The very recent and dramatic launch of Google Plus has created a storm of speculation bearing strong similarities to entertainment industry dating gossip. Among Hollywood’s most unforgettable big-screen love affairs, the one’s that burn hottest are those whose characters meet in acrimonious conflict.
Gable and Leigh in Gone With the Wind, Burton and Taylor in Cleopatra with more contemporary examples of Syd and Nancy, Gyllenhaal and Ledger. Lately, one dismissive quip by a CEO may belie the spark of a lasting connection.
Recently, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner pronounced that the social media market was saturated, leaving no room for the upstart Google Plus.
Only love could blind Weiner from articles pointing out that Google Plus has now, in just over a month, garnered 25 million users and is on track to surpass both Twitter and his own LinkedIn sites to be second only to Facebook in user numbers within the following year. This initial rejection is so recognizable as to be almost transparent, but for the distraction of all the attention now being paid to another.
Conventional, and I would argue myopic, wisdom is that Facebook and Google Plus are destined to dance together on the same stage.
Should this be the case, it would underscore the notion that opposites do attract, but this would also buck the historical record of social media so far. LinkedIn, however, does share much of the same market demographics as Google Plus, unlike Facebook’s ultimate erasure of MySpace, a coup accomplished with nearly identical services and user base.
LinkedIn and G+ have different functions with overlapping, though not identical, users.
Google Plus is clearly the more masculine of the pair. Though only a month old, Google’s social networking site boasts a 71% male population, over 13 percent more than LinkedIn. Age is also a commonality, particularly among the tech savvy 25-34 year old demographic. But it is the occupation similarities that make the two operations so relevant to one another.
High tech, followed by financial services lead the two dominant occupations of LinkedIn users, while Google+, not surprisingly, is very heavy on high technology occupations. If you have a Facebook account, think about who you tend to see on that site and then think about the better educated, more business oriented contacts you interact with on LinkedIn. What the demographics say about those two is that the potential for synergy is present—for Google Plus and Facebook, not so much.
Returning to Weiner’s assertion that social networking is saturated, a point he rationalized by pointing out that users have finite amounts of time and patience, time, he argued, users won’t increase in order to accommodate a new service. The flaw should be obvious. While users won’t be adding more time to social media, there will almost certainly be a reallocation off those resources.
It’s not a leap to see those 25-54 year old, educated, technically skillful professionals reapportion their online time to both LinkedIn and Google Plus, cutting back on that Facebook and to a lesser degree Twitter account that they’ve burned out on over the months.
While many companies have invested resources building a presence on Facebook and Twitter, it’s doubtful that most of these did so as part of any comprehensive marketing strategy. LinkedIn, of course, is farmed religiously by companies seeking talent and leads.
Consider how useful Google Plus, with its ability to easily form circles of related contacts, hangouts, as well as access to Google cloud features would be to many of the same types of users found on LinkedIn? Time, whether LinkedIn’s CEO accepts it now, is on the side of both his company and Google+.
As long as neither of these experience the privacy issues of Facebook or other security obstacles, all those redirected minutes from Facebook are likely to produce a match made in Heaven for a couple temporarily experiencing a storm from which a real bond will form.
Image courtesy of Flickr user: Sean MacEntee