What is the new social media ghost town?
OK, let me get this straight.
Since July of last year:
I've gone from 0 to 1.5 million followers here.
On Facebook at https://facebook.com/robertscoble
I've gone from 13,000 to 261,000 followers.
Yet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/scobleizer
I've gone from 240,000 to 260,000 followers.
I'm also getting more engagement on both Facebook and Google+.
Yet Google+ is derided in the tech press as a "ghost town." I think the data is starting to show that this is unfair and, well, simply wrong.
So, what's the new social media ghost town? I say it's Twitter. Follower growth has NOT kept up there with the other services, which is telling me something.
What is it telling me?
1. That while number of tweets have gone up, people are getting overloaded so they aren't following more people. Why is that? Because there isn't any noise controls on Twitter (Facebook's feed, on my screens, is a LOT more useful than Twitter's feeds).
2. I'm on Google+'s suggested user list, which is gifting me a huge number of followers. But I got up to 230,000 without ever being on that list here. Lots of people are signing up and at least a few ARE sticking around here.
3. Over on Facebook there are ways to get spread around more, and juice its suggested user feature (this is one thing Facebook does better than Twitter or Google+ since this list is algorithmic and doesn't show a single same list to every user), which gets you more users.
4. Facebook juices its subscriber numbers through lists. If you get put on a list with, say, 30,000 followers, all those followers will be added to your follower count.
Seriously, I know Twitter's not a ghost town, but it sure feels like that because of the usage model there. As it has turned into more of an "information utility" and less of a community it feels more and more empty.
A few other things?
I really hate Twitter's list limitations. On Twitter you can only put 500 people on a list. No such limitation exists here on Google+ or on Facebook. Also, on Twitter you can only have 20 lists per account. No such limitation exists here on Google+ or on Facebook. I don't get why they don't fix this, especially given that they say Twitter is an information utility.
Over on Facebook I'm really liking the ticker, which isn't yet integrated into its mobile apps. But these "attention signals" which show what your friends are listening to, reading, liking, eating, etc, are more useful to me than Twitter's tweet stream, especially when you consider that they aren't part of the feed, which means the feed has a lot less noise (over on Twitter I just saw Steve Wozniak check in on Foursquare, which is totally noise to me and is the kind of stuff I no longer see on my Facebook feed).
Finally, if you look at Flipboard and other readers like Zite, and Pulse, I am starting to like Facebook's display a lot more on those. Why? Because Facebook gives more signals through its comments and its noise filtering (which Flipboard then augments with its own round of noise filtering). I expect that when Google+ gets a real API and developer support (I expect that will come in late June at the Google IO conference) that it'll be the same.This is a long way of saying: am I reading these signals right?
Is Facebook and Google+ going up in your world and Twitter staying flat or going down, especially when you consider time spent on each actually reading other people's content?