Google+ has been quite the talk of the social-sphere this week and according to some (or at least those on Google+) it’s the fastest growing social network ever with 4.5 million users as of today and some projecting 7 million tomorrow. Heck, it’s easy to sign up, just get an invite to a friend sent to your GMail account (which everyone in the universe appears to have) and then click “OK”. Easy right? But while the numbers are impressive, a successful, ongoing social network isn’t about signups, it’s about engagements.
When I published a tweet and a Facebook post letting my friends know that I could invite them, I got a lot requests for invites which allowed me to build my circles, post and read some status updates, and check out the Hangouts. With these features, Google plus has done a pretty good job capturing the eye of the social media analysts and the tech community. However, while Google+ does have a lot of the key ingredients for a successful social networking site, it is missing something that I consider to be a critical ingredient.
Now before you jump to the conclusion that all my contacts, friends and followers are men causing my judgement to be biased, here are some stats about my friends and connections on Facebook and LinkedIn:
|119 (49%)||241 (51%)|
|309 (58%)||220 (42%)|
Since there’s no good way to get demographics of my followers on Twitter (and I’m not going to count them manually), let’s just assume that it probably falls right around the same 50/50 split. My point is, I’m pretty gender-neutral when it comes to my social connections, so my Google+ connections should be right in-line. Right?
With Google+, though, my mix is a bit out of whack. Out of 72 connections so far, 47 are men (65%) and 25 in my circles are women (35%) and the folks adding me to their circles are primarily men. Now, don’t get me wrong…women have been invited to this party. When I counted the number of people that I could “Find and Invite” (other than those in my address book), I found that of the 383 total folks Google recommended, 191 were men (49%) and 192 were women (51%). Hmmm…it almost seems as though Google has an algorithm that makes sure the recommendations are boy-girl-boy-girl
The big difference, however, is that in my stream, only the men seem to be talking. My stream is filled with tech geeks, social media analysts, friends, and family all posting articles, sharing videos, and re-sharing animated images showing just how Google+ is going to knock Facebook down. In fact, looking at today’s stream of people in all my circles, only 3 women started conversations, and the other 59 conversations were started by men. That’s a not just a bit out of balance, that’s fully out-of-whack!
So…before we declare Google+ a “Facebook Killer”, just because lots of people are activating their accounts, let’s think about what Google+ has to accomplish before there is any mass-exodus from Facebook:
1) Get the girls – Facebook is entertainment and women love a good soap opera. Facebook is all about he-said, she-said, reconnecting with long-lost friends, and posting pics of the kids soccer game. Moms love facebook, sisters love facebook, heck..even grandmas love facebook. If you’re gonna get people to move away from Facebook, you gotta get the girls.
2) Google+ has to offer something more than just connections, status updates, and video chat. Hello…Farmville, CityVille, AnythingVille. Surveys have shown that some of the most popular activities on Facebook are the games and the average gamer is a 43-year old…wait for it…woman! Facebook already has connections, status updates, and video chat…plus it has the girls and activities that appeal to the girls.
3) Google+ has to raise awareness amongst the female Facebook population. After posting my notice on Facebook that I could invite people to Google+, I got four different inquiries (from women) asking what Google+ was. Why? Because they’re not on Twitter and because the majority of their time spent on social media is in Facebook. Google has done a good job generating buzz amongst tech geeks, but they need to really start focusing on the other 90% of the Facebook population that doesn’t work in the technology industry.
Do you see a trend here, Google? Women are important to your success. Without women, your social network is just a plain-old college sausage-fest (a party where only the dudes show up). And those never go well.
Good luck, Google+. While it’s good to see all the buzz about a new social network, I’ll stay around a while and see if the girls show up. Otherwise, I’m going to go hang out on Facebook and Twitter with the ladies.