A Message to the Media and Bloggers That Continue to Harp on G+ Usage
We are all aware that its very trendy to compare usage between the social sites these days, but as you keep illustrating, "trendy" and "meaningful" are not always the same. And while we're all aware some of you just write just to produce something without concern for meaning, it still wouldn't hurt for you to take at least a few considerations into account. For starters:
<1> You can stop telling us that G+ hasn't caught up to Facebook. We're not idiots. But stop acting like anyone expected it would after 8 months of existence. Implying that it should and then blaming it for falling short is insulting. While that approach may be intended to rile up the masses, it really only serves to diminish your credibility among those of us who choose to give it more than a passing thought.
<2> Before going on and on about how G+ is doing, how about figuring out at least some semblance of an objective measuring stick. You don't seem to have any objective measuring stick at all. We get the feeling that no matter what G+ does, some of you will have a reason to say its failing. It's been reported over the last month that G+ unique visits have reached just over half of Twitter unique visits...after only 8 months of existence. Are we really supposed to believe that is a sign of failure? What exactly would you need to see inside of 8 months to consider G+ a success thus far? The impression is that you'd simply raise the bar on what is needed to be able to suit your own agenda. Now maybe that's not true, but your lack of any objective measuring stick sure makes it seem so.
<3> It's a little ridiculous that you continue to think your usage assessments based on G+ public posts represent total usage. I know less and less people who post publicly on Facebook these days, yet I don't hear any of you using this barometer to assess its network. In fact, if you looked only at the public posts from many people's FB circle of friends, many of them would appear to be a ghost town too, but we know that's not reality. Do you really expect us to believe that no one uses G+ to share privately, especially when many of us do? Posting publicly on a social site might mean something, but its a ridiculously poor method to determine the success or failure of any social network.
<4> What's with all the usage statistics with the fine print about not including Smart Phone usage? Really? You post about trends and the future of social yet you don't think leaving out Smart Phone usage significantly skews your assessment. Wow. Google owns the leading Smart Phone operating system and that's just an afterthought? OK we get it, maybe you don't have access to that information, but most honest folks refrain from making judgments when they don't have all the facts. So what's your reason?
<5> All your drum beating about G+ usage that dismisses usage across all Google products just shows you lack vision, or at least that you don't seem to want to hear what Google has been telling everyone for the last 8 months. Google is in the slow process of combining all its services into one, and that significantly impacts the future of G+. So while you overlook this and are intent on only analyzing present day G+ usage to make a point, you completely miss the big picture. Would you ever consider reporting on the usage of Facebook games and Facebook messaging separately? Of course not. Yet you can't seem to grasp that usage across Google products like Gmail and Youtube will be meshed together with G+ in the not too distant future. You won't even be able to determine the difference, because they will be inseparable. That's not inside knowledge from Google, that's what they have been telling us from the moment G+ began...only you had to listen. Yet here you are reporting that Google is misleading you because it has begun to report usage across its products where G+ implementation has begun, a metric Google knows is what matters in the long run. Good grief. If you want to report on something meaningful, understand that although there is a difference today between logging in to any of the array of Google products, in the future there won't be, and G+ will be the hub of all of them. So while you think your assessment of G+ usage today matters, the real barometer for comparison will be Google usage. Continue to overlook this at your own peril because people will only treat your content seriously for so long.
<6> Your reporting on inactive G+ users to drive home a point is both tiresome and lacking. Its tiresome because you don't use this barometer to assess any other network (are we to believe no one is inactive on Twitter or Facebook?) But really its lacking because it misses the core strategy that Google has for G+. G+ is not a stand alone product. In fact, Google only needs to have steady growth in total G+ users to establish long term success, regardless of activity. Why? Well consider this example for a moment. If you were a leading manufacturer of GPS devices and wanted to assess your future, you'd obviously be concerned that Smart Phones come with GPS devises built right in. But would it matter less to you if 60% of Smart Phone owners didn't use those devices? It shouldn't, because the potential danger is that one day people might think,"Hey, I'm carrying around this phone all day anyway, maybe it makes sense to use this GPS." So consider then for a moment what it means as Google converts to using G+ as the profile for ALL its products, that means a G+ log-in is your log-in for Gmail, Youtube, Android, etc. Believe it, because Google is planning on it, and most importantly it means that every single user of any Google product will have a G+ account whether its used for social or not. So while you don't think the danger of every Android user and Youtube user having a G+ account matters, the reality is one day people may think, "Hey, I'm using my Google account for all this other stuff, maybe it makes sense to use it to share." This is why total account users, even if they are inactive, matter, something you seem to continuously overlook.