I have been pioneering digital for marketing communications since 1992, yes, that is it even before it was called ‘new media’ yet alone digital or social. The way in which people use technology and consume content continues to fascinate me. My mission has always been the same, to match how people want to interact online with how companies want to achieve their goals.
Your name is not down you are not coming in
There is a new nightclub in town, and it’s causing a stir, but will it go beyond the IT kids or not? Google+ launched with all the marketing tactics of a nightclub opening. The IT crowd got invites and that left lots of us (read me) waiting outside. Usually this would not bother me. I am more than happy to let the tech heads go play first and see what falls out a few weeks later. I am proud to say Google wave washed right over me. But this time was different because my twitter stream went a bit nuts, so suddenly I found I was a bit more desperate to find the right trainers than usual.
Now I am in, I discover it’s all about cliques
Google has created ‘circles’. Not really a new idea, but a slightly different implementation of groups. These circles are far from transparent though because everyone has their own and it is not clear which ones you are in. The standard circles have horrid titles like ‘acquaintances’ and ‘following’ … for people you are interested in but don’t know. You can change them, but it just doesn’t feel very social media open and friendly to me.
So, will this become the place to hang out?
It’s a bit soon to tell. At the minute it’s full of journalists, digital agency people and the geeky minded, who love it right now because it is a place of high intellect and low brand presence.
Will it knock Facebook off its perch? I think not for quite a while. Some brands are set to launch on google+ shortly, and all eyes will be on them. For most brands the reach and targeting of Facebook will remain attractive for a while, and let’s face it, Facebook took five or six years to achieve this mighty status. Google+ could go faster as the precedent is now set, but I still think it will be a while before a majority of marketers need to add it into their plans.
Will everyone drift to this new club?
For most non digital people social networking has been a steep learning curve, and I am not convinced the non-geek audience can be bothered to learn another social network just now. They are still happily connecting with people and brands on Facebook. I don’t think we will see the same shift from Facebook to Google+ that we saw from Myspace to Facebook, because it’s not yet adding anything really special.
Should Twitter worry?
Unfortunately, I think the answer could be yes. Google+ could be the place all those 140 character Twitter relationships get explored a bit deeper, although the lack of an iPhone app may slow this transition down.
We shall see, because if another shiny new club opens next month the IT crowd could all drift there overnight.
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