Facebook for years has been the dominant, general purpose, social network. If you were looking to get connected with friends, families and others (like companies, clubs, etc…) it’s become the defacto place to register. It destroyed MySpace in terms of accessibility, usability and functionality very, very quickly – people abandoned it in droves leaving only the music industry behind. Other social networks carved out their niche and stayed away from going toe to toe with the blue and white giant. LinkedIn dominates the professional workplace and career based network, Flixster for movies – head over to Wikipedia and you’ll find a large list but most are are targeted to a specific segment of the populate. Only Facebook has over half a billion users and you can practically say it is the social graph.
The beauty of having a dominate social network is that you only have to go to one place to find the people you want to connect with… now we have Google+
Google tried to get in on the social networking bandwagon in the past. There was Google Buzz which is really a poor version of Twitter; +1 was an attempt to go after Facebook’s “Like” button; Google Wave… well, we really don’t know what Google Wave was trying to do except that it was cool technology that is probably ahead of it’s time – what was missing is that Google didn’t have a centralized spot to capture and present what it was trying to do. Now it has Google+ the answer to consolidate everything it was trying to do in the past.
Now, I don’t have a Google+ account (although I’m trying to get one), and from the videos and reviews I’ve seen it looks like it has a decent fight against the Facebook behemoth. The big question is, can society afford Google+ to be only moderately successful?
Look at how much energy people put into their Facebook profiles; people spend hours a day on it. If you are now forced to subscribe to a second social network just in case the person you’re looking for is not on Facebook how much time are you going to spend on it? A social profile isn’t very good to you if people can’t locate you so you’re going to be forced to invest your time to making it usable, searchable and connect to others so others may connect to you. More time staring at a computing device trying to figure out which games are better on which platform, which friends are on which network, etc… It’s like owning a Wii, XBox 360, and the PS3 and trying to give all equal time in a single day!
From an employer standpoint, that’s even less productivity you can expect for those working from you now. Not only that, your marketing team now has double duty. Can you afford to ignore a social network with the Google brand behind it? Of course not, especially since you know that Google+ will be very searchable and probably have a prominent place on search results that the search giant provides. Double the pleasure, Double the “fun” at the expense of everyone’s lives.
So, can there be more than one general purpose social network? I really hope not because it’s going to drive me crazy. There better be tools that allow me to post from one network to another but the scary thing is that’s against these platform’s best interest (Facebook just shutdown the nice little utility to import your friends into Google+). In any event I’ll probably be on both, trying to keep each up-to-date and eventually fall asleep at my desk 😉