Many folks have reviewed Google+. Certainly the launch went well with pundits acknowledging the significant improvement over past Google efforts and the serious competition it may offer Facebook. However, while Google+ adds to the game, it subtracts from the dwindling pool of time dedicated to social networks.
If you have the opportunity, it’s worth a try. The Circles add a new depth of privacy, the network design is simple and elegant with strong integration into the larger Google universe, and the Android mobile app is stellar. The question becomes which online activities suffer as a result of experimenting with Google+.
Let’s face it. Unless you are an Internet personality, an organization with a full-time community manager or a professional online content publisher, there is not enough time to succeed in the multitude of social networks AND manage your own social content. Let’s consider the list of most used forms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ (assuming all continues to go well), LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gowalla, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and your own site.
This means choices will be made. Some will spread the peanut butter a little thinner, trying to make it stretch further. Others will simply focus on the networks that have the most impact on their community.
The latter method is the smart way for those who are seeking to create and sustain grassroots communities. Technology adoption should be driven by stakeholder usage, needs and wants. Long term players in social media demonstrated this axiom (see Netwits post) in their common best practices researched and discussed in Welcome to the Fifth Estate.
Social media is entering a period where certain communities and demographics will migrate to some networks in favor of others. The social network market place is already competitive on the second tier below Facebook. Google+ will add to that competitiveness. Organizations should choose the ones that make the most sense in relation to their mission.
2011 has already seen LinkedIn’s come uppance in the professional social network marketplace. Similarly, Pew studies continue to show Twitter is a strong social network for mobile and urban use, with a particularly strong hold in the African American and Latino markets.
Personally, it is a struggle to offer a strong presence in many networks at once. That means if Google+ maintains its momentum and continues to be enjoyable, then time spent on other networks will drop. There is really only time to do two or three networks well.
Facebook remains a core community. The rest really depends on clients, readers, and what tools they are using. Last month, that was Google (search & reader referrals), Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon, according to Google Analytics. LinkedIn and Tumblr were in the top twenty.Time will tell the impact Google+ makes.
What do you think of Google+?