Google+ has been a hot topic in the Twitterverse and other social media scenes recently, with many people having hopped on board already. Most people seem to enjoy it and think it will be the best thing since Facebook, and it very well may revolutionize social networking. Conversely, social networks come and go, and Google+ could flop just like its predecessor—Google Buzz.
Here are three reasons why Google+ will fail:
- Google+ has a heavy time commitment
Three entities dominate social media right now: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Facebook and LinkedIn are similar in that they both involve a significant time investment to “do it right”. Twitter functions on the opposite end of the spectrum and involves a very low time commitment. Sure, you can spend time reading your timeline, but the whole thing is basically posting a 140 character (or less) message and wiping your hands clean of it.
Facebook and LinkedIn both take a LONG time to setup a profile. We all know how addictive Facebook can get—to the point where I know some of you open your web browser and out of habit begin to type Facebook into the address bar even if it’s not the website you opened your browser for in the first place (its okay–I do it too). While it’s hard to really get lost in LinkedIn, it serves as the perfect complement to Facebook because it’s a professional tool. LinkedIn and Facebook are not competing with one another.
Enter Google+. Because you can distinguish between various circles, you have an opportunity to be a jackass with your friends in one circle, and drink tea with your pinky in the air in another circle. Professional and casual have converged on one interface in Google+. Therein lays the problem. We have a casual social network in Facebook, and a professional social network in LinkedIn, and we have spent countless hours on both. Why would we take even more time to recreate full profiles for both, and then continue to clock hours interacting with our different networks when we already have equipment in place to do that? Just because there is another social network out there, doesn’t mean we all will flock to it. And to clarify, when I say ‘flock to it’, I mean really use Google+; not just create a profile and ignore it.
2. People will confuse their circles
The Google+ differentiator is having multiple circles to communicate with. Part of the setup is the ability to have a single contact in more than one circle. For instance, I could have my friend Andrew in my “The Pits” circle (never mind the name—inside joke), and I could also have him in my “Professional Contacts” circle. That’s a case of easy discernibility. But what about when the dividing lines become less distinct between circles? It’s very possible I could throw Andrew in a few different circles, forget who all is in that circle, and post a comment that was meant for the OTHER circle he’s in. Best case scenario, the circle ignores the comment. Middle case scenario, the circle gets confused and asks some questions about what I’m talking about. Worst case scenario (which is not too far-fetched), the person or people in that circle who weren’t supposed to see the comment become outraged. Still want to stay active on Google+ after something like that?
End result: In an effort to bring people closer together, Google+ moves some people farther apart.
3. It’s not Facebook
Facebook is so embedded in society that we use it as a verb. We are accustomed to its interface and intricacies, and we accept it for its inabilities. As weird as it sounds, Facebook is our friend. Everyone we know is friends with Facebook. We have been through a lot together and we will not part ways with it just because someone new and popular moved into town.
Facebook may not have been the original social networking site, but relative to Google+ it has a significant first-mover advantage.