Wanted: Groups

Which of the big three social networks will be the first to bake in the concept of groups? Or is it an opportunity waiting for someone else to seize? A Huddle, Yammer, or GroupSpaces?

All three social networks have the foundations in place. Facebook does already have the concept, but I say it needs to be "baked in" because it's really a peripheral feature in Facebook. Google certainly has the makings of it in Google Groups, but that's not Plusified, yet. And again, it would need to be baked into the whole data structure of Plus, i.e. so I could share with a Group just as easily as I could share with a Circle. Twitter has lists, but there's no connection between the list curator and the people in the list.

Groups are like shared circles, but always up to date and centrally administered. It's what users and third-party developers need. On Player FM, for example, I'd be much more comfortable making channels work for a fixed group with an admin, rather than letting the user just share their channel with a circle. It's just a cleaner, more intuitive, model for everyday people.

And. The name "circle" in Google Plus is ironic. Because most people think of a circle as a symmetrical group. A circle of friends. A football team. A company. A circle's ends are closed, which means you're either in the circle or you're out. The eye of the beholder never enters the equation. Binary models like this appeal to everyday users. It's the sweet spot between a pure asymetric graph (Twitter) and a pure symmetric graph (LinkedIn), even more so than circles I would argue.

I put my money on Google to be the first to get this and ride it home, mainly because they are doing the most iterating on core concepts, but time will tell.
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