Remember the first car you owned? Not your parents’ car – yours. You really got comfortable and learned to drive in that car. That’s the way Twitter was to a large group of influencers in social media. These folks are playing with and to some extent impressed with Google+, but the reasons Twitter will remain relevant will come back to several key factors.
Twitter has been the social network that the users with the most influence use [research]. Twitter IS that car that many of us learned to “drive” in social media. Its far reaching impact gave us a much better way to listen and share our voice in the SocialSphere. For the past two weeks, we long-time Twitter users have been time-balancing Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and to some extent, LinkedIn as our primary social networks to determine which works best for us.
Google+ has grown to more than 10 million users in some two weeks. It is expected to grow another 10 million in the next two. It has launched with robust people-connecting features and a rich mobile application. The mobile app is unusually mature for new software and works well on smart phones and tablets.
When college students head back to school this fall, I believe early adopters in that population will be spreading the easy-to-use benefits of Google+. They will use it for everything from study sessions on mobile devices to planning where to meet in five minutes. They will leverage the new phones with cameras on both sides of the camera. Simply, it will enable a new level of connectivity and catch fire by this January after winter break. It may be uncomfortable for new users, so Google+ will be the network that their parents are NOT using. Mom and Dad will be on Facebook, where they will video chat and the world will still be a good place.
Twitter, meanwhile, will be like the beach the week after the September Labor Day holiday – quiet. In fact, our busy Twitter streams will quiet down and it will be easier to leverage the strengths of Twitter: more ideas per minute in short 140-character bursts, frequently focused by topic with the help of tools like Hootsuite and Seesmic.
Relevant content and ease of use are the two biggest drivers in social networking. Facebook’s drop-dead easy interface keeps relevant content easily accessible, and will keep Facebook as the mainstream network. Google+ crosses different devices with ease and is made for those who live on their phone. As Google+ grows relevant business features, expect LinkedIn to be most at risk – but not without a fight. As for Twitter, its gentle complexity requires an investment of time to identify and generate relevant content. That is what deters many users: They don’t know how to find the relevant content. That is much easier to do on every other social network.
With 98 percent of all U.S. Internet users under the age of 50 using social networks and strong numbers around the world, there is no shortage of people to use these networks. There is no lack of monetization ideas. It comes down to what will give you/your business the results it needs, and that’s where you will go.
If it didn’t work this way, we’d all still be on AOL.