Google+: Social Media Upstart ‘Worse Than a Ghost Town’

I wanted to log on to Google+.  I swear I did.  But the thought of it made me tired.

I recently wrote a piece for PBS MediaShift.  Like I’ve done for past pieces and many of the posts on this blog, I carried out all the expected social media promotion.  I retweeted the MediaShift tweet that announced the piece’s publication on the site.  I posted the link with a quick explainer as a Facebook status update.  I dropped it onto Digg and recommended it on StumbleUpon.  (I skpped Reddit this time around.)  I placed a chunk of it on this blog with a referral link.  I responded to some comments. I even emailed a few friends and colleagues with a heads-up and accompanying link.  And then there was G+.

Screenshot of my MediaShift piece.

A few hours after the post went up, I received an email confirming MediaShift executive editor Mark Glaser had mentioned me and the piece in a note on Google+. Moments later, someone responded to it.  It was a great motivation to respond or post something on there myself.

But then something funny happened.  I sighed out loud.  I got the dreary feeling that often comes midday when my body begs for a catnap.  I simply couldn’t bring myself to sign on to the service.  I let it go, shrugging, thinking I’d get to it later.  But I never followed up.

On one level, the response continues to strike me as silly.  I’m sure the whole promo-post would have taken a moment or two tops.  And I have nothing against G+.  On the contrary, I’d signed up like every other wannabe tech-geek when Google first rolled it out.  I’d played with the whole circles thing.  I’d invited a few family members, colleagues, and even students (something I’ve avoided on Facebook).  I’d created a profile I must now have floating in cyberspace in at least a dozen slightly different iterations.  And I’ve been on here and there, mostly just to see what’s what.

But as much as I want to dive into Google+, I admit I’m fighting an internal enough-is-enough battle.  As Glaser said recently on his Mediatwits podcast, “There are a few things that are slightly better [than Facebook and other existing social media platforms], but what’s really making a huge difference?  You know, that’s the problem.  There’s nothing really groundbreaking.”

In that respect, is it possible that G+, at the moment, is simply a social media step too far?  Are there only so many daily destination-and-connection sites a person can invest time and effort overseeing?

As contributor Paul Tassi recently wrote within a column doubling as a eulogy for the service, “The fact is, very few people have room to manage many multiple social networks . . . since there is only so much time in the day to waste on the Internet.  Add in Google+, effectively a duplicate of Facebook, and there just isn’t space for it.”

I have no idea if G+ is actually already dead, simply dying or still waiting to emerge, alive and mass-addicting.  As it stands, my circles are sparse.  The stream of updates has basically run dry– reduced to one buddy who regularly writes.  My initial excitement about signing on has waned.  Just overall, frankly, it’s not happening.

Take the MediaShift piece.  Less than a week after its posting, more than 300 tweets and retweets linked to it.  Between my blog teaser and its MediaShift placement, it got hyped on Facebook by dozens of users.  Close to 50 people Stumbled Upon it on my blog.  On Google+, meanwhile, it was mentioned five times.

As Omaha World-Herald columnist Rainbow Russell recently wrote, “It’s a not-vicious-enough-to-be-interesting circle: Nobody posts on Google+ because nobody posts on Google+.  My Google+ home page is worse than a ghost town.  It doesn’t even feel haunted.”

One Response to “Google+: Social Media Upstart ‘Worse Than a Ghost Town’”
  1. Tim Acheson says:

    Google+ = GFail

    Google+ is great, if you like watching tumbleweeds rolling through a barren wasteland.

    I expected more from Google, but with hindsight that was delusional. From the start, half of my connections on Google+ were openly employees of Google and staff at PR agencies employed by Google, and the small number of real users who initially tried the service are long gone, myself included, and you can’t blame them.

    The failure of Google’s latest desperate attempt to imitate Facebook and Twitter is all the more embarassing level of hype and scale of Google’s propaganda campaign promoting Google+:

    Sorry, Google, but money can’t buy real friends, and by the same token it can’t buy a real social network. Facebook and Twitter grew organically and rode the wave of the advent of the social web.

    Google+ is like those arrogant surfer kids you sometimes meet with the rich dad. They show up with all the most expensive gear and paddle out to sea, but they’ve missed the wave — but the surf was up yesterday and now the ocean is like glass.

    Google led the way in search, but that was a decade ago, and the web has moved on. Google is still dining out on the cash from search, and has nor firmly established a pattern of imitation rather than innovation, and of course acquisition — but there are certain things money can’t buy.