The Resident Connection, Written Posts

Pinterest, Path, and My Lack of Interest in Google+

12 Comments 09 February 2012

It’s amazing how quickly things can change online.  The potential for Google+ is incredible, but their lack of syndication and connectivity to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, or other social networks has been their downfall in my opinion.  With the only option to post to Google+ being through Google+ itself, I think they’ve limited their opportunity to become a real player in the social space.  And, them not having an easy sync feature for Twitter or Facebook sure doesn’t encourage people to post there either.  Sure, “it’s coming” with Hootsuite or some other platforms, but have they missed their window?  Unfortunately they may have.

The thing is, I don’t want to check another social network unless people are there and I am having conversation.  Facebook is great for this.  Twitter can be too (although there is a lot more push than pull there in the past couple years).  I get that each network is a bit different, but we’re on them to share and have conversation.  I may be a bit more personal on Facebook and more business on Twitter, but I like to limit the number of channels I need to monitor and engage on.  It’s just tough to juggle so many, and if they don’t serve a unique purpose then I think people will naturally gravitate to the one they like the most.

I’ve said before, I think there is a gap that can be filled by Google+, and I believe that gap is in the business and local business connecting game.  Maybe we will truly see this happen as they integrate more of their tools like Maps and Places.  We’ll see.  In the mean time, there are two fairly new services/tools that have my attention.  I’m warming up to them because they fill a void, and can sync with other sites.

First, Pinterest.  If you haven’t signed up or at least heard about Pinterest then I suggest you check it out.  We’re visual people.  If you create a post on Facebook that includes a photo people are much more likely to read it or engage on it.  Plenty of studies have show this, and you know it’s true because that’s what you do yourself.  Step in Pinterest to help people “Pin” and share things they like, and the image takes priority number 1.  Beautiful and a great concept.  There are plenty of bookmarking sites out there, but this one delivers something we’ve been missing.  It has my interest, and we’ll see if they can keep the momentum they have right now.

Second, Path.  I mentioned that one of the problems with Google+ is the syndication of posts.  Path has done a brilliant job of making this easy.  If you haven’t checked out Path you’ll need to do so on your Apple or Android device (sorry Blackberry folks) as it’s only mobile.  A beautiful user interface makes this mobile app great by itself, but the fact that I can syndicate a status update or check-in to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, or Tumblr is fantastic.  And, I can choose with each post which channels to do so or not.  Sometimes I want to send an update to Facebook and not Twitter.  It’s now easy to do.  And the beauty of Path is that it limits the number of connections you can have.  Only 150.  So what you put on your Path doesn’t have to be public and it only has to be shown to the 150 closest people you approve to follow you.  Check it out.

So Google, what’s next for you?  I’d buy one of these new sites up, or figure out quickly how to get people interested in you again.  My interest is waning.

  • Hey Mark,

    One point on Google+ (you know I’m a hater) that I think is in stark contrast to Path is that Path was built to solve existing problems.  

     – “My Facebook friend list is cluttered with people I don’t care about.”
     – “Facebook’s mobile app is buggy and too often unintuitive.”  
     – “Facebook is too noisy with ads, brands, groups, etc competing for my attention.”  
     – “I simply want a closed off ecosystem where I can share things with just the people I care about and can focus my attention on updates from others that are meaningful to me.”

    Google+ (and I’m oversimplifying here) was aimed at solving only one problem: 

    “How can Google enter the social network market for the purpose of collecting more data about people and leveraging that data to eek more money from advertisers craving more targeted/contextual ad products.”

    Google+ solves no real problems for human beings.  Every attempt they make to try and offer more utility for people (i.e. personalized search) ends up becoming deformed by their even stronger attempts to monetize these features.  In my mind, it’s already failed and they are better served to move on.  Even the local integrations you mention would end up being more interesting to businesses and wouldn’t offer any more incentive to humans to engage more in the product.  It’s toast.

    I’m not sure Pinterest is solving any fundamental problems either.  They surely stumbled on to one when women gravitated to it to share the things they love, but that was a happy accident for them.  Beyond that, though, it’s just a pretty Amazon wish list, which isn’t terribly sticky.  Great design isn’t something they’ll be able to rely on moving forward.  Ask Gowalla, which ran laps around Foursquare in terms of user experience but wasn’t able to build a business.  The true test for Pinterest will be in the next 6 months.  Can they can capitalize on the initial user growth to build something that keeps people engaged & fill a market gap or will it simply become a niche site for fashion & recipe sharing.


    • Tim, excellent points.  I agree, Google only tried to get in this game to collect more data and make more money.  I think this is why a good angle for them to go is to be a social site for businesses.  Collect data and info on businesses.  Beat LinkedIn if they can.

      I think Path solves all the problem you point out, and I hope it takes off with more people.  I think it’s excellent!

      I think you are right with Pinterest.  It may only appeal to a niche in the end.  We shall see.

  • Jade

    Strictly from a “user” prospective:

    1. I’ve never bought into Google+.  My opinion- what a waste…sorry Google.

    2. Pinterest is great and encourages continued education of which I am a huge fan.  However, the niche market is defninitely not being utilized for business and we need to tap into that.  I’m also not finding engaging conversations that captivate personal or professional growth.  Is Pinterest just a fad?  How can WE keep Pinterest alive and evolving?
    Mark – you said it yourself, “The thing is, I don’t want to check another social network unless people are there and I am having conversation.”

    3. I’m just getting started with Path.  Connectivity is the best I have seen thus far (twitter, tumblr, 4sqr.,facebook, etc.).  You can also adjust photos as you would on Instagram – even with EXISTING photos.  This is pretty cool.  My hope is that Path will not turn into the “Facebook and Twitter I have a 100+ followers and have no interest in over half of them” tool. (Tim it sounds as if you share this concern).

