If you’ve ever seen the movie Zoolander, you know that there aren’t too many profound moments in the film. However, sometimes events in life can make silly things seem profound. Case in point – my observations on how Google Plus is being adopted by the masses.
So in the movie Zoolander (scooting back a bit), Derek Zoolander, played by Ben Stiller, has been at the top of the male modeling industry for years. One of his big claims to fame is all of his “looks.” In fact, he even makes a calendar that features each of his looks. Of course, each look is just the same facial expression, and all the facial expression consists of is slightly pursed lips and a look that tries to be seductive. Nobody seems to notice this, though, until the very end, when villain Mugatu (played by Will Ferrell) says something along the lines of, “Oh my God! Does no one see that he just has one look? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
That sense of exasperation is how I am feeling about Google+ right now.
People have said that Google+ is a Facebook killer, an email killer, or a Twitter killer. To me, having talked about engagement for the last million years, Google+ is best poised to destroy all of the remnants of the idea of engaging online to grow your business.
I know, that’s kind of a sharp claim, so let me delineate some things, and then you can feel free to point me in the right direction 🙂
1. Wasn’t everyone talking about how they couldn’t get work done because they had to try to get their email inbox to 0? I currently have 45 email messages just related to Google+ and because it’s gmail, each email consists of 3-4 chained messages, so really I probably have closer to 200 emails just related to Google+. I’m sure I could go in and turn off all of the email notifications like I have to do on Facebook periodically, but guess what? I don’t get paid to do that either.
2. Wasn’t everyone talking about how they can’t really engage properly on Facebook or Twitter because there’s too much noise? I thought I had heard this from a couple of people at least, but I must have been hallucinating because, well, everyone is adding everyone on Google+. Sure, there are circles, and a lot of people are getting very inventive in how they sort people out (of course, you can also choose to post your info to all of your 15 circles separately if you want..hello noise), but who has the time to do all of that?
3. I feel certain a few people were saying that they weren’t successfully growing their businesses online because they were networking on a social basis rather than with potential prospects and existing customers. In the frenzy to get connected and/or invited, are your first circles things called “people I want to meet with at xyz show” or are your first circles for friends, family, and Twitter buds?
4. I must have been dreaming when I read a zillion blog posts with titles like, “Help, I have too many people in my online community.” There doesn’t seem to be any filtering process (other than time-consuming circles) going on right now. In fact, I’ve seen a few people just importing their Facebook databases (where they complain about having too many people to network with) into their Google+ world. Now they have to talk to all of those folks in 2 places. Thwah?
5. Oh, OK. Google+ is the ONLY thing you can use for business. I’m really scratching my head about this one. I mean, people said Facebook and Twitter were negating the need for things like marketing, email, advertising, breathing, and most other things. Now, after a week, it’s Google+ that will be the savior of all people trying to build businesses online. See above for my concerns on this one.
6. Um, hi. Like, totally peek-a-boo. A lot of people are saying that things like the Google “hangouts” (video chats) are the next great thing for businesses. It’ll replace GoToMeeting. It’ll replace Adobe Connect. It’ll replace Facebook chat before it even gets started, right? I’ve only been on Google+ for a few days but I have some news…I have been able to see when someone is “hanging out” and more than that, who they are “hanging out” with. Now it may be possible to do that stuff privately, but are people looking into that? Do you want to “hang out” with your clients in the open Google+ stream? Do you want to “hang out” when you should be working? These things are on my mind, anyway.
I don’t have anything against Google+ but I’m viewing it as a purely social experiment right now. My great fear is that people who are feeling disenchanted business-wise with Twitter or Facebook are going to throw everything into Google+ and make the exact. same. mistakes. The updates will all be self-promotional or not at all related to business. Profiles will not mention where you work or what you do. Your stream will be filled with pictures of kids instead of pictures that…well, have to do with work.
Is anyone watching this? Are we once again just “socializing” instead of ENGAGING on Google+?
Or is it not that I’m on crazy pills but rather that I’m just plain crazy?
You tell me!
This is post #83 in the Engagement Series. I hope you are enjoying it (still!).
Image by Marek Bernat. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/obyvatel