Google+: Solving a problem for the wrong customer

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

As Fred Wilson explains (and I agree) there is a 1/10/89 rule on any social media platform – “1% will create the content, 10% will curate the content, and the other [89%] will simply consume it.”

The 1%

The 1% are a unique breed.  They are extreme extroverts (at least online, if not offline).  They love being the first person to tell you about a new product they found.  And they love the fact that they create most of the content on a social platform.  Finding and sharing the most interesting story, picture, life moment, etc. has a gaming element to it that the 1% love!

The 10%

The word to describe the 10% is “connectors.”  They love getting unique data and bringing it to the masses.  The 10% also are extroverts (online, if not offline as well).

The 89%

The 89% love to consume information, but never create it and rarely pass it on.  A common phrase you might hear from an 89%’er is “why would I share that about myself online?”  So whatever they do pass on to friends has to go through that lens.  Daily deals pass that lens, but where I am currently eating or pictures of my party do not.  However, the lens with which an 89%’er filters creating content does not hold for viewing content.  The 89% enjoy looking at other people’s lives online.  At least a big chunk of them do, whether they will admit it or not.

Google+ is based on a flawed premise

Let me start by saying that I love Google.  I really respect them.  I have a lot of friends that work/have worked there.  I use a lot of their products.  Google consistently puts out great products because they have insanely talented people and they have a great product development process.  All of these reasons leave me dumbfounded at how poorly they have executed Google+.

I know it might seem like I am picking on Google+.  I recently wrote about how Google is growing the product in the wrong manner.  I don’t mean to bash Google or Google+.  But I just can’t understand how such a great company can get this big initiative so wrong.

When Google launched their social network, the fundamental premise was people want to communicate to smaller groups online, because that is what they do offline.  So Google created a circle mechanism, which allows users to create groups of relationships and then publish specific content to specific groups.  Makes sense because this is what most people do offline.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that is not how people share online.  The circle model is exactly the opposite of what the 1% want.  It couldn’t be a more wrong approach for the 1% if it tried.  The 1% want megaphones, which is why they love Twitter.  The 1%’er often has a large Twitter follower base.  The facebook profile of a 1%’er has thousands of “friends”, which really takes a liberal view of the word.

And if you don’t have the 1%, then you have a hard time getting the 10% (eg the connectors).  Because if there is no content, then there is nothing to connect.  And without connectors, the 89%’ers have nothing to consume.

Google+ is a product built for the 89%.  For the people who want smaller networks of people to share their life with.  But these people don’t go first, and rarely create/share personal content online.

If someone from Google reads this, I would love them to tell me where I am wrong.  I really like and respect Google.  And would love to understand Google+ better.

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