This is my third blog post for the Foundations of Social Media class I am taking at Eastern Michigan University this spring. Before I started this class, I was only generally aware of social media platforms and news about them. I am working on earning my Bachelor’s degree with a major in Written Communication, concentration in Technical Writing, and a minor in Graphic Communication, and this class is one of the required electives I had to choose from for both of those programs.
I was excited about learning more about this subject and thought it would be good information for me to know once I graduate and hopefully start working in my chosen profession. Somebody has to write the company blog posts and website pages, etc., so this is a good thing to know.
However, since I started taking this class, I have signed up on so many different social media platforms, I couldn’t tell you them all without looking at my list. At least three of them, I hadn’t even heard of before. I had never Tweeted and never really wanted to; I didn’t/don’t take selfies and wasn’t /am not interested in posting them anywhere. There were actually two platforms that I had already signed up on and didn’t even remember doing it, and I had registered for this blog on WordPress (Marianne’s Musings) over a year ago and promptly decided I didn’t have time to do anything with it and forgot all about it.
I didn’t think I needed to know anything about the workings of all the myriad social media out there to be explored and really just wanted to learn about what and how to post to them if the need should arise.
At this point, three weeks into the semester, I have not only registered on Twitter and tweeted individually as well as participating in a group tweet chat session, but I am now working with other students in the class planning to running one.
I have read nine or ten chapters of the required book for the class by Gina Luttrell – “Social Media, How to Engage, Share, and Connect” – and I have signed up to follow more marketing, advertising, social media, and public relations blogs, companies, and “expert” social media writers than I could have ever dreamed of. I’ve subscribed to newsletters and postings for many of these, and I have to say that they are making a lot more sense to me now than they did when I first started the class.
One of the sites I had registered on and promptly forgotten was Google+, and I mention that now because one of the articles I saw due to one of my many new subscriptions caught my eye several times and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The article by Lisa Eadicicco was called Why Google+ failed, according to Google insiders. I think the reason I was so curious about it was because I had just started using Google+, and in Chapter 6 on page 106 of my book, I had just read all about the myriad wonderful things that Google+ could do for businesses and what sets them apart from their competition, which is mainly Facebook.
I decided to investigate a little to see if I could make sense of it, and here I sit, many hours later, with a “Googled” brain. I checked out the links Lisa put into the article she wrote for businessinsider.com, and those linked articles led me to more linked articles (one written by her on March 2nd entitled Google is breaking up its struggling social network Google+), which led me to more linked articles, blogs, and websites. Now, one major headache later, I’ve come to the realizations (purely unscientific) that: Failure is relative; and, everyone should aspire to ‘fail’ as spectacularly as Google+ has.
One of the many links I followed ended up leading to a blog post by dredmorbius on the social media/blog platform for anarchists (my interpretation) called ello. “Dr. Morbius” (AKA Edward Morbius, AKA dredmorbius) tells us all the nitty gritty analytic statistics in his blog post titled Estimating G+ User Activity: 4-6 million active posters in January 2015 to date. I have to admit my brain was spinning before I was even close to done reading his post (numbers just aren’t my thing). I definitely got the sense that he was anti-Google, and I wondered if he had some underlying motive for bashing the company (my suspicious nature).
I compared his summary of findings from analyzing the Google+ usage statistics to the statistics stated on page 107 in my book, and then I had to go to another link to see the source Gina Luttrell used in the book.
I found her source’s January 2013 article on Forbes.com. Anthony Wing Kosner’s article Watch Out Facebook, With Google+ at #2 and YouTube at #3, Google, Inc. Could Catch Up held another “mind-Googling” set of statistics, these from a UK market research firm called Trendstream, whose update report on social media showed “Google+ is now the second largest social network in terms of active users, and YouTube, included for the first time in its index, is now third.” You can click on the article to find the nitty-gritty details. (Did you know Google owned YouTube?)
Anyway, the statistics are from different time periods so they may be comparing apples to oranges. However, I did manage to find the original Google+ post by Bradley Horowitz on March 2, 2015, (same date as Lisa Eadicicco’s first article mentioned above) that caused 3 different writers to post on that date about his announcement that he was the new head of Google+ Photos and Streams.
This post has generated almost 500 comments, some at late as two weeks ago, and it has been re-posted over 500 times and G+1 marked over 2,000 times. Of course, I had to read some of the many comments. Low and behold, there were many from my buddy Edward Morbius spewing his negativity for everyone’s entertainment, fanning the flames of anyone’s fears that he could. Not surprisingly, I also learned in some of his ranting that he does have an axe to grind with Google, which makes me even more suspicious of the validity of his statistics. It seems he didn’t read the Terms of Service too well.
Of the many comments to Horowitz’s post that I read, the takeaway was a lot of fear of uncertainty because of how the changes would affect them, but also a lot of fans who love Google+ and were interested to see how the changes would evolve and improve the platform, which is what they were intended to do, rather than trying to bail out a sinking ship like I had inferred from reading Morbius and Eadiciccio before my research orgy.
I know it took me a while to get here, but my whole point in this post is that Google+ not only sounds like it can do a lot more than I thought when I first checked it out, but it is also very far from failing.
If you are interested, I have attached links to the many articles I read below. As I said before, I’m Googled out, so I will leave you with a quote from Thomas Edison that sums up what Google has had to say about the changes: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think about Google+.
More on Google+ changes
New Google+: Stream, Hangouts, and Photos by Vic Gundotra