The Social Networking war has just heated up, or has it?
This week, Google opens its ‘invite only’ social networking platform to all. Google Plus has grew fast and claims to better organize friends to send messages to select groups. Personally, I love it! However, my experience lasted for a week in August as my friends were not signed up, yet. Maybe this will be the next best thing to Facebook? I have always loved Google, if you read other posts, yet never thought they stood a chance with Facebook.
With over 800 million users, Facebook is not only unique channel for conversation and social media content…. it has info sharing capabilities, good for business, news groups, and celebrities as well. This has all changed. As I noticed a new homepage, a status update ticker, larger photos, I didn’t perceive it as an advancement or improvement to Facebook. The platform has been a channel, similar to Twitter, but with much more visual and much more inclusive. Facebook has impacted our culture, so much, we check it daily and use it as a supplemental “public forum”. I must note, some use it as therapy, ranting, and an actually reality show :)
At the F8 conference, Facebook announced more changes to come. After reviewing Mark Zuckerberg’s keynotes, I was astonished. He announced that Facebook is heading in a new direction, practically giving Google a chance to establish the social channel we were familiar with. Zuckerberg states, “Facebook is already established as a social network”. This means they are confident users are satisfied and will stay put. This is bold. The Facebook founder also displayed the Timeline, replacing our profile. This inclusive timeline of events include our life, detailed in social connections, posted photos and videos, the Apps we use, and more.
Personally, this is T.M.I. The timeline ends at our place of birth, mapped. It seems to highlight ones life, as if its a perfect one, without some desired erasing of old relationships, bad jobs, or a time of not so flattering photos :P If privacy was an issue before, then this will cause even more discourse. Facebook is focused on self-identity, while sociologically we are in an Era of more people are trying taking longer to identify their passions and learn life. I feel MySpace was great at this, and the new Timeline seems to be similar. I will admit, the Timeline is wonderful display and will compliment any person who has accomplished alot within their life. But who’s perfect? or how will we respond to the social aspect of wanting a perfect timeline, if it’s social impact still holds in our digital culture. Was conversation & relationships the main ingredients to facebook? Or will this self-identity timeline turn us away from sharing our full life as social media?
My other assumption is Facebook’s targeted audience will be compromised. What is their target audience? Probably a younger generation that grew into any and every-one! That is why they are 800 million, which I would assume atleast 40% are either rarely active, fake account, or not actual identified real account/person. However, this still is a powerful number and way pass the competitors. Facebook’s social impact was huge & needed no marketing, as it IS a marketing machine, naturally.
Facebook was easy to use for a 13year old to a 75 year old, but now is more complex and not as visual appealing. Most joined to connect to family, but moreso, connect to long lost friends. Google Plus notices this, and simply uses circles to direct messages to correct friends and family. No more sharing kegstand photos with Aunt Jackie or crazy nightclub photos with the church choir. Maybe we should all be saints? :P
Facebook will be more an email and personal diary, rather than the messages on walls and the recent news feeds with real-time humor from all friends. Now, we will not use this news feed, simply because we will direct messages to certain friends in facebook lists. Google Plus will do the same, but with a few more integrations of all their services and innovation of this type of social platform, it stands to win big. Google’s flaw is advertising and marketing. Yes, I said it, even knowing they are #1 in online advertising, but listen.
Why? Google is everywhere, visible on almost every webpage. This is not marketing, but merely advertising to a large number base. No matter how creative their Google search homepage looks, they are outside designs and never used to push product. They love being simple, but slowly grow to be the force behind the internet, yet now sharing it with Facebook. Facebook has word of mouth, the most powerful of online marketing, which is like direct selling or targeted numbers. Google is a powerful brand, a popular one, but advertising is described just as real estate ….Location, Location, Location. It may not mean they are great real estate sellers, just have the clever advantage of being where the buyer wants them to be, gaining the sell. Google owns the digital world, so yes we buy ads. They have power in numbers and will greatly let you gain 5,000 impressions on websites for a under $20. This is so appealing, you must take the deal, in return, Google makes billions.
Secondly, Google does not have star power, such as Myspace did. Yet, I am a fan & know they are competent in web technology, plus, they offer free services and open source projects. They are not labeled ‘cool’ or ‘hip’, but more an information service, a developers dream, Gmail, search engine, or merely nerds of web technology. They will need celebrities and to become a desired new trend/fad, when marketing the Google Plus social platform. The invitations were not a good marketing tool, in my opinion. Google will have to show up on TV, promo events, and entertainment or social venues. Is Google cool or just an internet company we know about? There is risk by creating hype over a product, but I feel it is a small risk, to kick it in 2nd gear, to compete with upcoming Facebook. Lets go, Google! :P
Marketing has transformed into a media channel, a showcase of benefits, or a entertaining seduction to buy! lol They must not state they have a new product, but present it as the next best thing or actually competes with Facebook. While Facebook measures the backlash of these changes, Google has a chance …that probably wasn’t fully known until the f8 conference. Not only Google, but many other startups even have a shot to chase the leaders with a more flexible, viral marketing strategy.
As I state Facebook changes as a bad decision, they also have strategy to make actual profit from it Facebook is focused on Apps, which are hot sellers for mobile devices and good for future of web technology. They stand a chance to connect users to business, such as NetFlix inside facebook. This could be the best business model by a web giant, yet their ‘bread and butter’ is turning into Honey Butter spread (US joke). I don’t know if everyone loves Honey Butter, but some will really enjoy it.
Elucid Marketing will update changes as it progresses. We have already signed up for the new Timeline effective September 30th 2011. Our fanpage is here. Find us on Google Plus at Bernard Thomas for Elucid Marketing. More video and info is listed below.
Try out the new Facebook Timeline: http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline
Go try out the Google Plus platform:
Search our site for description of this Google Plus platform, it’s promising :)