Noah J Nelson on Friday, Jul. 8th
I’ve been diving into Google+ with gusto this week, and so far I’m pretty impressed…with reservations. The service has that wonderful “new car smell” that a fresh social media project with a solid foundation should have. One thing I’m particularly impressed with is how easy the discovery side of things has been.
On other services, the question of how to find people to follow has been a stumbling block out of the gate. That’s still a complaint I hear about Twitter from new users. Part of my positive experience is thanks to other services: I locked into Alana Joy, who I follow on Twitter and Tumblr and she’s been a G+ powerhouse. Following her threads has connected me to some fresh –to me — faces worth following.
Yet, that’s where my reservations come in.
I wasn’t expecting G+ to be a replacement Tumblr, which is what it is quickly becoming. I’m not alone in that assessment, as no less than Digg founder Kevin Rose has had the same thought.
I wasn’t looking for a Tumblr replacement when I fired up G+ last week; I was looking for a Facebook killer. While I’m more than open to the possibility that G+ will knock out Tumblr from my web diet — Tumblr sure is pretty, but not nearly as conducive to conversations as G+ has proven to be — I was hoping for a robust set of social management tools.
What none of the social media services have managed to do so far is create a great architecture for the semi-private space. Twitter and Facebook are great at creating public forums. AIM and Skype for one-on-one conversations… and limited group chatting. Google+ was launched with the idea that people have different social identities front and center and that philosophy is, to my mind, a prerequisite to the creation of those semi-private spaces.
Circles could be that, but it doesn’t seem to be how people are using G+ yet. The early adopters are, at the moment, replicating their Twitter and Tumblr experiences and racking up huge networks. This may lead to a feedback loop that drives the project to be a more efficient version of a public space, as opposed to the suite of management tools I’ve been looking for, and that seems to be at the heart of the project’s DNA.
There’s a hole in the G+ suite that could help move the service towards the social management side: The event planner. Facebook’s sucks. That’s a purely subjective assessment, but I base that on the sheer tedium of constructing an invite through their system. Evite is ancient, and at this point feels disconnected from the digital extension of self.
A Circles based event planner, with the option to activate a Huddle at the click of a button, seems like a no brainer. More than that, it feels like a good incentive to get actual friends using the service. As much fun as it has been to discover new internet personalities, I know that I won’t have the same kind of emotional relationship to G+ as I do with Facebook if my real friends don’t wind up adopting the service soon.
If their marketing messages are any indication, that kind of attachment is what Google is aiming for.