How Many +1’s Does It Take To Screw In a Social Network?

Alright, let’s start off with where this article came from:

Jeremy BlantonJeremy Blanton – @jb140
RT @respres: “a social network isn’t a product; it’s a place”

I caught Jeremy’s RT of Jeff’s post a couple days ago, but I was out in Vegas for PubCon so my attention span was running a little short. But I read the linked article, and I knew I had to dish out a response. First off – I want to make it totally clear that I’m not a Google+ apologist. I’m not sitting around on Google+ waiting for new comments or likes. But to the same vein I’ve almost entirely stopped participating on Facebook too. I’m working on Dashter – I’m living in Twitter – things are good. Conversations abound (especially when you’ve got the right tools).

But this article (written by Farhad Manjoo @fmanjoo) just seemed so far off base I had to whip up a rebuttal – or at least a pragmatic alternative to the doomsday prediction he provided in his article.

What initially caught my attention to the line that Jeff quoted in his tweet was a strong disagreement that his premise is correct. Social Networks are places in as much as any website is a place. But social networking isn’t a place – it’s a process. It’s a verb. And because of that – the place is less important than the process provided.

Is Google+ A Dead Man Walking? Continue reading How Many +1’s Does It Take To Screw In a Social Network?

Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan – @dannysullivan
posted late yesterday, How Being “Friends” On Google+ Leads To Better Rankings – this surprised me.

Danny Sullivan’s article here stoked some interesting questions about Google’s search results – questions I’ve had for a couple weeks now, after experiencing “social search” modifications to my search results. My initial reaction was blase – so my search results would be tweaked based upon what my friends, followers, and social connections have marked. No big deal.

But the more I think about this, the more I think this is a HUGE deal. I think Google may be playing with their entire brand & business.

Think about this: Google has spent virtually their entire existence reinforcing the concept that they’re the information portal. Continue reading Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Google Plus Circles Visualized

Just playing around today, trying to better visualize Google Plus’ circles-based sharing mechanisms.

I’m still on the fence about how sustainable Google+’s circles will be in the long run. I’m comfortable with thinking that Dunbar’s number applies for individual one-to-one relationships, but how effective are we at managing groups of relationships? Paul Adams’ (@Padday) slideshare is one of the most traveled examinations of complex real-life social networks, and has been referenced by a ton of other sites when Google+ launched (not surprising since Paul is an ex-Google Facebook-er, and ergo as close to an expert on this stuff as it comes).

View more documents from Paul Adams
But more to the point – are “circles” effective and sustainable? Dunbar’s number assumes that we can manage 150 independent relationships, but how many simultaneous groups can we hold together? My guess is that the number is something on the order of 4-6.

Why do I say that? Total speculation – but let’s think about most peoples’ lives. We typically associate with only a handful of active groups at any given time. I’d guess that for most folks, those groups would be: Continue reading Google Plus Circles Visualized

Google Plus is …

I was going to write a pithy title for the article, and to kick it off I wrote “Google Plus is” and sat for a moment to let my brain figure out what was next. Turns out, it’s exactly what I wanted to say.

In case you were on a non-wifi airplane for the last 48 hours, yes, Google has a social network. It’s called Google+, which I think says a lot.

Google Plus is an all out effort. This ain’t Orkut. This ain’t Wave. This is GOOGLE with a freaking ‘+’ sign next to it. They’re aligning this effort at their core brand. If they botch this up, it’ll be a lot more difficult to admit failure and walk away.

Google Plus is missing the “Beta” tag. I’m just saying, I think my gMail account still comes with a Beta tag. Those guys love that tag. From a design perspective, maybe they’ve given up on labeling things as “Beta” and have just finally gotten enough people to believe the mantra: A Google product is never, ever finished. Continue reading Google Plus is …