I just wanted to share some interesting developments in the social media world. Basically a Facebook vs Google+ discussion. (Warning I am admittedly a Google fangirl so yes I am biased but you can’t ignore the facts).
Recently Google+ surpassed Twitter to become the second largest social network.
Then Wil Wheaton recently did an unscientific experiment in which he asked (without revealing why) for folks to click a link to his blog. While he got more likes and interactions with his post on Facebook, he got almost the identical number of click throughs to his blog. While interactions help build your online presence, for an author the ultimate goal is click throughs leading to sales, so this is significant.
I have also heard through the grapevine that the “younger” crowd is starting to say “Facebook is for old people” –I mean no offense here, and not everyone’s target audience is the younger crowd…but the younger crowd are trend setters and usually ahead of everyone. While you are struggling how the heck to figure out Facebook, you might be missing the boat elsewhere…
I think it is still important to maintain a presence on Facebook, it is not going anywhere soon and if someone is looking for you on Facebook and you are not there, this is a missed opportunity. But it might be time to start thinking about how much of a time investment you need to maintain a presence on Facebook and where else you might want to invest your social media time to keep ahead of the curve.
One criticism I have heard about Google+ is that the population is mostly the “geek and nerd” element. If your audience is not really geeks and nerds then you might argue that there is no point for you to be on Google+, but I disagree. Geeks and nerds are the early adapters when it comes to technology. Thirty years ago it was mostly geeks and nerds who were into computers. And now computers are not only mainstream, but people who got in early are a lot better off than everyone else. They have more knowledge and more comfort with the machines that now pretty much rule our world, and anyone who wisely invested in the computer stock market way back then is not stinking rich. So trust me on this, if the geeks and nerds are already there, it is the future.
Another criticism I have heard is that Google+ is just another Facebook and who are they kidding, Facebook is never going to be beat–it’s too big to fail. Yeah, too big to fail. Like we haven’t heard that one before. The fact is that Google+ is currently one of the fastest growing social networks, ever. And Facebook is actually on some shaky ground right now, all of a sudden they are having to answer to investors, they are fumbling around with monetization to please their new masters. They have ugly promoted posts, and they have used our faces to sell things to our friends. Facebook didn’t have much class to begin with, but they are losing what little they had. Google+ on the other hand is run by Google whose very motto is “don’t be evil” and who has been in the ad business long enough to know how to do it with a little class.
But even if you think Facebook is here to stay and will never be surpassed by Google+ there are some other things to consider. Google+ is not trying to be Facebook. They are trying to be more than Facebook. They are looking to the future and staying ahead of the curve. If, as they try to accomplish more than just being a simple social network they surpass Facebook, that will be a side effect, not the accomplishment of all their goals. I don’t presume to know what their ultimate goals are but I do know that my own experiences with Google products do not reflect a company merely trying to be another Facebook. Trust me, Google+ is going places you never imagined and the time to hop on board is now.
Another thing to consider is that Facebook was born to be private. Even today everyone roars in rage when they feel like Facebook has violated their privacy. Everyone has their own little private network and if they want to create something public like an author platform they have to create a separate page. If your only goal is to keep in touch with friends and family in a setting you feel a little more free to speak your mind, then the insular world of Facebook is just right for you. But if you want to be out there, showing up in search engines, visible and noticeable to the public, Facebook offers a very limited platform for you. Have you ever tried to search for a new or mid-list author on Facebook? Someone who is not insanely popular and doesn’t have the most unique name in the world? It can be frustrating as all heck searching for something on Facebook.
Google+ users on the other hand have mostly shed the shackles of privacy and entered a whole new world of public conversation and sharing. And if you know how to use your circles properly you can get your message to just about anyone you want, whether they are your friend or not. The less restricted world of Google+ opens up a variety of new opportunities, and makes all the old platform building you have done a lot easier to do and to get results from.
The last thought I will leave you with is the fact that because Google+ is still like newly forming star, you have a unique opportunity to join now and become a part of that star. If you wait until the star is finally complete you will have to settle for being one of the planets that circles around it…and if you wait too long you will end up being a cold dead rock like pluto so small and far away you don’t even count as a planet any more. So get with it and get going on Google+, yesterday!
I will write a post soon on how to use Google+ the most effectively but for now here are some baby steps: create an account, start adding interesting people to your circles and start having conversations.