Fairly accepted marketer wisdom is this: Twitter is for real-time news, Facebook is for family and friends, and Google+ is for interests.
Twitter: what’s happening now.
Facebook: what people I know are doing.
Google+: where to find more about what I’m interested in.
While the statements above are certainly not fact, they may explain why Facebook’s valuation has dropped so far, so fast: people don’t like to be interrupted or advertised to while talking with their family and friends. People like it when our social networks reflect how we see our lives and live them online, rather than needing to conform to technical limitations and advertiser demands on how their messages are served to us.
As social networks are wont to do — new ones especially — Google+ has developed its own norms and etiquette. For instance, one user reports that when he signs off for the night, he uses #offline to signify such and has seen it catch on elsewhere. While some may scoff at the notion of Google+ or any social network using such chat-room-like signifiers, today’s always-connected, always-on world often does need both a tangible and digital on/off switch.
While many marketers, digital or otherwise (is there even a difference anymore?), claim to be using Google+, we sure haven’t seen anyone stand above the rest. Perhaps this is because our interests seldom require commercial purposes, perhaps it’s because most marketers have no idea what they’re doing.
While we think there ARE plenty of marketers that do actually have a clue, we’re curious as to how and if Google+ will ever become viable for them over the long term. For short-term projects or events, it’s great, but like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter before, it’s going to take a concerted effort, authentic effort to be able to justify any time or budget in doing so.
Maybe that’s Google+’s greatest strength: users really have to care about why they’re using it.