The social space is quickly coming to an interesting fork in the road.
Facebook’s IPO didn’t just shine light on bloated tech company valuation, but also on the social giant’s lack of innovation. The void of improving our online social experience is filled with attempts of injecting new ads in mobile as an attempt create revenue.
Twitter was built with the premise of instant communication and freedom to connect with others around the world. Twitter encouraged developers to build apps and data sets around their open platform. Now, That freedom is slowly being taken away by the micro update service.
So what exactly are Facebook and Twitter up to?
They are trying to play catch up to Google’s revenue.
Facebook needs to prove to their new investors that they can generate and maintain a new revenue model on the mobile platform. Based on their US user’s usage stats, more people use Facebook on their phones than the desktop.
Go ahead and scroll through your Facebook feed on your iPhone. Notice all the promoted Like Us ads? As time goes on, Facebook will be tasked with monetizing that feed even more.
Banners? Popups? Video clips? Who knows.
Could we say proof is in the pudding about the mobile usage? Are people only using Facebook to kill time in between appointments, waiting around for the bus, or flipping through the feed when you’re bored at the bar?
I do know that we’ve been using a dying Facebook app on the iPhone for almost a year now (I don’t even know how long I’ve been using it) and they just released a new app rebuilt form the ground up. So yeah, I’d say they are laser focused on mobile right now.
Their other problem is innovation.
As more and more late adopters come to Facebook, the more noise we are going to get.
Photos of food, boring updates, asking for likes for no reason, and stupid ecard images. There is no innovation or that feeling of connecting and discovering others. (That’s why content marketing is all the rage.)
Pre IPO I thought the first thing Facebook would release was social search. When Zuck announced the new social graph I thought that we were going to see a lot of new and interesting insights. Still nothing.
By now I had expected to search for pizza on Facebook and get the aggregated list of all the places my friends have liked, their photos, geo-locations and other reviews.
You guessed it. Revenue.
Sponsored tweets, accounts, and trends.
"I love seeing promoted trends instead of important news" <- said no one outside of Twitter staff, ever.
— Tony D. Clark (@nestguy) August 24, 2012
Trends? Really? You can sponsor a trend and move it to the top. Sounds like you’re just paying to make it trending. Do people ever look at what’s trending? I know I don’t.
Twitter needs to innovate too.
Where’s my Twitter social graph? What about a profile built around my stream or people I’m connected with. What’s my true social reach and how can I leverage it to help others?
Give me something good Twitter.
Is Google the smartest kid on the block?
I admit, I was not a fan when Google+ first launched.
I didn’t want another social platform invading the space. I was doing just fine with my Twitter following and Facebook ads still seemed to be working like a charm.
I also admit that I haven’t been using it as frequently as the other two. When they first launched the interface was poor. Now I find it to be much more enjoyable and clean.
But let’s talk about the business and why playing the waiting game might pay off for Google.
The only catch up Google has to play is social adoption and user growth. Their hooks into revenue streams and business models already exist. Google+ does not need to generate revenue to survive – that’s what they have Google for.
Google can foot the bill. Luxuries Facebook and Twitter do not have.
User base growth? They dominate search. It’s their billboard to invite users to the service.
Ads? I think they already have a good idea on how to do that.
Mobile? Yep, Google has Android.
So you’re telling me that Google+ has a business model, existing revenue, a user base, a mobile platform, and a video platform? Yeap, one would think they have it pretty much locked.
I don’t know about you but…
Call me crazy. (Seriously, please do, I want to hear what you have to say.)
I think Google+ is poised to knock Facebook and Twitter off of their collective thrones if they can make plusing more ubiquitous.
Coupled with their recent algorithm changes to adjust search and make it more content focused, we’re going to see some serious power moves. If I can publish and connect easier with people on Google+ I might start taking a harder look at the service.
On that note, it’s back to killing time and viewing lunch photos from my friends on Facebook.