"That's pretty easy," he said, "I just look for something that parents will hate."
That this is a successful strategy is self-evident. (American) kids want to differentiate themselves from their parents and will pay money to do so. They'll probably latch on in some form to anything as long as it fits the criteria that their parents don't like it.
I think it's a safe bet that the social networking site that replaces Facebook will have fewer features, be ugly, be more difficult to use, and have no redeeming qualities other than nobody's parents are going to participate in it, and kids will identify with it as the cool thing for that reason.
Quoting Joshua Ellis's piece on the grim meathook future:
> Feeding poor people is useful tech,
> but it’s not very sexy
> and it won’t get you on the cover of Wired.
> Talk about it too much
> and you sound like an earnest hippie.
> So nobody wants to do that.
> They want to make cell phones
> that can scan your personal measurements
> and send them real-time
> to potential sex partners.
> Because, you know,
> the fucking Japanese teenagers love it,
> and Japanese teenagers
> are clearly the smartest people on the planet.
The full text is at http://zenarchery.com/?page_id=1180. It's short. Read it.
Ugly or not, it will happen. Since human time is limited, a smart social strategy is all about identifying the right "circle" of people you want to join, and then performing activities that increase the chances of your interacting with people from that circle while reducing the chances of your interacting with people from outside.
What this means is that even when your social site is small (compared to say Facebook), if you have all the right people in it (meaning people with high social favorability factor), you will succeed.
Some people make the mistake of assuming that the larger their site is, the better off they are. It's not only about quantity, but also about quality. Low quality eventually leads to decline in quantity by driving people away. That's what happened to MySpace and what will happen to Facebook.
The idea is that, to the extent their kids are 'hip', you could also seek out the parents who are having a mid-life crisis.
There was also a period of a few years where facebook was college-only. Now everyone's mom is on it and some aren't fans of being FB friends with their parents, or friend's parents. They keep them on limited profiles, or even decline to friend them.
If it does become popular, everyone's mom will be on it, because she will have heard of it, and someone will take the time to explain it.
Fashionable things are almost by definition meant not to last.
The early adopters will often take up something, be it Facebook, or new clothes, or a new band, largely because it is not (yet) popular. Or because it is exclusive.
Remember when Facebook was for just for ivy leaguers?
I remember when years ago Joel (of Joel on software) wanted a Facebook that really is strictly restricted to college students. Remember that?
The late adopters will often follow the early adopters for no other reason then because the new thing is cool.
And this pattern guarantees there's always something new and nothing is cool for too long.
Now there's been a lot of talk about lock-in, social graphs, walled gardens, etc.. all reason why no one can do to Facebook what Facebook did to MySpace.
But.... I have my doubts. Google+ vs Facebook, I'm going to get some popcorn and enjoy watching this.
(1) I have a lot of non-techie friends that are interested in using this just to try it out -- they are early adopters but consumers instead of creators; they do not have technical ability.
(2) Whether or not Plus gains market traction is dependent on how it fits into the current social application space. 'Hangouts' and 'Circles' will help differentiate them but to gain a foothold the network effect is of greater importance. Google are making a very calculated move by inviting people with higher quality social graphs as this will help them here!
Plus' success will depend on:
(a) whether they can keep non-techie early-adopters interested in the new features they are providing.
(b) how well they manage to cross-pollinate between each of the services in their eco-system: the changes in Gmail, the navigation bar, and UI across their services point towards them realising this.
(c) easing the move in-between other social applications by providing APIs that could be accessed by more generic desktop and mobile applications that users often use to interact with networks: Tweetdeck, etc... As I said, it's all about harnessing network effects and getting the right people on the service. At this point, I don't see any reason to doubt they have momentum and if they're smart they will continue to connect their eco-system together in a way that creates long-term growth long after the buzz dies.
(3) It's quite presumptuous to assume that since many early-adopters are techies that this is how it will remain: does anybody remember when Twitter was only used by techies?
Let's just see how it plays out and avoid creating mindless tech gossip...?
xkcd is surprisingly accessible to folks who are brainy (more folks than you realize).
