This isn’t a post about the new Google Plus social network, it’s about patience.
We have seen the usual “shiny object” hysteria, multiplied by, well, a googol, since Plus launched. There has been a lot of clamoring for invites, which were plentiful, then scarce, then plentiful again, in a strange but entertaining game of tease-and-deny that Google has been playing with this launch. There have already been the predictable “scores” touting the most popular early adopters of the service, while cooler heads just try to figure out how it works.
And of course, the blog posts about how to figure out Plus, how to use it, how and when to use it for business, are proliferating like bunnies.
All for a service that is still in a closed beta.
As I stated first, this post is about patience. At Voce we often advocate patience. This means seeing beyond campaigns to build sustainable social media programs that grow in the long-term along with the campaign growth spikes. It means thinking about measurement in terms of months, even years, and not just days.
So where does Google Plus fit into this? I beg everyone for patience here, as anywhere.
I ask the early adopters not to declare the service dead or the greatest thing ever- mere days into this limited launch. I share the naysayers’ concerns that it will be hard to move people off Facebook and/or Twitter, let alone other services we are used to using, to make Plus the center of our lives. We don’t even know what the services for businesses are going to be, so snap judgments on this new social network are meaningless. I also share the cheerleaders’ enthusiasm- for me, a hope, really- that Google Plus may actually take advantage of the fact many of use disparate Google services like Mail, Documents, even Buzz (guilty, and lonely).
I ask companies to be patient. Social Media-savvy companies love to jump on the new fads to rule them immediately. I understand being there before the people arrive, and encourage experimentation. However, there is no indication- yet- what, if any, benefit Google Plus will bring to businesses. I should add that I have not had any clients breathing down my neck about getting on Google Plus, which is a good sign.
Last, but also important, I ask Google to be patient. For most social network tools companies, including Facebook, the tool is their entire business. It must succeed. With Google, there are many other things which are core to their business, starting with search. What motivation would they have to keep Plus going if it didn’t suit them, or they discovered a small part of the code that would be more useful in a new product? Google Wave was not all that long ago. Wave was a collaboration product that was hard to figure out, but those who used it were finding it very productive. Google pulled the plug seemingly all too soon, and i think we’ll never know if it would have succeeded on a larger scale. I had my doubts of course, but still. (And yes, I suspect pieces of Wave have made their way into other Google products, including Plus.)
I have no predictions for Google Plus. Have patience, and think long-term. That’s all I ask.