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Google+ is not taking on Facebook, it is taking on e-mail

August 1, 2011

Connecting (Chris Brogan)

Image by petermello via Flickr

In a new post, Chris Brogan complains about social media fatigue. Specifically, the people complaining about “another social network” to join. His point is simple: forget fatigue and think different. Don’t think about Google+ as another social network.

I agree.

Don’t think about this as another Facebook or Twitter. Think of it as an opportunity.

As I’ve argued before, Google+ isn’t a social network. It’s a sharing network. As such, it isn’t taking on Facebook, and it isn’t really taking on Twitter. It has bigger fish. Google+ could eliminate e-mail.

As a sharing network, e-mail is used more than any other platform out there. But e-mail is as easy as it is useless.

Yes, e-mail is a simple way to share some interesting learning. Think about how many e-mails you get with NY Times articles, or mashable articles, sent to a dozen or so people, with no context just “hey, read this”. The “hey, read this” is often written as – FYI.

Worse still, e-mail is a black hole for knowledge. Once in yesterday’s e-mail, its destined to be ignored and eventually deleted. Even if it is thoughtfully placed in a folder, e-mail search isn’t great. And e-mail conversations are the worst. People end up blaming the original e-mail for all the subsequent ones. And someone coming in late won’t be able to follow the conversation.

At the enterprise level, Google+ can help people share knowledge and solve most of the above problems.

And even better, archive it in a learning circle.

Brands don’t need a Google+ Page to add noise to their fans or followers. They have that. Brands need places to share and archive knowledge. Just think: someone could post something to Google+ in the enterprise circle, then invite people to a Hangout to chat about it. The hangout can be recorded then added to the bottom of the knowledge.

If they wanted to prove thought leadership, they could let people look under hood. Potential clients could look at the conversation around the knowledge, preview the hangout, and learn how smart the enterprise is.

Think about that.

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