Google+ was launched in 2011 amidst a competitive social media landscape already occupied by Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These “big three” networks quickly found solid footing and grew exponentially in short order. Part of their success was due to the fact that they quickly identified their niche market, encountered little competition, tended that space with care, and adhered to their original missions. Facebook renewed connections and enabled introductions. LinkedIn became the go-to marketplace for jobseekers, professional banter and referrals and recommendations. Twitter became a repository for bytes of data and opinions that were packaged as neat and tidy 140-character messages. The hashtag was another of the first notable hallmarks of Twitter, although the indexing system was later adopted by other platforms.
Another contributor to the success of these social networking sites has been these companies’ innate ability to innovate. Over the years, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have launched new products and features: some more than others. Facebook leads the race by regularly introducing new products like Facebook Live. Twitter expanded its original 140 character messaging limit to 280 characters. More recently, LinkedIn announced that it was testing its new “LinkedIn Events” platform with event organizers. The feature will allow members to create, join and invite their connections to events, and enable in-platform dialog between attendees before, during and after the event.
Over its relatively short history, Google+ failed to capture the attention of the masses for the same reasons that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have enjoyed great success. Google+ made its first large-scale debut in 2011, replacing the lesser-known social platform, Google Buzz. I was an early adopter of Google+: it showed great promise for brands as a marketing platform. An advantage offered by Google+ not shared by other platforms was the single sign-on feature. Once logged in to the Google platform, account users could easily access other products. With a powerhouse name and the resources of a corporate behemoth behind Google+, what could possibly go wrong?
While Google+ initially held great promise as a social media kingpin, it failed to meet the first major objective of any successful social media site: to connect users, and to easily and effectively enable engagement.