A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to All the Google Plus Hype

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I suspect my friends camped firmly in the Google+ part of town won’t like hearing this, but one of the benefits of Google+ is that Facebook got better.

Facebook subscribers

Sure, you can claim, and you would be right, that many of the recent changes at Facebook are in response to Google+ features, but that’s the very nature of competition now isn’t it?

It’s not my intent in this post to promote Facebook or even analyze Google+ as much as to point out some recent observations based on my own experience.

I joined Facebook in 2007, just after the f8 conference announcement that non-edu stalkers (I mean people) could join. For some mild entertainment you might check out this post – My Daughters Are So Pissed.

In the time since joining, I’ve amassed somewhere around 3700 “friends” and with the subsequent launch of pages, over 14,000 fans. One of the big changes announced as part of a fairly significant recent Facebook overhaul is the ability to create “public” status updates and the ability for people (non friended) to subscribe to those updates.

In just over a month, I’ve already amassed around 3700 “subscribers” and, perhaps more significantly, traffic to my site from Facebook has skyrocketed. In addition, engagement on my “personal” profile, the feed that public subscribers have access to, has also increased dramatically.

Facebook doesn’t break things down on personal profiles to the level that would allow me to be certain where the new traffic and engagement burst is coming from, but a scan of the feed tells me that the public subscriber pool is a very important new source of Facebook traffic and engagement and is one that marketers should start to understand and embrace.

The use of a Facebook profile for business purposes is still technically a violation of Facebook TOS, but there’s little denying this new tool could prove significant for marketers. I imagine the impact for high people such as, say, Robert Scoble for instance, who has drawn over 73,000 subscribers to date, has been hard to ignore.

Ironically, the addition of public sharing, a feature that runs counter to Facebook’s DNA is getting a great deal of user acceptance, while Google+ Circles, the noted Facebook killer feature, isn’t proving as significant as once assumed.

It seems that while we all say we want the ability to create different groups of people for different forms of communication in social networks, most of us are actually still publishing a large percentage of our updates to the masses.

While I initially created many Circles on Google+ and put in some work creating Groups on Facebook, I rarely segment my content on either. Now, this may be simply telling of how I use these networks, but a scan of my feeds shows me that I’m not alone.

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of laziness or a measure of the increased use of networks as broadcast and awareness creating platforms, but for now, Facebook has stemmed the tide of any sign of mass abandonment

Of course all bets are off this time next week or so as Google continues to find more and more ways to make Google+ part of how we communicate with all things Google in our lives.


Facebook, Google

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