By now you probably heard all kinds of predictions:
Google+ will take over the social space and gain Facebookers’ hearts with the new features, specially the ability to consolidate networks and manage privacy;
Google+ is coming too late;
Or, “what is Google+?”; among others.
Working with technology for many years, I learned we can never say it’s too late. Look at Apple’s success in changing completely the landscape of the technology world. Or even Facebook itself taking over My Space leadership. There are countless examples. The fact Facebook is in the social world today what Microsoft was in the personal computing space during the 1990’s , doesn’t guarantee its position at the top. The company has been facing on-going criticism on how it manages its users’ privacy, and that’s where Google+ is betting its chips.
But before you consider migrating your networks to a new solution, let’s consider some important facts:
Social network doesn’t work without a network: Google’s controlled release approach may backfire. It’ll be difficult to reach critical mass if the majority can’t actually join it. This will likely give time to its competition to catch up with some of the innovative capabilities offered by Google+.
Privacy has been less of a concern than previously estimated: most of the younger generations are less concerned about their privacy. This may come back to haunt them when applying for a job or looking for a stable relationship. However, since this may be the new norm, people are likely to be more forgiven to things they know happened in the past. And who has never done anything wrong and could judge other people anyway. The fact they were able to hide doesn’t make than better, just sneakier. This openness will actually be very helpful raising serious red flags.
There is some benefit keeping your professional network in a completely separate solution than your personal network: Google+ assumes there is a lot of value aggregating all your networks into a single place. But professional and personal networks have different demands. When someone tries to deliver everything, usually doesn’t do any of them with the highest quality. I always tell my wife “do not trust a pizzeria that also has steak, sushi or even pasta”. The best pizzerias I ever ate at made pizza exclusively (by now you guessed I love pizza). So there is benefit having LinkeIn specializing on your professional networking requirements and Facebook on your personal ones.
Moving one’s networks is a hard labor. Specially if you took it very seriously when creating it. I’m yet to see a compelling reason why one should and I bet Facebook is already working to catch up. Now, playing catch up is not a position a leader wants to be. So it better take innovation and user requirements seriously. Because if by the end of the day my networks move somewhere else, I can guarantee I’ll move as well. As I said before, there is no network of 1.
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