I’ve seen a fair amount of debate over Google+ lately. The media has debated growth numbers, stickiness, and whether or not Google has the fortitude to stick this one out and make an impact. Frankly, I don’t care.
No, really. I don’t care because it’s not a winner takes all competition. There is room for multiple social networks and we (collectively) will learn how to use them to our advantage over time. The use of a specific social network is a personal preference at this point. Not for brands, that is. They play by different rules. For the individual, it’s your choice. If Google+ doesn’t work for you, I’m not sure that’s the end of the world. Likewise for Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Ultimately, I think you should end up choosing a social network based on three questions:
- Where are my friends?
- Where is the best source of information for my personal interests?
- Where can I find information about my profession?
The answer to these 3 questions will not always be the same social network. Lets break down my personal habits to demonstrate.
- Where are my friends? That’s an easy one. I suspect for the large majority the answer is Facebook. Fair enough.
- Where is the best source of information for my personal interests? Your “friend” social graph is not necessarily aligned with your personal interests. I found the answer to this question is a mixture of Twitter and Facebook.
- Where can I find information about my profession? For me, that’s LinkedIn and Google+. Google’s efforts are still in their infancy and many of the people I have circled are posting information about social media related topics. Intelligent conversations ensue.
From my personal example hopefully you can find a takeaway. Pick the social networks that work for your interests and needs. This is not an all or none choice and I’m afraid many treat it as such. For example, “I already have a Facebook account. Why should I sign up for XYZ social network?” That’s a fair question if you are only looking to answer one of the 3 questions above. Diversify and you’ll find the information streams across these networks are much richer when used for specific purposes.