Google Plus Yet Another Point of View
Insurance Experts' Forum, July 28, 2011
Google Plus has created a great deal of interest but has also divided the social media community. Even the commentary on the launch success or lack of, cannot be agreed. Supporters point to the rapid growth, with 20 million users added in just 24 days (Facebook needed 1,152). Detractors point to the fact that Facebook has 750 million users. The Google Plus debate is making the debt ceiling debate in Washington seem quite friendly and it not bode well for the short-term future.
Many of the social media experts love Google Plus but of course, they would, they love uncertainty, they love new toys, they love the fact that you need more consulting. The business community (and really I am speaking about the social media personnel within the community) are less enthusiastic – they want certainty, they want to get on and use social media not talk about technology. I fall between two camps, I like some of the features of Google Plus but fear it will delay investment and deployment. I always make a point in my presentations – social media should not be about the technology, it should be about the value and benefits – but here we are discussing technology. There were two major trending topics on Twitter last week – the debt ceiling and Google Plus.
We have seen battles before – WinTel versus Mac, Windows 3.0 versus OS/2, Netscape/Firefox version Explorer, Word Perfect versus Word, DEC versus Wang (showing my age on that one) and this invariably results in split development and slower deployment.
I am not advocating that we pick a winner now or anoint Facebook because of its larger presence. In some respects, Facebook is responsible for bringing this on itself: their lack of respect for privacy and other business practices left the door open. Google, despite failing twice with Buzz and Wave and should have been dead and buried, happily took advantage. Maybe Google Plus will do no more than to shake up Facebook and that alone would be a good thing but maybe we end up fragmenting the audience making each platform less valuable.
Terry Golesworthy, president of The Customer Respect Group, has covered technology issues and innovations in the insurance industry for many years.
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