There’s a few things that have been swirling around inside my cavernous mind since the initial launch of Google+ which all relates to the future of social networks.
I’ve already noticed a fracture forming in the camps of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ users. I’ve already seen the behaviour of cross posting to each and even selective posting on one or the other. In fact, I’m guilty (if it’s a crime) of doing such a thing. And it’s happening purely based on how people behave on each network.
About a month ago I disconnected my Twitter account from auto-posting to my Facebook account. Why? It’s simple, I got sick of the way Facebook treated my own and everybody else’s Twitter posts. I got sick of seeing “XX More posts from Twitter.” — A link that nobody ever clicks. All of my friends who use Twitter to post to Facebook would get bunched into one clump. And in most cases, unless you were the one single tweet (last one in) to be on top, you were likely to just get lost in the ether. Ever since I disabled the connection and started updating my status directly on Facebook I’ve seen a much greater response to the inane things I say.
Facebook hates Twitter, that’s why they did this. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time Twitter updated your status directly and as such it never got grouped. Which brings me to my next point.
Facebook hates third party Apps. There’s been an ever changing way in how Facebook deals with developers and what Facebook allows Developers to do. Recently they did away with FBML, soon they’re forcing everybody to use HTTPS. These aren’t necessarily bad things, but the loss of FBML means you lose the ability to make your application feel like it belongs in Facebook. The forced addition of HTTPS means you, as a developer, now have to fork out money to have a proper secure server setup with certificates and unique IP addresses (or host all of your apps off the same domain, ugh.) I’m pretty sure Facebook has secretly decided that hosting a proxy to third party apps (as FBML or iFrames) costs them too much money and as such, they’re forcing developers to get out of the Facebook “frame” and just go stand-alone. The only plus to this is that we might (just maybe) see a decline in those shitty spammy apps that get people to phantom click ‘like’ boxes and force-share dirty pictures… but I doubt it.
Twitter, although my usage has increased rapidly [might take a few minutes to generate] over the last few months, I feel that the actual Twitter platform (is it one?) has become very stagnant. I’m really not sure which way twitter can go, if anywhere. And really, there’s just not much to say about it.
Then one day Google+ came storming in. It’s in ‘hype mode’ right now and of course everybody’s talking about it. But where does Google+ go? There are a few things, right off the bat that I like a lot about Google+. First, Google finally managed to roll out a uniform look to all [most, some are still coming] of their sites. This is one thing that Google has been missing out on – in fact others with a large number of properties such as Yahoo! and Microsoft also seem to miss the point on uniform branding. Now that Google’s sites look and feel the same and most of them include the Google+ bar at the top, I know I don’t have to be using Google+ to be using Google+. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
Google+ also offers more controls over how your posts show up. You can share with selected groups easily. You can prohibit re-shares and comments easily enough on a single post. You can manage your circles and connections everywhere you see a persons name. It’s really quite slick. And for being in ‘beta’ as with most Google products, it’s really quite good all around.
What does the future have in store for these three big ones? A long, slow, boring battle to the death. Who dies first? That’s something I could never tell you. Facebook is scared. Twitter is idle and bored. Google+ is exploding. With games and apps, Facebook still has the upper hand. But Google has all the authentication in place, and a soon to be released API which may just kick Facebook right in the junk. Twitter will likely just remain a conduit to each and as such, survive in second place… Only time will tell. The future is fun. The temperature is hot. I love sundresses (on females). Let’s ride it out.