I am entirely unsurprised non-geeky brainy folks might enjoy it.
thanks, time to lose another 10 hours of my life to xkcd (hooray for 3 day weekend)
Immediately, they will have more than 500M+ users from Skype only, not to mention Gmail.
IMO Google Talk, Chat, and Voice are already superior to Skype.
Now whether that is good or bad is another question, but Google does seem to have it set up so your mom being on there won't hold you back much.
it's just a matter of ... get[ting] everyone to hear about it.
That's very true as well, but Google+ has something Facebook (and Twitter et al) didn't -- google.com integration and exposure .
- Preview ahead of next week to steal FB's thunder about their "big announcement"
- Invites quickly pulled
- Everybody who doesn't have a G+ invite begging around for one, they're even up for sale on eBay - everyone's just waiting to get onto G+
- On same day as the FB announcement, G+ goes public, everyone invited
- Zuck makes his "big announcement" (I dunno, maybe video chat or something) and everyone shrugs.
// Can you expand on that please. What privacy features does G+ have that FB does not (now) have? How did Google make sharing easier?
You can go to your profile at any time and easily see what you're sharing with others by typing in the name of any person or circle, and see how you appear to them, so there's never any question about what you're sharing.
Sharing on G+ is asynchronous, meaning that you can follow unilaterally like Twitter if you want to.
Google makes its privacy policies much easier to find and read than Facebook, and works from the default position that you want your data to be private, making it up to you to share, rather than the other way around, which is what Facebook does.
Perhaps most important of all is that Facebook has a history of being a bad actor, changing their policies without notice and always defaulting to exposing personal data. Google has had its stumbles in the past, but their history shows them to be a more trustworthy custodian of your data.
They might not always adhere as well as they should to their motto of "don't be evil," but at least they have that starting point to go from.
I believe the quote Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is best known for is "They trust me — dumb fucks."
Sharing with family would be easier with Google+ than without it, not necessaryily easier than Facebook.
It'll be a lot of things to a lot of people, but it won't be a 'facebook killer' any time soon. G+ is going to be expanding the social network user pie for a while, rather than siphoning off large chunks from facebook.
If there's some g+-only games, I'd see that happening.
Google doesn't need to enable that, because they don't really have to make money by taking a cut from the game developers. So I hope they are much more strict with what developers can enable for users to share.
However, if it shows up like on Facebook, I (and others) will likely leave G+ for that reason alone.
Google shouldn't try to "beat" Facebook (and I don't think they are trying to). Differentiation is key, since Google really makes it's money elsewhere.
Namely: Being a geek doesn't mean you don't have a developed social graph. I've got several friends who don't really mess around with the techy side of anything, who range from 400-1000 friends. Mostly, they're women, but there are one or two men there.
Basically, good article, but presumptuous attitude.
If non-geeks are using @ to mention people on Twitter, they'll also use * to make text bold.
I've just realized that lots of "normal" FB users browse it from work, where chances are close to 0 that they'd use any videochat service whatsoever (you don't want your boss overhearing your discussion with your best friend about how stupid Rihanna is or about how Mark fucked up his entire life because he married Sue, just to give a few examples). So, yeah, Hangout is cool to power/media-guru users, like Scoble is, but I fail to see how Google is supposed to make a shitload of money on the back of them only.
I can honestly say it just revolutionized the way we connect as a distributed group. We just leave a hangout open, and anytime someone feels like dropping in, they do. It's like a virtual lounge that everyone has access to.
"We are announcing these fantastic new features to Facebook users: <copy-paste G+ features here>"
Facebook: Proprietary network without federation
Google Plus: Proprietary network without federation
So great, I can now jump from one locked-in network into another locked-in network.
Personally I think that Google Plus was the worst thing that can happen to networking in general, as it pretty much killed the chance of an open XMPP-based alternative.
All that said, I also used Facebook's export facility several weeks ago. It worked fine, but then I realized that I didn't care about backing up my Facebook data and deleted it :-)
Earlier this morning I sent a review of Google+ to my customers as a FYI. I made the same point that Scoble did: techies will like the fine grained control, most people will not care.
