Although Google+ continues to grow (it now has 100 million users, according to Larry Page) I’m afraid that while the stats may be on the rise the quality of the platform itself is going downhill.
When I signed up for Google+ in July of last year, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was inhabited by ‘early adopters’: people who are the first to sign up for new websites and to participate on them. Luckily for Google, these early adopters are also the world’s ‘influencers’ and they were positive and hopeful about this new social media baby.
That was then, this is now: like others I’m starting to lose faith in Google’s ability to turn G+ into a network where people come to discuss serious issues. Increasingly, it’s becoming a carbon copy of Facebook. People are reduced to sharing cat gifs and other fancy images (often with so-called ‘inspiring’ oneliners accompanying them).
The reason? I’m afraid that G+ lost most of its appeal when it opened to the public at large. The masses don’t care about quality conversations; they want fluff. To keep up with the trend, even influencers (with, again like me, many thousands of followers) change their posting behavior. We’re now at a point where I wonder why I’m logging in; sure there still are some good and interesting posts published on G+, but I can find their authors also at other social networking sites that are more focused on professionals.
It became even worse when Google+ got a complete redesign that actually emphasizes images and photos. That’s great for the visually oriented, I guess, but for those of us who want to learn something from other people, it isn’t useless but frustrating. We suddenly see “trending topics,”"what’s hot” and posts that consist of a gigantic image, with no or little thoughts offered with it.
How that is supposed to inspire interesting conversations is beyond me.
Can Page et al. turn it around? Can G+ once again become the place on the Net for me to talk about technology and social media, and of course politics?
Perhaps. But I’m losing faith.