Over the last several days, it has been an interesting distraction to watch the catfight between Google+ and Twitter following the launch of Search plus Your World.
I’ve been on Google+ since last August when it was launched by invitation but, while I have had a presence on the network it has amounted to very little more. I have a total of 15 or so people in my circles, have been added to the circles of about half a dozen others, and have posted exactly 7 times.
I have not really thought about what to do with it and, if I’m honest, have probably been like many other people, wishing it would just disappear and give us all one less new venue to get our heads around.
However, if I’m equally honest, I know it’s not going to go away and that I’m delaying the inevitable. Over 70 million people have signed up for it at the time of writing, it is adding well over half a million people every day according to TechOtalk and is forecast to be well over 80 million by the end of January.
In short, sometime early in Q2 2012, it’s going to pass Twitter. I’d say that equates to some pretty serious credibility, not to mention critical mass. Twitter, understandably, is somewhat concerned about this and with the launch of Search plus Your World has had the perfect opportunity to make its concerns public.
So, we know that Google+ is growing and that the competition are in a flap and that’s all fascinating, but what exactly do I do with it?
My initial decision was to focus on building a network for my consulting business, while leaving all the more personal social stuff on Facebook, but does that really work? I always tell small business clients who are looking to get into social media that, as well as defining a strategy for why they want to be there, one of the first things to do is to start a personal page and start playing around with it a bit. Otherwise it’s a bit like buying a piano without knowing how to play it – something of a vanity investment that will ultimately prove frustrating as it sits in the corner, causing you untold embarrassment when friends ask you to play something.
Fortunately, Santa brought me a copy of Chris Brogan’s ‘Google+ for Business’, and I’ve been ploughing through it for the last several days, buoyed up by his early assertion that “joining another social network is about as exciting as asking for 200 more emails a day” – we are clearly of the same mindset.
However, unless Google falls foul of anti-trust laws at some point in 2012, it seems clear that the launch of Search plus Your World is a reminder that the starting gun has already been fired and the race leaders are already rounding the first turn.
Much as I would love to, I can’t ignore it any longer. Time for some piano practice, so those of you within earshot might want to plug your ears for a few days….