Nightclubbing and the end of Google+

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Google+ is dead

So…Google have thrown their hat at their social media platform, Google+, which they launched in June 2011.

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content

It was clear that the search engine giant wanted a piece of the emerging social media action and they threw all of their expertise, intelligence, resources and weight behind their new platform.

They were able to leverage their colossal Gmail database and gently nudge users onto the platform.

The core idea was “circles” and you could create these unique circles and invite your contacts to join them and you had personal accounts and separate accounts for your business pages. We were all going to have incredibly engaging discussions in our circles, because isn’t that how the world works after all?

For a short while it did seem to have momentum, and every day you would receive a multitude of invitations to connect with other users – with the usual Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) we were all clicking, joining and posting and busy trying to figure out how we could leverage this new thing for our personal and business communications.

For starters it was never very “cool”, it never seemed to be enjoyable, it was clunky and it required effort and wasn’t really solving a problem that the other platforms couldn’t.

From a business point of view the advice was, you had to be on the platform to maximise your ranking on Google – that stick was definitely one worthy of paying attention to, but even that idea didn’t gain momentum.

In Fuzion, we have been providing social media courses since 2000 on the main platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently Instagram – not once in that time were we ever asked to run a course on Google+.

If ever asked by a client about the platform, I would advise them to get their activity on the others right first and then get around to Google+ …it never happened.

The conclusion might be that social media was too saturated at this point and Google+ was just too late, but this argument doesn’t hold up when you consider Instagram was launched in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011.

Why did Google+ not work out?

Saturday Night Fever

My Nightclub theory!

Facebook was the new nightclub when it was launched – the cool crew went there, because they were cool, they loved being the first to try out the new place but soon the non-cool crew followed suit and even worse, Aunty Joan and Uncle Bill turned up and tried their moves on the dance floor.

The cool gang moved to club ‘Twitter’ and they had this to themselves but…. guess who followed them there eventually?

Then Instagram was cool and it loved your photos but….guess who showed up, Aunty Joan and Uncle Bill!!

Snapchat was ultra cool and ultra young and the functionality was totally loose and wild and posts disappeared after a while…what??!!

Poor Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who had just spent some of his fortune on Instagram to try to win the cool kids back, realised that the young gang had already moved to the zany Snapchat.

Instead of sulking about the waste of money, he gambled big and just ripped off (even if you could would you just become an unashamed  copycat?) all of the functionality of Snapchat and he bolted it onto Instagram. He did this just in time as Instagram still had a large number of users and before there were mass defections from the platform, it gave them a new, fresh reason for staying with it and after all they had lots of followers already, so it was easier than starting again.

Why not the Google+ nightclub?

So…in the middle of all these nightclubs opening why didn’t Google+ work? I’m sure many heads in Google are scratching about this one!

The people who try something new are the innovators, the leap froggers, they are curious and they explore, those with a thirst for a new experience, something that says something about who they are.

With Google+, they came through the door on opening night, they danced, they tried the cocktails and they even invited their friends but discovered really quickly that it wasn’t very different, they heard all of those tunes before, it wasn’t very cool and to be honest it was a little bit boring!

Will we ever see another social media platform? I definitely think so as there are always the innovators who are thirsty for something new.

Does a giant like Google have the people and culture to be able to produce an innovative social media platform that will be so radically different that people will flock to it?

Would they dare to try again?

Let’s see….

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

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