In general, I'm bullish on G+. A reviewer linked here made the best viral case for it I've seen so far: He hadn't made a profile or put any information out there on G+ but his friends with Gmail accounts added him to their various circle's and he, even having not yet chosen to participate in G+, got a big red notification stream in the top-right corner of every other Google service he uses.
Really? The most trivial markdown syntax is for the Geeks only? I don't want to live in that world; that sounds like a nightmare of truly incompetent users.
What's wrong with geek elitism? Geeks are in fact a dominating group in society, atleast on an intellectual scale.
 Have you noticed that half the population is below average?
I get annoyed when anyone talks about how stupid everyone else is, but how awesome they are. You're probably not that awesome, and everyone else probably isn't that stupid.
In the end, if your mom doesn't understand the internet, she'll go to what she hears is popular and not what's simple. And if the hipsters join the bandwagon many people will follow independently of wether they understand it or not (I find this to be especially true for twitter, where a lot of people I know joined because a lot of others were using it, but they never really understood the service).
This kind of thing baffles me. How can anyone meaningfully follow that number of people? Surely all you're going to get from that many is a stream of mostly trivia that you're not really interested in.
This is what I fear the most with +. I'm just as nerdy as the next guy, but I like to have some good un-clean fun with my friends, and Google+ comes off as conservative and parental. If Google stays too clean it won't draw the non-technical users I converse with on Facebook, and enjoy conversing with. Part of the fun of Facebook is the college atmosphere where few things are off-limits.
As their personal technical advisor, I am going to promote google+ for their freedom speech qualities. Ie. I made them migrate from hotmail to gmail. I predict an easy 20% migration and 50% dual usage.
As the op tells, I'm not going to convince my gossip, spammer, trash talk (i luv u guuuuuuys) friend, nor i'm going to try hard.
"+"? Are you kidding me?
On the other hand: here is a feature that would help G+ to take of: Tight integration with Android (2.1 and above at least!!! not 3.1) with android video hangout over wifi and 3G for free(!) international!
A tough move, I know, but without something on this scale, this could just be another wave.
Go to google.com and G+ is at the top before you even have to search.
The real question is, is this enough for Google to not kill it (like Wave)? Or are they in the Social scene domination business and a core geeky consumer base is not enough to sustain G+ and they move on to the next Social "thing"?
It is ok to be passionate but as a minimum courtesy - please read before commenting
It does seem like Google+ could use a little bit of polish, but Scoble's examples are pretty poor. Non-geeks don't want to organize their friends into groups? I'd guess some will want to, and some won't. But it doesn't seem like enough of a barrier to keep people from joining if everyone else is.
I haven't personally tried out Google+ (I wish i could), but if Google holds it back long enough to create enough buzz about it and people already invited keep saying that it is awesome, i believe they will have enough adopters to grow strong.
Personally I think having a Word interface for a textarea is pretty darn geeky. Using Markdown or some other markup language is better solution since those who don't know just won't use it.
Anyway, if it's that important to dodge your mother online, there's always Orkut.
People will use it slowly at first and it will just snowball.
That is, you cannot add "Robert Scoble" to different circles such as "friends" and "Tech feed" - you must choose EITHER "friends" OR "tech feed".
This draws difficulties [and again I haven't used it so please someone clarify if I'm wrong] - if I have a friend who is both a work college and a friend ? Where do I place this user ? I'm assuming "lay tech" people will want the ability to overlap contacts ?
Edit: great thanks for clarifying! :)
Also you don't know which circle you have been added to, so no worries about other peoples feelings....
Oh and if you want an invite, put your email in your gorram profile.
The neatest thing is the "hang out" mode where you can video/audio/text chat with up to 10 people. This mode already has a neat youtube plugin so everyone can watch the video/movie and comment on it.
I wonder if the API has a "mutual friends" call, you could write that pretty easily if so.
for me Google+ is missing key features, like a decent messaging system, and events ... it's also lacking a feature to link up with similar interest groups ... On first impression, i'm not really convinced
Well they do have gmail, google talk/chat and hangouts. Is another messaging system really needed?
This I think I agree on, and is something I've been thinking about as wel.