Is the Social Media Graveyard About to Add Google+ to it’s Coffins?
The world of social media is littered with tombstones of has-been social networks. First it was Friendster, the network that just couldn’t handle the traffic and crashed. Then it was MySpace, the network that dazzled and beguiled, until it was overtaken by Facebook and reduced to a primarily music-centered site.
By the wayside of course are dozens of other smaller networks. You’ve got Orkut, which started out as a national project and was quickly waysided to Brazil. You’ve got Ning, which allowed you to start your own social network. Then you’ve got networks that focused around specific topics, like Flickr, which focused around image sharing.
Each social media network had its own rise to fame and subsequent fade into oblivion. Is Google+ headed for the same direction?
Google+ is Different – Or Is It?
Google+’s launch was a spectacular event in social media history. It quickly got its first 5 million users, then ten million, then twenty million. By many accounts, it was the fastest growing social media network in history.
But then the growth started to taper off. Today, though there’s still a lot of buzz about this social network, it’s no longer in the limelight.
Many people believe that Google missed their chance by keeping the exclusivity window too long. There was a point in time where a lot of people wanted to get into Google+, but couldn’t because of a lack of invites. If Google had opened their doors then, they might have gotten a lot more users.
Instead, they kept the doors closed. Because the doors were closed, a lot of people simply lost interest. After they lost a lot of steam, Google+ finally opened to the public, with much less fanfare.
Does Google+ Offer Enough?
One common sentiment among social media experts is that people just won’t switch unless there’s enough of a reason. Switching from one network to another takes huge commitment.
People switched from Friendster to MySpace because MySpace allowed them to customize everything. It let people create their own page as they saw fit. Also, MySpace wouldn’t crash or slow down all the time like Friendster.
People switched from MySpace to Facebook because Facebook allowed them to stay in constant touch with all their friends. Facebook’s “feed” feature allowed people to constantly stay in touch with what the other people in their lives are up to.
What does Google+ bring to the table?
The main feature Google+ brings is circles. Circles allow you to add people selectively to different categories. You could add your close friends to a circle, your business contacts to a circle and your movie buddies to a third circle. You can then pick and choose who you want to share information with, selectively.
Another feature that Google+ brings to the table is hangouts. These are essentially free video conferences that can pop up at any free moment. If you started a hangout now, anyone who’s also online can join the hangout and have an impromptu chat.
Google+ also brings to the table much longer posts. On Facebook, your status update lengths are quite limited. You couldn’t post an entire article in the post contents. With Google+, you can. This makes Google+ much more powerful for sharing information and opinions.
The question is, is this enough? Does Google+ bring enough to the table to make people switch?
The Verdict is Still in the Air
Unfortunately, the verdict is still up for grabs. By and large, Google+’s unprecedented growth rate has tapered off. Much of the press attention has died down and the question remains: Will Google+ stick? Or will it become another tombstone in the social media graveyard?
Only time will tell. Most industry experts agree however, that if Google+ is to make a comeback, they’re going to have to jumpstart their growth in some way or another. At its current rate, Google+ will most likely be joining the ways of Friendster and MySpace.