Google Plus (Google+): The Painful Realization

Yesterday was an awesome day.  I played with Google+ all day.  I’ve had a blast on it experimenting with features and building my social graph from scratch.  Today however, was a different story; I had a moment of uncomfortable clarity.

The honeymoon high is over for me, not because Google Plus is any less awesome, but because of several other realizations.

Realization #1:  Google+ isn’t replacing Facebook

During yesterday’s exuberant geek-high I almost believed that this was the end of Facebook.  Not realistically, but somewhere in my mind, I felt that maybe, soon enough, we’d all look at Facebook as a distant memory of the MySpace successor.  Even if that weren’t the case I had pipe-dreams of ditching my personal Facebook profile and moving to the Googlesphere.  I dreamt of Mark Zuckerberg sitting with Dateline talking about how he “almost” ruled the world, but got too cocky.  I picture him crying saying “I wish we hadn’t been such assholes.”  Sadly, these are all fairy tales.

Facebook has 700 million users.  It’s not going anywhere.  That means that unless my 30-50 closest friends all migrate to Google+ then I’m stuck checking my Facebook.  And for my 30-50 closest friends to migrate, the majority of their closest friends and family would have to migrate, and so on, and so on.    It’s just not going to happen.  This leads me to my second realization.

Realization #2: I haven’t replaced an inbox, I’ve added one.

Google+ doesn’t mean that I no longer need to check Facebook, it means I now need to check Google+.  And you can believe me when I say I’m not giving up Twitter.  Hell no.  I love Twitter and I’ll stand on the deck of that ship until it sinks deep into the ocean of lost social media sites.  So now I have three, very active communities to pay attention to, and to nurture.  I’m already pressed for time with all of my social activity.  I’m approaching a breaking point of what I can participate in.

Realization #3: Every Google+ key feature is a Facebook “update” away

Facebook has proven time and time and time again that it will copy features and products from other companies.  You can bet your ass they will have something similar to “circles” and something similar to “hangout” in the next 6 months.  That’ll be just enough to keep 98% of people using Facebook.

Final Realization: Too big to fail

I’ve wanted for so long for my friends to adopt Twitter, but most don’t “get it.”  And instead, I’m stuck dealing with all of the crap that comes along with Facebook.  I struggle to stay objective as I work with clients on a Facebook strategy when I’m tired of Facebook and just want to ignore it.

Facebook is, unfortunately, too big to fail.

So now, I have Google+ and I really like it, but it’s just one more place to spend time and one more set of notifications to check.

The honeymoon is over for me.  Now I wait…

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I don’t get it… Just another site to check and dilute your time on.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    That’s not exactly what I was trying to say.  I think it’s an excellent site, not “just another site.”  The problem is that in spite of the fact that I think it’s a better site than Facebook, I cannot realistically give up using Facebook because that is where the majority of my social graph will be for some time.  

    In other words, I don’t think the problem with Google+ is Google+, it’s Facebook.  It’s almost too big to compete with.  However, Internet Explorer was once the dominant web browser by a fair margin.  Now Chrome has 20% browser market share.  Time will tell.  For now though, it looks like it’s an addition site to check.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Time will tell. I am not convinced that Zuckerberg won’t shoot himself in the foot.

  • http://twitter.com/KarimBenyagoub Karim Benyagoub

    Wait for the Google applications to be inegrated! I feel like Google apps are going to make huge differences, and you will not find them at Facebook, because they’re made by Google, duh : )

    I used to use Facebook in the past when I had a day job, connecting with my collegues, having some cool fun, sharing photos, playing games, being increasingly annoyed by intrusive apps etc etc.

    Now I use Facebook a lot less, because I got back to using Twitter which I had created since its begginings in 2006. But I was not using it the right way, because I didn’t really connect with people before getting in touch on Twitter, and was busy with tons of biz/marketing info searches instead. 

    But now I have a bunch of friends on Twitter, because I intuitively learned how to really connect with people, I was no longer in those learning curves and now just wanted to meet people and discuss many subjects. 

    I updated all my Twitter contacts into my Facebook account after kicking out all my former collegues to a different FB account (now maybe the circles will give a solution to that, but I don’t think my former collegues will ever use Google+ that soon, they are 100% Facebook people, and I was no longer one of those Facebook time wasters and people who are impossible to annoy no matter how intrusive and spammy games and apps are with them!)

    I’m glad I get annoyed easily now : ) it makes me save huge chunks of brains, time and resources : )

    Now I’ll do the same with Google+: add all my Twitter Tweeps to my circles, and open my eyes and ears to Google’s apps that are going to make things really fun this time, I hope : )

    Have cool times, and a beautiful week end!

    Karim

  • http://twitter.com/30vanquish Matt Ramos

    Then put a timer out there, spend whatever time you need on each (5-10 minutes) and then you’re good. Then again, I am still in a honeymoon period with twitter and it’s been a couple of months.

  • Anonymous

    No site is ever too big to fail, but i really don’t think Google+ are trying to ‘replace’ Facebook for the very reason you’ve highlighted – they can’t compete directly against them so they must chip away at Facebook’s market share and the time we spend on Facebook by slowly integrating Google+ with Google products (which we all use)…

    Hangouts is a one up on Facebook. Circles is a one up on Facebook. The ability to read & comment on notifications in gmail / google is something Facebook simply can’t do. I can see Facebook becoming a place for children / teens, much like Facebook’s competitors of 3/4/5 years ago did once Facebook grew in popularity.

    Right now + is full of tech enthusiasts & adults, so it’s a more ‘serious’ place than Facebook is and i think there is a need for a place like that… a more casual version of linkedin, more serious version of facebook…

  • Anonymous

    Facebook has a real bad reputation in Germany. It’s considered kids’ stuff. My good guess, people here will love google+. 

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    I’m sure they will.  Google+ is an excellent platform.  Facebook did it to themselves by making their #1 selling point Farmville.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    I spend all day on Twitter and have no interest in switching off of Twitter or spending any less time on Twitter.  I am gradually shifting away from Facebook as the majority of my close friends are already on G+.  

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    Thanks Karim.  Glad to see you are back on my favorite network, Twitter.  I’ll find you and send you a DM.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    Zuckerberg and Co. are constantly shooting themselves in the foot.  Facebook’s biggest problem is not the technology or the network of people, it’s the decisions made by leadership in the company.  They are jerks and that is the public perception.  The Social Network movie didn’t help either.  The truth is that most people find Zuckerberg to be a smug, jerk.  Facebook has no bigger problem than their PR problem.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Agreed. They are their own biggest enemies.

  • SD

    I don’t believe FB is untouchable. I am really want to leave. Everytime I log onto FB all I see is self promotion. I’d rather that people share ideas, news etc.. not ” going to the grocery store” or “at in-n-out” I think Google+ might give more value to content. Also just a sidenote. I was all about myspace I started using it in 2004 and got a FB in 2005, I played with both and then when myspace started turning really just ghetto and there was no real content to enjoy I completely left. I’d do the same to FB. I don’t doubt there are other users who will do the same. We don’t have any reason to be loyal, we want what works for us. Also Skype chat makes me cringe…. I have a feeling it spirals down from here, Mr. Zuckerberg may have a few tricks up his sleeves, but I’m not convinced to stay.

  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    I think they will fight tooth and nail to keep this thing dominant.

  • Cynthia Schames

    I have some ideas around this, personally, but they’re in “stealth mode” at the moment. So I’ll just say that it interests me greatly to hear that managing all of these connections is challenging to others, and not just me!