Google+ Is Sooooooooo NOT Dead!
In it he writes “The real test of Google’s social network is what people do after they join. As far as anyone can tell, they aren’t doing a whole lot.” He says he is “surprised” at how dreary it has become.
Farhad doesn’t seem to have spent much time on Google+ recently. His last post about baby products was on August 22nd.
My experience has been the *EXACT* opposite. My experience (as an active daily user) is that Google+ is not only NOT dead, it is alive and thriving! It is the most exciting social network I’ve ever been a part of.
In response to Farhad’s article, I wanted to highlight some of my own personal experiences to point out what I’d call a raging social success for me.
Note that much of my experience revolves around the photography space on Google+. I’m a photographer and so that’s where my interest is. I can’t vouch for the baby product crowd (although Farood did get 45 comments on his baby product post which sort of feels like alot).
Let’s start with circles. Farhad says that Google has failed at keeping people returning to the site. Here was my last posting of my kick ass photographers circle on Google+. I had to publish it in two parts because there were soooooo many. Here are 1,000 active photographers, many posting to Google+ every single day. These photographers are posting *KICK ASS* photos constantly and getting tons of engagement. If Google+ is dead, somebody sure forgot to tell these folks.
There are wayyyyy more than these folks in the photography community though — in fact I feel bad about my circles because I’ve overlooked so many other kick ass photographers that are just as active on the site. There’s so many great phototgraphers posting it’s hard to keep up!
Photography is THRIVING on Google+ right now, moreso than any place else on the web — more than Flickr, more than Facebook, more than Twitter — absolutely thriving.
Now how about debate and engagement? The other day my friend +Trey Ratcliff posted a post about why he doesn’t use watermarks on his photos. That post got over 1,800 +1s, 588 reshares, and as of this post 443 comments. 443 COMMENTS! That’s even more comments than Farhad got on a major news site like Slate writing an inflamatory article with the title “Google+ is Dead.”
How is it that a raging debate about watermarking 443 comments long is taking place on a dead site? Hell, even +Maria Bartiromo +1’d that sexy thing.
Just today I’m currently having a debate with the focus police on one of my photos (alot of people don’t like my out of focus stuff) that is moving by the minute.
Forget about the big picture stuff though, what about the little more personal and private stuff. I spent a few years on Flickr interacting with tons of people — but with many of them I never got to really meet or talk to them face to face, until Google Hangouts that is.
Now I’m having video chat conversations with friends all over the world, a bunch of people jumping into a room on any given night and talking about things like shaving sheep or photography or photo safari trips, or censorship, or any number of things, they’re great!
Did I mention a group of us are going to Death Valley? That’s right. So far 45 photographers are planning to take over the town of Beatty IN REAL LIFE! People are coming in from all over the U.S., hell in +Ricardo Liberato’s case all over the world, to get together and make amazing art in one of the most dramatic and beautiful settings in the world. How is this happening, yep, all on the dead ol’ place Google+.
And while my account on Google+ is a popular one, this does not explain why it is so vibrant and alive to so many others. I keep seeing post after post after post from photographers (many less popular than me) who are posting less and less at places like Flickr and Facebook and more and more at Google+. It’s a huge groundswell of a movement.
So do I think Google+ is dead? No. Far from it. To the contrary Google+ is alive and thriving and growing and getting better and better and better every day.
At the same time I’m confident in Google’s ability to continue pushing the successful site forward. The money that Google is spending on Google+, the rapid innovation, the interaction with the community by Googlers themselves, the ability to cross promote Google+ to other successful properties (just imagine when they turn the promotion machine on with YouTube!), the ability to integrate Google+ into search and the importance it will play for anyone who cares about SEO, there are so many reasons why Google+ will be successful in the long run.
In the meantime, for those of us who are there today, it is an engaging dynamic playground and it’s where some of the best emerging artists on the internet are choosing to publish their best work.
I don’t think Farhad has given Google+ a fair chance. I also don’t think he’s playing in the same playground that I’m playing in right now, because for me (and thousands of other active daily photographers) Google+ is very much vibrant, alive and thriving.
If you are not already on Google+ don’t listen to naysayers like Farhad — come on over, the water’s warm, the beer is cold, and they have the best damn oysters on the half shell that you’ve ever had in your life!
Update: Another interesting take by the New York Times titled “Google+ Isn’t Going Away,” talks about how important Google+ is to Google as simply another layer to integrate into their search service.
“Detractors don’t realize one very important point: Google does not see Google+ as a separate product; to the company, Google+ is the product.
Sure, Google hopes to build a social network that competes with Facebook, Twitter and other social services, but that is not the main reason the company has put so many resources behind Google+. Instead, Google+ is a social layer that has always been intended to sit on top of the company’s flagship product: search.”