Things are really moving fast these days. Considering that the wave of social networking started with friendster (which nobody really knows anymore) via MySpace, which at its peak peak in 2008 500 Mio Members and is now all but dead. The talk of the town in social networking is of course Facebook with its now surpassing 750 Mio users and Google+ with its amazing growth rates next to twitter, which I really don’t count as a social media outlet.
Social Media allow companies in food, meat and any other industry to reach out to its customers and end consumers in a much more efficient way. In my view, social media is the ultimate guerilla marketing tool. Social Media allow organizations to create their own media channels and communicate with these media channels for free. I know already quite a few companies, use fun facts, recipe hints and other useful information to create a community. These communities grow closer every day, and allow direct communication with its members serving them with important information that can drive economic success for any organization. Companies that are not using these technologies are leaving out an important communication channel that occupies 23% of users attention on the computer these days.
Google has recognized the fact that it can no longer rely on search to drive growth of its business. To remedy that fact, they recently launched Google+, a new social network that is at this point of course much smaller than facebook, but off to a good start. Using both of them, I must say that Google+ excites me way more than facebook does.
Another ever growing trends inherent to the internet is digital convergence. When we look today at our computer systems and software modules, we no longer really care what they do, we care more about what we can do with them. MS-Outlook for example has been the leading software for contact management and email as long as I can think. Historically it developed as a close client with certain functionality, but in its latest iteration, it provides connectors to social media, so that I can see the contact information from linkedin, can send direct invitations etc. and its functionality has grown beyond its core leveraging the environment people deal with day in and day out. Every software will go down that path, whether we talk ERP Systems, our office suites, our cell phones or even our cameras. Everything is converging on the internet wherever it is useful. Those that look at their product isolated from the rest of the world will die with the generation that is disconnected from the internet.
Of course, right now Facebook is the leading social media network, as was MySpace. It will take some time for Google+ to catch up, and as far as I am concerned, the only leg up that facebook has is in its large number of members. On the technology front, Google+ is just so far superior, that I wonder whether Facebook is able to compete with it. Here are some of the features that I think make Google+ stronger:
- Its geolocation services based on Google Maps are by far superior. geolocation is one of the biggest growth drivers in application development these days.
- Its ‘Circles’ Structure makes it a hybrid between twitter and facebook in one place.
- Its picture and movie platform are much more robust and complete thanks to Picasa and YouTube.
- The analytical capabilities via google analytics will be by far superior once integrated vs. the non-existent web intelligence in facebook. At the end of the day you want to know the effectiveness of your social media as you want this with your traditional media.
- The Overall cloud platform with the seamless integration of Gmail, GoogleDocs and other technologies will make the platform more rich and complete.
- Its ‘hangout’ feature, which rivals already skype capabilities in terms of conference calling.
In my view, the technology is already better without the seamless integration of the entire google stack, not talking about the abilities that are still to come. As a company, I think that google+ will have tremendous opportunities especially for the early adapters to provide a rich and free media platform that is enticing, controllable and fun. Check it out! You may be as excited as I am.