Google+: The party where no one wants to be January 20, 2012Posted by Lynn Christiansen Esquer in Marketing and PR.
Tags: G+, Google, SEO, social media, social network
Whatever social media site you favor most, you at one time heard about it from somewhere, got curious, joined it, learned its in and outs. Probably, if you found this blog via Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you ended up finding your social media of choice useful and/or enjoyable and decided to stay a while.
Social sites have worked because people have wanted to join the party and then stayed. They’ve found social to be cool and fun and full of interesting people posting interesting things.
But now it’s Google’s party, and it’s all very… different. Google’s the overbearing boss at the office holiday party. No one really wants to be there — everyone has places where they’d much rather be — but they can’t get out of the obligatory party and they can’t even leave early or there will be repercussions come Monday morning.
This week, we learned that now Google is forcing adoption of Google+ by automatically creating G+ accounts for people who sign up for Gmail, YouTube, or other Google products. If you think that sounds like the strong-armed tactics of early Google Buzz, you’re right. Chalk another one up for Google’s continuing ugly pattern of favoring dominion over choice.
Now, despite my own personal dissatisfaction with G+ (“Hello? Is this thing on?”), I’ve been recommending G+ business pages to my clients because of its SEO implications. Having to do this already feels forced and a bit icky, and there’s no joy in it. Social media junkie that I am, I have yet to meet more than a handful of people who favor G+ over other social networks. Most people seem to be annoyed that there’s yet another social network vying for time and attention, especially since it’s not, for most people, a very exciting place to be. Very few people I know seem happy to use it, or to use a +1 button. But: they’ll be joined on G+ anyway by millions of more people in the coming months who will have it forced upon them.
Google is changing the web, even though no one wants it to. Its tentacles are everywhere as it uses its position in the market to boost its numbers — by coercion. If you’re a marketer, Google’s tightening grip on both search and social is not something you can afford to ignore — but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good party.