Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

The Best Part of Google+ is That You Aren't on It

Google’s social network isn’t for everyone, which is precisely why it’s so good

  • November 16, 2011

For all the hate poured on Google+ of late, you’d think it was the next Wave, Buzz or Color app. But before you write off Google’s experiment in social media completely, consider this: the best thing about Google+ might just be that it remains the playground of early adopters.

Think about the taxonomy of social media. Facebook is for pictures of kids. Twitter is for news. And LinkedIn, if you use it, is the place where recruiters try to recruit other recruiters for purposes of recruitment.

Google+ fills a need - it’s the place where you can discuss things other than cat pictures, and at length. Sure, Facebook sort of fits the bill, but there’s always the possibility that someone’s idiot cousin will derail an otherwise productive discussion with an ungrammatical side-swipe that closes with a quote from Ayn Rand.

Remember, if you can, what Twitter was like in the early days. Or Facebook before the addition of all those obnoxious games. Every social network has a life cycle, starting with a blissful honeymoon free of the opinions of late adopters, and then declining into the vulgate as they come on board.

Last week’s traffic at Google+ was nearly a record, so this period won’t last long. Google seems determined to integrate Plus into search, Android, music and probably everything else they can think of. As it the titans of Mountain View do all they can to clog their still pristine creation with the sousveillance-style sharing pioneered by Facebook, its utility will decline.

Which is precisely why there will always be an appetite for the next new thing in social networking – just as there is in music, fashion, slang, reality television, movies, books, morality, politics…

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