Google Plus Ghost Town : My Open Letter To The Misguided Reporters
It’s that time again. Google Plus Ghost Town from the media and reporters. This round is brought to you because Vic Gundotra (the guy behind the Google plus project) announced today that he would be leaving Google. Vic is a great guy and I’m sure has many reasons for leaving Google. Family time, additional opportunities and projects come to my mind. But immediately the media once again, has resorted to posting nothing but articles talking about how his leave can only lead to graveyards, walking dead, and ghost town.
Know what the common theme is between all these “ghost town posts”? No interviews. No named sources. Lots of reporters who never used it. A quick search usually shows that the reporter has not used Google+ themselves. Sadly, to not even post the article they just wrote about the platform, to the platform. In fact most have less than 20 people circled and more often than not… have never even posted, ever. Awesome. Good reporters generally go out and interview people who are involved with something before they write a story, if they themselves do not happen to have first hand experience. This is fringe opinion piece media. Yet tons of these garbage articles keep getting posted on major tech publications presenting like it’s the facts.
I figured it was time I wrote a letter to these reporters. Please media… realize that I have tried to reach out and talk to many of you, do interviews, and help you get these points, but too many times you tell me “your company doesn’t care about writing about the positive sides of Google+” or that “other stories are more important than G+ success”. Yet whenever anything could possibly be seen as negative about G+, all of your websites light up with a million ghost town posts. It’s time the users of G+ spoke out… I’ll start. Here are my thoughts for you.
Dear Reporters Who Can’t Be Bothered To Learn About Google+ Before Writing Your Ridiculous Articles About It;
I know this is going to be hard for some of you. You have been a good tech writer, involved in social media probably for awhile, and spent time building up your Facebook account and Twitter profile. When Google+ came along, many of your company Tech websites had already done things like integrate Facebook comments or sometimes heck, even invest in Facebook themselves! You certainly didn’t have time to get involved in another social network, and come on.. “Google has never got social”. Your mom isn’t there. Google+ is obviously a ghost town. Right?
Google plus is still a baby on the social media scene. But since day one, there have been active, engaged users… and LOTS of them.
Facebook was launched in 2004. Early adopters got access to Facebook in 2006/2007, your mom probably did not get involved until sometime in 2009 or 2010. 2010 is also the year that the Facebook like button was launched. A full 6 years after Facebook officially launched. [1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Facebook]
Google+ is not even 3 years old yet. [2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B]
(See those tiny numbers Reporters? Those are footnotes. They are used to add credibility to your posts when you make bold Claims and Facts)
Comparing to Facebook life cycle, this is about the time that “mass adoption” will start, and everything points to that exact thing happening right now on plus. Every day companies, celebrities, brands, and regular people around the world are joining and playing around with Google+ when they “didn’t have time” before.
But alas, real fact are not good for the media… Death, DOOM! DESTRUCTION! ANY DAY NOW…Ghost town.
But what about those “Active User” numbers? Just how many people are actually there?
Sure Google has released stats saying there are 300 million users [3. http://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2013/10/google-hangouts-and-photos-save-some.html] and there are lots of debates about exactly what that means… but here are some real facts. I personally have over 983,000 plusses, 239,000 shares, and 224,000 comments and 172 million views on my posts. [4. http://www.circlecount.com/p/+AmandaBlain] I have 4 million people who are circling me, Which media like to tell me is often tell me is full of “ghosts” but several million interactions have happened on my personal posts on google plus in just under 3 years. Compare that to roughly 20,000 @ mentions and 6,000 RT I have received on Twitter, in the 7 years I’ve been using that. People are on G+.and they interact. If you my dear reporters are getting zero interaction, hate to be the bearer of bad news…. Its not Google+, It’s you. Deal with it.
I know this is confusing reporters… but please try and keep up…
There are 2 products/ideas called Google+…
1. Google+ The background account… You use this to log into all Google products. This holds your security info, passwords, apps, location history … you know.. your account. Same as an Apple Id, or Microsoft Live Id. No difference. Including the “forcing” of these companies for you to create and use one when you interact with any of their services or products. Zero difference.
2. Google+ the “social stream”.. this is where people post what they are eating for lunch, The latest science news article they found, and their thoughts on the latest movie they watched.
