Those who follow me on Twitter or read this blog have probably guessed by now that I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. The initial idea was a work of genius but over time the site’s evolved into an insidious mess. Adverts and games that spam your friends. An unintuitive interface. Constantly changing privacy settings that seem designed to be confusing. Mystifying groups and pages (does anyone understand the difference?) Plus, if you’re naive enough to “Like” something on the web, waves of marketing updates.
The evolution of a shiny new prime social network is long overdue.
Google+ is the latest challenger. At first glance it seems refreshingly clean and simple. Selective Circles of contacts are definitely a power-up. However Google+ feels like Google’s Facebook. It’s not innovative enough. It’s CDs to MiniDiscs not CDs to MP3s. To get the crowds in there needs to be a real advantage to moving.
Then there’s the thought of putting it all into Google’s basket. If they’re handling my social networking, my diary, my address book, my documents, my check-ins, and my email they know everything there is to know about me and everything about my friends too. It doesn’t matter if only select Circles of people can see only what I let them see. Google can see the lot. That birthdate, mobile phone number, and home address that I so carefully avoid putting out there is now in the hands of the behemoth that is Google. And yours too because you’re in my address book.
In my view, any company hoping to make money through data mining and marketing via a social networking site will invariably fail to build the next big thing. The shiny new social network will be built by a genius seeing a way to significantly change people’s social lives for the better along with a userbase that grabs it with both hands because they recognise an honest revolution.