Social Media Tip: So, What’s this Google+ Thing Anyway?

Right now the blogosphere is buzzing with the reports that the new social media endeavor known as Google+ (or just Google Plus) is a “Facebook killer.” Of course, if you have been spending any time in the world of social media, you have heard those two words before. Just like Google Wave was supposed to be a possible Facebook Killer and Google Buzz was supposed to give Twitter a run for its money. Of course, the history of the world is fraught with things that were supposed to “doom” other technology and this turned out not to be the case.

There was a time that the people in the radio business believed television would kill radio. Instead, radio adapted, focusing on music over shows, and survived. There was a time when television was going to kill off movies. Then the VCR was going to do that. Then DVDs, then streaming movies online or via OnDemand was going to sound the death knell for films. Of course, this has not happened. People and industries adapt.

Of course, the world of social media is a little less forgiving. Just a few short years ago everyone was talking about MySpace. Then, in the span of maybe six months or less, Facebook took over as the top dog in the world of social media. It has weathered challenges by many others since then, and remains the top dog. Google+ seems to be a real contender, but does that mean that companies should be lining up to create a profile there?

Well, first off, Google+ is still technically in the testing stages. Not just anyone can go there and sign up. You have to be invited. In fact, Google has been trying to discourage companies from getting invites during these early stages. Even they are not entirely sure how companies can leverage their Google+ profiles.

The numbers the first two weeks Google+ was in existence were impressive. Reports were that over 10 million people signed up in the first two weeks. Given the fact you had to know someone on there to get an invite, this was rather impressive. People who signed up praised the clean look of Google+ and the fact it was uncluttered by games and other announcements that people claim annoy them about Facebook. Also, Google+ reportedly has tighter security and it keeps your personal information closer to the vest than Facebook.

So, it is worth watching. It is worth keeping your ear to the ground. To say that Google+ will definitely not become a major force in the world of social media is to be naïve about the way things work in this sphere. It may very well be that, six months from now, the world will be focused almost entirely on this new endeavor. However, given the sheer number of people who are using Facebook, it seems unlikely that it will disappear anytime soon.

Already there are platforms out there looking for ways to integrate all of the social media profiles you might have. Just like there are platforms that let you update Twitter, your Facebook status and other forms of social media at the same time, it may soon be possible to update Google+ at the same time you update your Facebook page.

In the end, there seems like there could be room for two major social media platforms. It may be a matter of taste. You may like the cleaner look of Google+ or you may enjoy the look of Facebook. It may also be about what audience you are trying to reach and the full demographic of who is on Google+ is not known.

So, don’t believe that you have to jump on the newest thing right away. Right now, having a Google+ profile means that there is just one more profile you need to update anytime you do a status change or want to make an announcement. If you are already on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and your company blog, that may be just fine. At the same time, stay tuned. Things happen fast in the social media world. Readiness is the key, but overreacting could be costly and time consuming.

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