It’s finally here. Google has unleashed their serious entry into the social media market. The initial reaction has been very favorable, and with an estimated 18 million users already signed up and circling their friends, it would appear Google’s latest attempt at being social, unlike their less than spectacular Buzz and Wave projects, is off to a great start.
Of course, this successful social network has many predicting the demise of Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think so. Every new phone that is released is the supposed “iPhone Killer”, and iPhones have been just fine. In fact, I tend to agree with Vincent Wong, who used a photo slideshow to express what he thinks G+ is really about. It’s going to be tied into Google’s other products, like documents, calendars, and YouTube, to make it the ultimate collaborative tool. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, Google+ starts as an information and collaboration tool.
Myspace was built around music and pop culture, and drew users who wanted to rally to their favorite mass media icons. It was high school, where everyone wanted to be at the cool table. Facbook took the social network to college, with much more tightly knit groups of friends. Friends were friends, and like college, it was all about forming your niche community. In the end, however, it came down to who was dating who.
I believe Google+ is the first social network for adults. Mark Cuban described it perfectly here. It’s all about collaboration and information … and ideas. If the other social networks grew to incorporate this concept, Google+ got it right from the beginning. Google+ also embraces a very adult way of organizing your social connections. Google+’s circles allow you to build your own spheres of influence while also allowing you to become a part of the spheres of influence of others.
Google+, with it’s adoption by professionals, has created a culture of sharing. It’s not just a place to sound off about what was on your vegan pizza. It’s a place to share your thoughts with the expectation of engagement. It’s about ideas.
So what role will web video play in all of this?
Google+ has illustrated the importance of web video by integrating it into their Hangout space. Hangouts might be the coolest feature of Google+. It allows up to ten users to video chat with each other at the same time. And built into this is framework is the ability to easily share YouTube videos with your fellow hangers.
If Google+ is about ideas, what better way to share an idea in a very visual and auditory environment — i.e. the Hangout — than with a visual and auditory tool. And of course, like with other social media, you have the ability to easily add web video to your stream. Web Video is only going to grow in importance with Google+.
So what will this mean for the way web video is made? Again, it comes back to ideas. People don’t want to interact with your hard sale. For years, marketing has been about creating problems. You really need a better mousetrap, whether your knew it or not. People don’t want you to share your commercial on Google+. People want you to present an idea, an abstract, or a concept, and they want to take that and make it their own. If that interaction brings them closer to you and your products, mission accomplished.
Web videos must tell stories that introduce ideas. Commercials are things you have to sit through while you’re waiting to get back to the story (unless you have a DVR). People don’t share commercials. People share ideas. And Google+ is the perfect platform for that.
Photo credit: By Armand Galard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons