They Might Be Giants were right.
Ever look at something that is apparently empirically true, yet still shake your head in disbelief. That’s me – this morning – looking at this article.
I was one of the naysayers when it came to Google+. I didn’t understand the value of the network. I felt like it was too closed off within the Google offerings. But mostly, I didn’t see any reason for mass defections to it from other social networks. What I didn’t realize was that defections apparently weren’t necessary for Google+ to catch on.
According to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ article on ZDNet, Google+ is “cannibalizing smaller, local social networks.” Are there really that many – even in the aggregate – that could explain this kind of growth? Maybe. But I’m working off another theory.
I don’t have the data to back this up – but I believe that Google+ is becoming the choice of Millennials. Though contrary to articles like this just a few years ago, Google+ has seemed to catch on with the younger crowd. Anecdotal evidence I’ve been able to gather is that these younger social network mavens see something in Google+ that older users have missed. How can this be? I have related theory.
Your Grandma is on Facebook.
That’s right, Chloë. And she sees the party photos and the relationship musings on your timeline. And now you see her posts about canasta and red velvet cake recipes. Suddenly, Facebook is just not as cool as it used to be.
And it was cool! In fact, Facebook was described to be about 10 years ago by a much younger co-worker as “MySpace…only cool!” That’s when I knew MySpace (at least V.1) was done.
The fact that the other behemoths of the social media world are not suffering from Google+’s good fortune probably means that Chloë is not ditching Facebook. At least not yet. But the online activity that means the most to her is shifting to Google+. The fact that it integrates with her Gmail so effortlessly is a nice bonus, too.
The patterns of growth and shrinkage in social networks will be fascinating to watch over the next few years. Just don’t trust my prognostications about it. I thought Quora was the next big thing and MySpace was dead.
And now this blog is over now…this blog is over now.