When Google+ came out we talked about as if we understood it. It gave us a way of sharing things with only people whom we wanted to share them with; promoting exclusivity, the antithesis of Facebook’s motto of “share everything with everyone all the time.”
Google did a fine job of putting out the teaser of a new social network, making it exclusive and by invitation only. However, fell flat on promoting it as the place to be and be seen. It was hard to get everyone to jump ship when all of their friends were already on Facebook. Then Google realized it was losing ground so they opened up Google+ to anyone who had a Gmail account. So now people who wouldn’t normally sign up on “another social network” are checking it out and discovering, this whole contextual social media is not such a bad thing, in fact, they kinda like it.
What is contextual social media? It’s another buzz word from marketers made up to define the ability to give people meaningful experiences and relationships fostering the real reason they joined the social network in the first place. This is why Google is ahead of the game.
Google came out of the gate with contextual social media by allowing you to put people into social “circles” and giving you the power to selectively share to those circles. Then they introduced “Communities” where they let people gather around a particular topic, again allowing them to receive updates about things that interest them.
Although it seems that Google Plus has everything that Facebook has and more, there’s still that question of “what’s the point of being on a social network where my friends aren’t?” There’s something about being first. Or is there…
Enter the new Pew Internet Research study, one in five online adults in the U.S. (20) used Facebook in the past but stopped using it because of:
- “My account was compromised.”
- “I got tired of minding everybody else’s business.”
- “Not enough privacy.”
- “Got too many communications.”
- “Takes my time away.”
From the survey they derived that “28% of Facebook users say the site has become less important to them than it was a year ago. And 34% of current users say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has decreased over the past year. ”
There aren’t many stats out there for Google+ and the most recent is from The Next Web, where they reported back in December 2012 that Google+ had 500M registered users, 235M active users using G+ features (such as +1), and a mere 135M actively using the service. People are always look at Google Plus as being a failure. But I say two things:
- It took Facebook 9 years to get to 1 Billion users and Google Plus has only been around just under 2 years with 135M users, cut them some slack.
- The demographic is different on Google Plus than it is on Facebook. The people on Facebook are the people who you went to high school with and the people on Google Plus are the people you wished you went to school with, (much like Twitter).
Enter MySpace. They are starting out just like Google Plus did with a “by invitation only” invite. And as an early access user, I can tell you, it’s very cool. Screw Pandora or iTunes, I’ve got MySpace. The layout is cool, although horizontal which bucks the system of all other social networks. It incorporates a little of Twitter and Stumble Upon by letting you “discover” and shows you what’s “trending” and it let’s you share like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Hmm, sounds like they are onto something. They do have the same problem as Google Plus has… I can hear a pin drop because no one else I care about is on there. However, they also have music, which could be enough for you to just hang out there like you do on Pinterest all day long.
For tips on setting up a brand page on MySpace, check out Social Media Insider’s post.
In the end, it is all about getting what you want, from who you want, when you want it. That’s contextual social media. Hell, that’s contextual media and that’s the direction we’re headed.