On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece that compared the popularity of Google Plus with that of Facebook. Despite the "apples vs oranges" nature of that comparison, the WSJ said that Google Plus is a "virtual ghost town" compared to Facebook. They referenced figures from comScore that said that Plus users spent an average of three minutes a month on Google Plus between September and January, versus six or seven hours per month on Facebook.
Do you use Google Plus? Tell us in the comments.
Those numbers need to be questioned. I have no doubt that they are accurate, strictly speaking. But, do they offer any explanation as to why that would be the case?
For example, when Google Plus launched, did you hop on initially, set up a few circles? Did you establish a presence there and check it out for a bit, then go back to where you were? Lots of people I know did that. I did that for a while. It was different from Facebook, and more importantly, it was a different paradigm from Facebook. It wasn't like moving from Myspace to Facebook, where the idea was basically the same, just some minor differences. Google Plus is a wrench; Facebook is a hammer.
But, despite how many folks have let their Google Plus accounts lie fallow, were they averaged in to comScore's numbers? You know what happens when you average a big zero in with other numbers. All that proves is that some people who have Plus don't use it right now. That isn't all that surprising, nor is it even worrisome. They still have Gmail. they still use Google Docs, Search, etc. When they have a reason to use Plus it will be right there waiting for them.
Do you use Gmail, Docs, Voice or other Google products? How do they help your business? Tell us about it.
Google Plus is not a ghost town. It is a city still being built. When Myspace first started, it took people quite a while to get it cranking, set up their pages, etc. When Facebook opened up to the general public, people were already primed for social networking. They just wanted a "grown-up" way to do it.
But, there have been lots of complaints about Facebook. Trouble is, people are so invested in it, they don't like the idea of "moving to Google Plus".
Google Plus is not another Facebook any more than Twitter is. It is a different tool altogether. I don't even use Google Plus to keep up with my Facebook friends at all.
Of course, it is true that Google has killed off projects that did not fly as they had hoped in the past. Anyone remember Google Answers? Google Lively? Or, more recently, Google Buzz? But, it does not look like Google is putting Plus out to pasture anytime soon. Recently, they expanded the Circles concept into Google Voice.
Plus is a great idea. Facebook even folded some of the best of Plus into their product once they saw the popularity of the concepts. Facebook's "lists" are very much like Plus's Circles.
Do you think Facebook is useful for business purposes? Do you use it? Tell us in the comments.
So, don't look for Plus to go away anytime soon. It'll be there when you're ready for it. In fact, go dust it off now. Ask yourself: how could this help me in my work? My hobbies? Did you know that, now that people can share Circles, you could be minutes away from having contact with hundreds of people who have the same hobbies, businesses, interests you do?
See what you've been missing. And, you can keep Facebook, too.