Jul 22, 2011

Google Plus - Wrongly Designed Social Network ?

Whisky & Buttermilk are individually great.. But most sane people won't make a cocktail mixing two.. And you won't drink buttermilk by pouring it in a whisky glass...  And I think this Google plus is like a platform where they have attempted to bring two different social needs together.

Fundamentally, facebook is about connecting to people whom you know.. Engaging in conversations where you expect people whom you know to reply..  On the other hand, twitter is aspirational to the core. You tend to follow celebrities, politicians, sports-persons etc..  What google plus has attempted to do is to bring these two fundamentally different social needs together... In a way, your public circle in google plus is equivalent to your twitter network.. And the other circles that you make are more or less your facebook networks.

The tweets that you make are likely to be much different in nature from your facebook status message updates.. And vice versa as well..   However, when you try to do both of that on a single platform like Google plus, no matter how segregated or maintained your circles are, there is a strong disconnect between what user intends & what the platform delivers..  Think what will happen if someone makes a social network combining facebook & linkedin ..  Conceptually, your linkedin contacts could yet be another circle, but as an end-user, if you go to a platform where your professional news/ updates comes mixed up with your facebook updates, i think the experience is lost..

The fundamental mistake that google has done is to equate every social need that one has, into this concept called circles.. While, mathematically or conceptually this may work very well, there are elements of these social needs that one cannot really mix & match.. Imagine, will you get into a restaurant without knowing whether it'll provide Indian / Chinese / Arabian food ?

While opening facebook page, one has a certain expectation about the content that he/she may see.. Same with twitter / linked in..  And that core expectation that the end-user has, is fundamental to the success of a social network.. I would say, Google plus has failed in setting / defining /segregating that expectation

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