    If an organization can not exist without people, then in the same way, these app’s and programs can not exist without users.  If we are the users, then we get to control the evolution of the product.  Therefore, the future is in our hands!

    What do we want to get out of Path?  What do we want to get out of Pinterest?  Let’s start today.

    • Thanks Jade!  Definitely potential with these tools.  I think Path solves the problem of having too many followers as they limit it to 150 max.  It’s basically the filter we’re all looking for since we overgrew our facebook profiles.  I hope Pinterest thrives and may point out that niche sites can be very successful.  

      Hey everyone, Jade is a team member at J.C. Hart.  Follow her on Twitter @jadawill 

  • Mark, I must say after looking at your Plus page, there isn’t any reason for you to enjoy it. 
    No one has you in their circles!

    I was just in a real debate yesterday with one of my posts:

    And have been involved in a startup as well as I started writing for a Social Media blog. Oh, and I am a chef, never been involved in any tech/social networking/etc. besides just facebook with family and friends. 

    None of those things would have happened on any other social network I am involved in, because the conversations are either brief, the interactions dull, or the interest isn’t there. 

    All I’m saying is for a network to be social, you need to have social interaction. Your stream is full of links to your articles and others. 
    Which isn’t a bad thing, but when no one comments on them or talks about them, I can see why you wouldn’t want to check the space. 

    My suggestion is to find a circle share of Plus players, circle them, then engage. Its the only way to get a rich experience. Try that for a month, continue to post, and then write another article. Do a hangout or two, chat with some like minded people.

    You might change your tune, or you might not. Just a suggestion from someone who’s found the awesome in G+. 

    On another note, I think Pinterest is poised for something big. Just started using it as well.

    Happy socializing!

    • Jacob, the struggle for me is that the networks I’ve built using Twitter and Facebook don’t play on G+.  That’s where my lack of interest is.  I built those networks doing exactly as you suggest for G+.  For me, I don’t need to build new networks necessarily, but based on your comment you’ve inspired me to look for a different use for G+.  If my apartment marketing network isn’t going to be there, then I need to do something different with it.  Then it will make sense to spend time there.

      Thanks for the ideas, and I really appreciate the comment.

      • Great! I know it is hard to get feedback sometimes, and I saw you had some already in your direction, so I wanted to give a different light.

        I hope you find it useful in whatever use you find.

        Thanks for the response!

  • Halie Branham

    Hi Mark! 

    I am a resident here at Legacy, and I saw Jade mention your blog on Twitter the other day, so I decided to see what this is all about. 

    Although I am not a huge user of social networking sites, and cannot knowledgeably comment on the above, perhaps I can switch gears a little bit. It often seems as if I am the only one who has not yet jumped on the Social Networking bandwagon (except for LinkedIn). For me, it is really an issue of privacy. I have created accounts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace (way back when), and Path, and am always amazed at how quickly it can accurately place me within others’ circles. How did it do that? It seems as if it knows where I have been, who I’ve talked to, who I ate dinner with.. It even pulled up the assistant at AT&T who helped me purchase my phone! WOW! I’m feeling a little invaded here! 

    The real reason I’m interested in keeping my eye on social networking sites: their effect on the market, and the amount of eyes they are consistently gaining. That is valuable, especially considering the users themselves are driving the content. I won’t say anymore than that considering this is not the point of your blog, and it could lead to a very lengthy comment!

    Am I the only one who cares about this aspect of social networking? 

    • Halie,

      You bring up an excellent point.  How many networks are we going to allow into our lives?  I read an article last week about a guy that wants to be paid for the content he’s put on Facebook.  There’s obviously value there for these companies and if we play in the spaces we’re willing to give up some privacy.  Is there value to that, or is the value we get just the ability to use the platforms?

      It’s crazy that when I call up for pizza or even Chinese food they know my last order.  Sure it simplifies my life a bit (and theirs), but is it too much?

      Everyone isn’t going to have the same level of transparency online.  What’s interesting though is the sample of people that are willing to share online.  This sample is large enough for marketers or companies to make better decisions about pricing, future products, and more efficient ways to spend dollars.

      In the end I hope more people realize that the benefits of being social outweigh the privacy fears.  There’s risk in just about anything we do today.  My recommendation is for people to do whatever is comfortable for them.  It’s your life and you can do whatever you want, with or without social networks. 

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Rumorajj

    I’ve never been a big FB fan.  I check it maybe once a week or less because a lot of my family and old friends use it.  I can’t get excited about Pinterest because it’s just more bookmarks and if you saw my real cork bulletin board at home, you’d know that it is full of old junk and I can never find what I want without digging through a bunch unrelated stuff.

    I do find G+ interesting but I’m not prepared to say it is the FB killer.  I believe they can exist side by side.  If you try G+ again you’ll probably get plenty of recommendations to just add a bunch of circles so you see things in your stream.  I’m not a big fan of that idea.  It just makes for cluttered streams that you might seldom want to view (kinda like FB for me).  

    I would suggest you use the search function in G+ and search topics of interest like “marketing” or “real estate” or “real estate marketing”.  You can save these searches so that you can go back from time to time and  participate in conversations you see the stream for that search.  Then you selectively add people that you see making posts that are inline with how you would like to use the G+ service. 

    I think I’ll post this on G+ for you too.

    • Thanks for the insight!  G+ needs to find it’s niche.  It’s somewhere in there, and I think you’ve made an excellent point about “search” within G+.  They definitely have the advantage here and if they can leverage it more we could see the activity increase here. 

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