Since the launch of Google Buzz, there has been a seemingly endless amount of chatter about the things that are wrong with it. Privacy concerns and other gripes have kind of taken center stage, even though Buzz usage was impressive pretty much right out of the box. Still, to truly get to mainstream usage, people are going to have to understand it (people finally seem to be getting there with Twitter), and that is presumably why Google has been going out of its way to educate people about how to use it.
Google has been offering tips for using Buzz more effectively. Last week, they offered the following five:
1. Format your posts
2. View a summary of you own Buzz activity
3. Use an @reply to send a post directly to someone's inbox
4. Try keyboard shortcuts to fly through buzz
5. Mute posts so they don't get sent to your inbox.
1. Post by Email
2. Prevent your boring chat status messages from being posted to Buzz
3. Look for the yellow line to see what's new.
4. Link to a post
5. Follow the Buzz team in Google Buzz.
Frankly, Google could probably be doing more to promote Buzz usage, and get people engaged more. The aforementioned tips certainly must be aimed at doing so, but how many Gmail users regularly keep up with the Gmail blog, where these tips were shared? Google Buzz is a separate product, and eventually may even be usable without a Gmail account, yet Google Buzz doesn't have its own blog (like most other Google products do).
On the other hand, the tips listed above almost feel like a handbook, and while they are definitely helpful to know for anyone looking to become a better "buzzer", you have to wonder how many people want to be told how to use it. Twitter users have often expressed pride in the way they contributed to the evolution of the service. In fact, Twitter itself has expressed pride in this concept.
For example, the @reply was not something Twitter conceived of itself. It came from uers. Now even Facebook and Google Buzz use it. With Twitter, hashtags were born from users, and now they have been incorporated into Twitter's own interface. Buzz seems to be a bit more driven from the company down.
This may be a key element to monitor along with the success of the service itself. Buzz has the potential to become huge, but if it flops like other Google-born social media projects have done in the past, this might be one of those things that people point to when assessing what went wrong.
For now, however, Google has high hopes for Buzz, and the industry seems to have taken to it (there are Buzz buttons everywhere you look)., regardless of the criticisms it has endured since launch. Google has been pretty open about responding to these criticisms, so that may also play a role in the service's future.
For further reading on how to use Buzz, Google's Rick Klau recently offered some advice on how to use it for monitoring.