Google Is an Advertising Company…
Google+ your account.. ties all the many many Google products you use every day together, and allows google to share that information between them. [5. http://investor.google.com/earnings/2010/Q4_google_earnings.html] This allows better results in their search engine AND allows better ads to appear when you are using google products. (because they know you live in LA, California for example and can show local results). This… dear readers, makes Google Money. In fact 97% of Google’s revenue [5. http://investor.google.com/earnings/2010/Q4_google_earnings.html] … comes from advertising. And that advertising is tied to the most valuable thing Google has besides their insane index of the Interwebs… Information about the Users who Use Google via… Google+.
Yet ive read at least 5 articles today talking about how Google might be shutting G+ down. One even got an official Google PR’s response on the possible shut down. “Today’s announcement has no impact on our Google Plus strategy—We have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google plus, hangouts and photos”.
But facts and real quotes? Naw. You as a Reporter obviously know whats up from unnamed sources. You don’t realize how uneducated it makes you sound when you state G+ is closing down? Let me spell it out nice and clear… Is Apple going to cancel their Apple ID because Steve Jobs passed away? Are Microsoft Live accounts being terminated and called failed because Steve Balmer left the company? That… IS.. how ridiculous you reporters sound with these posts today to that vast majority of the world that gets this concept Google has been saying for 3 years.
Here’s another one that might be a shocker to some of you reporters….
Google+ Is NOT Made to Be a “Facebook Killer”
As one of G+ largest and most popular users, In my very humble opinion, Google does not care if you post cats on Saturday on G+ the social stream or not. They still know what city you now live in, that you are male or female and maybe even what school or where you work. Their advertising has become way more useful than it was 5 years ago. If you post cats on the social stream, Google also knows you like cats in some way. Rock on. Better advertising for me. I personally don’t mind trading that small amount of personal data to Google so that I can have free email, look at every single street in the entire world, and have an amazing customizable android phone. Many do, so Google allows you to turn all that off and be anonymous after you create the account. And its not crazy insane rocket science like Facebook privacy settings are. Who also by the way,actually are selling your soul and everything you ever post there to every company that walks by. If you are mad at Google for using your info to advertise better, you better be just as mad at Facebook, Twitter and oh pretty much most other websites today, who are doing it too. [7. Http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/how-facebook-sells-your-personal-information-130124.htm ] In fact you should probably log off the internet right now forever.
Google+ Changes Your Entire Life… Google+ Makes Everything Just Better
Eventually though, with time, (THIS IS KEY MEDIA…. PAY ATTENTION) because using G+ the social stream just makes your life better, you will just start using it. Be it because of Hangouts, the photo auto back-up, the sign into android, because you want to promote your company with PostAds and their amazing CTR, how everything Google works so nice with chrome, because you want to join someone elses hangout, because you want to comment on a you tube, connect with people around the world based on you interests in millions of communities, you want to know when to leave your house for an appointment automatically and not be late with an update from Google Now, because you want to book dinner with your friends using a G+ app, because you want to share the “bar out night photos” with only your friends and not your boss and co workers… or 7 million other reasons I use Google+ every single day, you, yes YOU reading this article, will start using G+ the social stream, without you even realizing it.
Now I know some of that was hard to take, and perhaps you’ve been a little confused. If any reporter is interested in having a more detailed discussion about any of these topics or getting some facts, please feel free to reach out to me. Heck I know millions of people on the Google+ platform you can reach out to as well if I can’t help you for some reason.
Few of you probably will. The Ghost Idea is just too good link bait isn’t it?
20th Most Followed Person On Google+
Google+ IS the next big thing. The rest of you non reporters, You have a choice You can embrace Google+, and spend time educating yourself on how its a different platform, different experience and have an amazing time connecting with others. Or you can look at these pointless media “ghost town” articles that are riddled with random sources, zero facts, and written by people who have never used Google+ themselves, and choose to ignore it. Choose wisely my friends.
If you LOVE google plus, why not write a post about it? Share how it changed your life, why you like it, why it’s awesome. Use the hashtag #MyGooglePlusStory.. or heck just do it without the hashtag. It’s time more of us spoke out about the product we love from Google.
(here are those facts again … so you can check it out yourself ) 🙂