Paul NyhartcloseAuthor: Paul Nyhart
Name: Paul Nyhart
About: Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.comSee Authors Posts (394)
The internet has recently gotten itself into a frenzy over Google Plus rolling out its new lineup of features and facebook doing a near overhaul of the news feed (again). This all comes a month after of google’s announcement that they were over 25 million active users while nearly that many users were illegally downloading the Social Network on pirate bay.
Compared to Facebook’s 750 million and Twitter’s 100 million users, Google plus is still just the new kid on the block, who has managed to invite some people over for drinks, but haven’t quite gotten them to stay for the whole party.
Much of this is anticipated given the fact that most users hang out on the same social networks as their friends. With roughly 30 times more people on Facebook than google plus, something has to give if google wants to be taken seriously in the social media world.
Social media sites are often compared to being parties i.e. “where people hang out.” If that’s the case, what’s it going to take for Google plus to overtake Facebook and get the people to their party? Most importantly, have the “users” stick around and stay awhile?
1) Make Photo Sharing Matter More
People don’t go to parties because they have nothing else to do (well kind of), they show up so that people know that they were there i.e. they want the status. That’s why facebook invented tags, so that everyone from your mother to your math professor knew that you had friends and you didn’t spend saturday alone.
But facebook has shot itself in its own foot recently, even getting heat from the government for facial recognition software which automatically detects your face so that you can be tagged (and facebook can inevitably expand its network of people towards every crevice of the digitial internet). It’s a little freaky and more importantly, reeks of liability.
Google’s answer is a simple tag feature, that is only visible within your own circle, which is smart. It allows you to target who you want to know you were at the party. It’s like the party that doesn’t try to play music the loudest, but focuses rather on the selection.
There of course is the added benefit of adding a purpose of sharing your photos, other than just to show people you occasionally get out of the house.
Photos that are search engine optimized can draw in a ton of traffic to a site just via the google images feature. If google plus can integrate photos we share into google images, for the marketer or self promoter in all of us, that would enhance the utility of sharing photos on google plus over facebook tremendously. Of course this would have to be “opt-in” a phrase that facebook all but opt’s out of, but that alone could give many users more incentive to share their photos on google plus over facebook.
2) Find a way to make our news feed newsworthy
Facebook was created by nerds that wanted to take over the world (as if there’s any other kind) by creating an incentive to like as many pages as possible and drive traffic to facebook (here’s a link to our facebook page btw). What resulted was a stream of pages, people, and information in our news feed that wasn’t specific to our mood or what we cared about, but more broadly, what we pretended to “like” along the way.
Facebook has tried to have their cake and eat it too, allowing us the option to still like a page but remove it from our stream, and also creating a subscribe function that allocates what information we see from whom, not necessarily who we want to know. That’s like saying you’re invited to the party but you can’t talk to any of the people there. You can overhear the conversations, but don’t think you’re cool enough to speak (unless spoken to).
It’s a far cry from the simple site many of us original Facebookers (a.k.a. college students) grew up on, where our 400 or so friends told us what they were up to and shared the occasional link.
Facebook just recently installed something that tries to combat this, with a feed within a feed, but it looks more like we’re watching CNBC or have no control over what is a top story, what’s worthless, and what’s trending.
Google plus has the perfect opportunity to surpass Facebook in this regard, simply because their interface, i.e. circles, makes more sense. If social networks are indeed like a party, than conceptually we understand the idea of what circle we want to hang out in based on “which party we want to attend”, instead of showing up at the Quarterbacks house and having to sift our way through the jocks until we find the basement where the SNES is.
Google Plus’s circles is the same model that the social network Path took with their site, Path just didn’t identify circles or have the world’s biggest search engine behind them (it is an innovative site for strictly photo sharing however).
Here’s google’s chance to use its search engines and its filtering capacity to its advantage, espceially now that Facebook is seemingly confusing itself once again.
You can tip your hat to Facebook for being arguably the first site on the face of the planet to offer advertisers specific and targeted information on their users based on their “interests,” but those interests are in part predicated on the pages a user has “liked”, a loose metric as identified above.
Google wrote the playbook on pay per click advertising, Facebook ran a few plays of their own, but for the most part, the form of advertising is still far too costly for the common user (it works great for drug companies and Coca-Cola however).
Facebook charges the advertiser a cover for every person that clicks on their banner, but there’s no guarantee that’s going to convert into anything.
People use social networks because they want to guarantee a connection, they want to know that their stuff is going to be seen. Why not give the USER the ability to advertise their content, not just the people running “pages”? What if you could bypass all the hassle of starting your own page, buying or recruiting fans, just so your stuff could possibly show up in their feed? What if you just had one or two pieces of content to broadcast every other month, or just one awesome photo you wanted to make sure got into the stream of people that were already searching such topics (based on their google history)?
What if google gave your content a boost? You ever heard of buzzfeed? That’s exactly what they do. In the grand tradition of the internet, google plus could borrow a page out of their book, or digg, reddit, stumbleupon, any other site that allows you to promote content–this time its within an environment defined by the WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL AND ACCURATE SEARCH ENGINE.
You can say it’s selling out, but tell that to WebMd who sponsors stories, or any of the above mentioned sites for that matter. It’s still organic, it just gives the little guy a chance. It’s like a fraternity that lets you buy your friends, except your friends just happen to like you (they just wouldn’t have met you anyway).
Google Plus is still very new, so new that it just went out of “test mode” and is open to the public. Facebook has ruled many people’s viewing habits for the past decade or so, but there’s no rule that has to be set in stone forever. If there’s anyone that could de-throne them it would be Google. The above steps would certainly be a good place to start.
Post By Paul Nyhart (394 Posts)
Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.com
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