument can be made for Google shutting Google+ down. Google+ failed to achieve their original goal. It seems clear they hoped to field a direct challenger to Facebook with the hope that some large number of the already two billion people who regularly use Google products becoming engaged with Google+. This can be seen in the many attempts to force it on other Google users.  I don't think they will shut Google+ down anytime soon. They claim continued growth. Yes maybe some secret report that nobody can see without paying money says they are losing 98% of active people year over year.  Which if you think about it makes no sense. There would only be one person talking to a squirrel left if that were the case. Even if Google+ is only at three to six million heavily active that is a lot of posts to suck in. Remember Google is all about taking in as much information from the internet as it can.

If you want a much better defense of Google+ check out Mike Elgan. He's a tech pundit but he's ok in my book because he agrees with me. That sentence is self deprecating sarcasm for those who didn't get it. 


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