July 6, 2011

Social Parsimony or Google+ Vs. Facebook

There was no way in hell I was going to miss an opportunity to articulate some of my thoughts surrounding Google+ and how I personally think it completely redefines the entire social ecosystem.

I consider myself one of the lucky few to have gotten early access to the new social network.

It is a rare opportunity to explore its environment and see it evolve before the onslaught of social dalliers start littering it with billions of bytes of content and continuous activity.

For now my stream mainly consists of people like myself who are getting a lay of the land in order to better understand its geography.

Not because we are sociologists but because most of us are in the business to create and communicate content and we are always looking for the best ways to deliver our content and disseminate it to our audiences.

We are the early explorers of new channels and we are typically a kind of litmus test for their eventual popularity because of the way we instinctually scrutinize the effectiveness of these new channels.

What excites me most about Google+ is that it isn't the new kid on the block that has to claw its way past its competition, it doesn't need to raise money, it needs no additional growth to compete and in many cases it already has the manpower to exceed any advances or innovations its competitors can try to come back at it with.

Google+ isn't something new, it is something that has evolved slowly over time.

Nothing truly great simply just appears.

Especially in the cases when greatness instantly explodes on to the scene, it eventually fades away because it doesn't have the wherewithal to withstand the complexity of the interaction that its users will require of it.
Greatness requires time and maturity.

Google+ is the eversion of tons of wildly successful and ubiquitous online tools all being sucked into one single place and energized by the force of social networking.

First Google perfected and contained the beast that is searching the web.
Then Google conquered personal email.
Google went on to reinvent video with YouTube.
Blogger became a writers paradise.
Analytics were made available for free to everyone big and small.
Google brought us the entire Earth and every single street and side road that is contained within it and exactly how best to navigate them.
It houses our images, and now our music, there are archives of books and a huge cache of free productivity tools.
Google also provides us with a cutting edge browser in which to peruse the web.
Oh wait, did I mention that Google is also the most popular mobile operating system and is quickly becoming a major player in the tablet and PC operating systems race as well?

Anyway... you get it, Google is huge!

And with a simple addition, using the sign for addition. Google adds a Social Layer on top of it all and appropriately calls it Google+ (g+).

Like some new variable in an equation, "g" represents an amorphous set of technological offerings that is forever adapting to accommodate its ravenous audiences. Plus (+) is the social layer that represents all of us.

Now you dont have to be a social media expert (although everyone claims to be one) to immediately see the similarities between Google+ and Facebook. The comparisons are obvious. However if you look deeper it will quickly become clear that Google+ has a much better chance of becoming the premier social network over the next few years.

Social media is made up of billions of rabid users. Highly social, competitive and technologically infatuated people who love nothing more than seeing themselves inside of the technology that most fascinates them. Technology that shines the best light on the personas that they maintain online.

A new subset of people who evolve culturally through a constant strive for identifying the "killer" that will eventually replace that which they find to be most advanced with something they are led to believe is even more advanced.

Feeding off of the drama of the eventual fall of the current titan and reveling in the defeat of the once beloved cultural epicenter. Then over valuing its victor with loyalty and adherence to its infrastructure.

We no longer take into account things like business models that have long term sustainability and profitability, instead we reward the victor through our own devotion and support. In praise of the mighty champion we flood its channel with billions of bits of personal information making it a valuable cistern of human content that can then be mined by corporations in order to better profit off of the golden nuggets of our souls that we so publicly reveal openly.

There is a principle called parsimony.

Parsimony is a rule that states that if there are two options and if one option is to be true, well-established social norms and etiquette must be either re-written, ignored, or suspended in order to allow it to be true, but if the other option is to be true no such accommodation need be made, then typically the simpler of the two options is much more likely to be accepted.

Basically people will migrate towards the network that gains them the greatest amount of accessibility and usability options that house our personas and is preferred to the one with the less complex options regardless of what is in actuality a better network. Its just how us crazy humans work.

Social network ecosystems like Twitter, Facebook & Google+ will naturally grow in size to accommodate the complexity of the human data being fed into the network.

But if the complexity of the data diminishes so will the size of the network.

Hence MySpace.

The less dynamic and complex the data the less dynamic and complex the network.

Now this is where Google+ wins.

Google has all of the tried and true tools that are already being used by billions of people worldwide. All Google has to do is simply and methodically converge all of these tools and it will continue to grow its Social Network dominance simply by exposing more and more of its already successful products within Google+.

It has been some time since I have been this excited about a new platform, especially since everything Google has done since its inception is all coming together now and the picture is starting to become more clear.

Mobile, Web, Social, Publishing, Productivity, Entertainment, Advertising, Navigation, Telephony and countless other vital tools for living in this new age all thrive within Google's veins.

I cant wait to see how this all plays out, my bet is that Facebook will not withstand the solid foundation and maturity that Google+ brings and will be relegated to AOL and Yahoo status. Facebook will survive on its fumes and hopefully weather a maturation phase to better define itself and its place in the social ecosystem or it will simply run out of resources as Google will continue to dominate yet another part of the web.

By the way, Twitter will be just fine.