by Gray Graham
I actually wrote this article a few years ago but never got around to posting it. At the time a bigger story would always come up so I would write about that instead. It never seemed to be the right time to share it because my followers were not interested in Google+ so we talked about other things that more important to them.
See I have been on Google+ since the beginning. I was there before it was public. There were only a certain group of people on the site at the time. My invite came from a politician friend of mine. It was a place that felt like it was for society’s elites and intellectuals. A place where you would go for engaging intelligent, conversations on important topics something it still excels at compared to other social networks.
Years later , the average person still doesn’t know Google+ exists. It has more active users than Twitter and Linkedin but you only read about how it is a ghost town. Even after President Obama’s Hangout with the public that dominated a news cycle, the average person still does know what Google+ is.
Google+ never appealed to tech writers or the general public and that is what makes it so appealing to so many of its users. For many users of Google+, it is the only social media platform that they use. They don't use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Pinterest, or Twitter, they only use Google+.
It should then come as no surprise that many people believe Google has raised the white flag on the platform as they prepare for the end. Although Google still says that they are committed to Plus, they have continue to move core apps such as Photos into standalone apps completely separate from Google+.
It is worth noting that Facebook has done the same thing without the prophecies of gloom and doom that Google+ has hanging over it but like I said before, tech writers like Facebook, they don't like Google+.
So why don't tech writers like Google+? The answer is actually quite simple, Google+ users are smart. In fact, on average they are smarter than tech writers. So when a tech writer puts a story out there it has to be rock solid or else it is going to be ripped to shreds.
If you make your living being smarter than the average Jane, you are not going to take too kindly to being shown up in front of your followers. Instead of engaging with the doubting Thomases, writers just leave and then write how no one is on G+. It was a good strategy because it actually worked.
Second problem for Google+ is that its users don't do a lot of hero worshiping. They do worship people but it is none of the celebrities and public figures you see elsewhere. Most people on Google+ don't care if Taylor and Nicki have a beef. They would block both of them and then talk about how GMO's are going to destroy life on Earth.
Social media is about being social and most people on Google+ are not social, at least not in the ways most people are social. There was a saying at the beginning that Google+ is not the place that you go to interact with the people you know, but the place you go to interact with people with similar interests.
Google themselves just confirmed this with a new design that focuses on Collections, which are special interests. So instead of showing you posts from the people you know, Google+ now focuses on the topics you care about the most. People think of socializing as hanging out with family and friends not talking to people about specific topics and nothing else.
G+ has always been built on the concept of filtering out “noise” that you do not want to hear. Over the years I have gotten a lot of angry messages because I posted something that was outside of whatever circle the person placed me.
Since Google+ never caught on with the general public it never got any mind-share in the public conscience. Your grandmother knows what Facebook is. The average person doesn't even know what Google+ is a thing. The name Google+ doesn't even tell you what it does. This has been pointed out to Google execs many times, but they state they don’t think it makes a difference even though they constantly rename all their products to appeal to the general public.
There are so many people that I have met on Google+ that left the site a long time ago for the greener pastures of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. The failure of Google+ can be summed up in a couple of examples:
Google couldn't get their loyal Youtube and Gmail users to use it instead of Facebook.
When the Super Bowl and World Cup were going on there were more posts about ham sandwiches than about two of the biggest sporting events in the world.
In the past G+ was an awesome platform with an active community of knowledgeable and caring people. Now it is a shell of its former self. Google definitely lost an opportunity with Plus. If you were a business is Google+ where you would want to invest your social media dollars to reach people?