Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No, Google+ is not popular - and neither is Facebook

If you want to get a fanatic mad, just tell him or her that the object of his/her fanaticism doesn't matter.

Google+ is blowing up over Amir Efrati's Wall Street Journal article that used comScore data to describe Google+ as a "virtual ghost town."

In a predictable way, Efrati has been condemned by the Google+ community - I even saw the dreaded phrase "You're doing it wrong" in the thread of dozens of condemnations. Conspiracy theories about Rupert Murdoch abound right now.

Yes, dozens. About three dozen when I last checked.

All of this reminds me of something that happened back in February 2010, when MG Siegler wrote a TechCrunch piece entitled FriendFeed Goes Down Hard. Both Remaining Users Pissed. This resulted in angry condemnations - again, dozens of them. And also conspiracy theories.

"But this is different," you say. "Google+ has 90 million users."

I don't care. Google+ is still inconsequential. Let's face it, when a post about Google+ in a national publication results in less than 1,000 replies to the author on Google+, THAT'S inconsequential.

"Aha!" you cry. "You must be in the pay of Zuckerberg."

Uh, not really.

You see, Facebook with its 800 million or 900 million or whatever users doesn't matter either.

We get all caught up in things based upon micro, anecdotal evidence. Because I have a vibrant Google+ experience, I assume that everyone has a vibrant Google+ experience - and if I don't, "they're doing it wrong."

Because I work in a U.S. subsidiary of a French company, I encounter a good amount of French speakers. Therefore, I can extrapolate and assume that there is a significant portion of French speaking people in Orange County, California. Never mind that the facts don't fit my perception. If I don't hear French when walking down the street in Irvine, the people in Irvine are doing it wrong.

Which brings us to Facebook. Everybody's on Facebook (except for one or two Google+ people who have loudly deleted their Facebook accounts). High school friends, college friends, former co-workers, church friends, you name it. And if you're not on Facebook...you're doing it wrong.

Well, I hate to break everyone's collective bubbles, but even Facebook is pretty unpopular.

How can I say this when Facebook usage is climbing up to 900 million people?

Because that means that over SIX BILLION people are not on Facebook.

Eighty-seven percent of the people in the world don't care about your Facebook wall.

Ninety-eight percent of the people in the world don't care about your Google+ hangouts.

And well over ninety-nine percent of the people in the world can't participate in a "Moment of Win" on FriendFeed.

When you look at it from that perspective, the difference in usage between Google+ and Facebook really doesn't matter.

Or, as comScore would put it, the average person spends zero hours on Facebook, zero minutes on Google+, and zero seconds on FriendFeed.

Drinking water? Now THAT'S popular.
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