MySpace's founder on how G+ is succeeding:
Let’s go back in social networking history a bit, to 2006 when MySpace was dominant and Facebook was small. Did Facebook launch to the world and try to take away MySpace’s audience all at once? No. FB grew by capturing one small market at a time. At first, it was one University at a time. Once they’d cornered that market, they moved to community colleges. Next was high schools. Then they invited companies to create company-specific networks — all Apple employees, or all Google employees. This strategy did a few things for FB — it allowed them to create small, tightly networked groups of fanatical users that became evangelists. Those users “stuck with the program” because all their friends were there. That’s necessary, of course, in a social network that’s about communication with just your friends.
Now take Twitter. When the 140 character wunderkind launched in 2006, it was only used by tech nerds. Just one community, that knew each other by name, if not in person. Then John Mayer signed up. Now there was two communities. The tech nerds, and the John Mayer fan club. Then there was Diddy. Suddenly Twitter was of interest to people who liked hiphop & rap. One celebrity at a time started to build sub-communities on Twitter. And make no mistake, Twitter went out and recruited them. Like Facebook, they realized that to gain scale in the social networking space and take mind share from others, they needed to target sub-communities. But unlike Facebook, these communities were not built around your friends. In fact, it doesn’t really matter if your friends are using Twitter at first, because the communities there are largely built around interests.
Now back to Google. Like Twitter, G+ is going to keep growing as it attracts one niche community after another. Perhaps by happenstance, G+ has currently gathered together a network of three kinds of tech nerds: early adopters (general nerds), Google fanboys (who knew there were so many?!), and “Facebook fed-ups” (people that don’t like Facebook for one reason or another). (Note: Because the media seemed to portray G+ as a Facebook replacement, the Facebook Fed-Ups joined G+, but from what I can tell, they’re really using G+ like Twitter and hoping some day they can use it like Facebook.) And of course these three examples aren’t the only communities on G+.
A nascent photographer community is already forming — G+ is on the way to becoming a place for serious photographers to engage with “regular folks,” taking away market share from Flickr and other smaller photo sites. Gradually, we’re starting to see a group of people who like Twitter in theory, but are less satisfied about the way it works in practice (no in-line media shares, 140 character limit, no easy discussion framework). Robert Scoble and Mike Elgan are the most vocal of these types of users. And of course just like Twitter, we’re going to see certain celebrities choose G+ as their platform of choice, and they’ll bring their audience with them. Rose McGowan did a Hangout (video chat) on G+ this week. Can you imagine what pandemonium would break loose if Justin Bieber did that? OK, that’s too mind blowing.