Tuesday, October 18, 2011

(empo-tymshft) I was wrong - Google+ may surpass Twitter in live events coverage

Normally when I use the "empo-tymshft" label, I am talking about things that have changed over the course of decades.

For this post, I'm talking about something that changed over the space of a few months.

For the last several years, I have used Twitter to cover live events, such as Oracle OpenWorld and Rose Parades. And I have consistently maintained that Twitter, because of its simplicity, is ideally suited for coverage of live events. As I saw it, if something were happening at a certain point of time, it would be much easier for someone to tweet about it than it would be for someone to blog about it, or to write a Facebook wall post about it.

Or to write something in Google+ about it.

You can see where this is going. Yes, I'm having another Jim Bakker moment.

The latest episode started about 18 hours ago, when Thomas Morffew started a thread that related to the article Twitter and Google 'just can't agree' on Realtime Search deal. Morffew's comment:

Who cares?

Google+ realtime search works for me.

This launched an interesting thread, in which the majority of commenters stated that Google+ realtime search worked for them also. My view was the minority view:

No, Google+ search isn't enough for me. I prefer access to all available realtime information. If Sparks included the entire Twitter stream, as well as online updates from other non-Google services, then Google+ would be fine (although Sparks results don't present as well as Google results).

And then I made this comment:

Twitter still excels during major events, such as natural catastrophes and major conferences such as Oracle OpenWorld. If there's an earthquake, people aren't going to run to Google+ and launch into detailed conversations about it.

Paul Brocklehurst didn't agree with me:

+John E. Bredehoft realtime search was only launched a week or so ago. Give it till Christmas, many more will be using G+ to follow along, certainly with techy events. Take tonight (your timezone my vary). I would imagine much better coverage would take place for the ICS/Nexus Prime launch on Google+ than on Twitter. What does everyone else think?

This is something that could be checked, and I said so in a thread of my own.

Time for a test of the real-time reporting capabilities of Google+ vs. Twitter.

+Paul Brocklehurst has stated (see the comments in the attached +Thomas Morffew thread): "I would imagine much better coverage would take place for the ICS/Nexus Prime launch on Google+ than on Twitter."

I'll grant that the Google+ posts will be much more in-depth, but my personal suspicion is that the number of meaningful tweets at the time of the announcement will exceed the number of meaningful Google+ entries.

What do you think?

As it turned out, I was not online at the time of the ICS/Nexus Prime launch, which occurred at 7:00 pm Pacific time. When I was next online, at approximately 8:10 pm, I searched both Twitter and Google+ for occurrences of the hashtag #ics.

As I expected, there were many, many tweets with the ICS hashtag, many of which included short comments on the announcement. I originally planned to look at all of the tweets since 7:00 pm PDT, but there were so many tweets that I had to stop after a few minutes.

I then went to Google+, and was surprised to find that in that same 5-10 minute period...there were many, many Google+ entries. Perhaps not as many entries as there were Twitter tweets, but it was awfully close. And, of course, as I had even conceded before, the Google+ entries were much more in depth.

So, in the words of Jim Bakker, "I was wrong." It appears, at least for technical events, that Google+ can give Twitter a run for its money.

Perhaps I'll go listen to some music. Anyone have a copy of Brian Eno and David Byrne's "Mea Culpa"?
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