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Online Loneliness At Google+ 456

An anonymous reader writes "Google+ is a lonely place. At least according to a new study that paints the social networking site as a virtual tumbleweed town. Using information culled from the public timelines of 40,000 randomly selected members, data analysis firm RJMetrics found that the Google+ population, which currently numbers 170 million, is largely disengaged, with user activity rapidly decaying—at least when it comes to public posts. According to RJMetrics, 30 percent of first-time Google+ public posters don't post again. Of those who make five public posts, only 15 percent post again. The average time lapse between posts is 12 days, and RJMetrics cites a cohort analysis showing that members tend to make fewer public posts with each successive month. And the response to public posts on Google+ is extremely weak. The average post receives fewer than one reply, fewer than one '+1' (the equivalent to Facebook's 'Like'), and fewer than one re-share — basically most posts in the study did not garner any response."
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Online Loneliness At Google+

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  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:36AM (#40028387)

    I'm following over 30 people and not one has posted in over two months (March 5th, to be exact), yet the same people continue to post on facebook.

  • by MsWhich ( 2640815 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:36AM (#40028391) Homepage

    My local circle of friends went in heavily for Google+ as soon as it opened. Two of them actually cancelled their Facebook accounts in favor of having only Google+, although tellingly, one of those has since reopened his FB account and started using it on a regular basis again; the other one is still a Google+ diehard, but did reopen an "events-only" FB account because he was tired of getting left out of event invitations.

    I started a thread on G+ recently asking my circles if they were still getting value from G+, and the general consensus was that people want it to work, like the features, but just aren't seeing the social interaction that would make it viable. A lot of people reported that they use it primarily as a blog aggregator. This has been my experience as well, and I'm probably a heavier G+ user than most.

    I think that the invite-only rollout was probably a misstep, as was not allowing business accounts for the first several months. Lack of event integration is also a problem.

  • by FadedTimes ( 581715 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:37AM (#40028401)

    Google+ has poor integration with other social mediaapps. Foursquare, Yelp, Twitter, instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard. All these share with each other or at least twitter and facebook. Google+ isn't even an option, and you have to manually copy or create updates on it, which is annoying.

    Every time I mention to my social network of 200 that Google+ is dead or dying, I get the same 5 people who say it isn't and also happen to be the only 5 people in my circles who share anything.

  • What I find (Score:5, Interesting)

    by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:40AM (#40028453) Journal

    I find that Google posters are more technically incline. Most of the people I circle are tech types or something else I find cool. I've also noticed that most people post to circles and not public. I will see people commenting on posts, but when I click their profile, they are sharing nothing.

    My guess this has to do with them being more technical. Companies and everyone else are searching the Internet to see what you do online. If you don't share your post with them, they can't see it.

    As for G+ being dead. I don't see it. G+ only allows 500 comments per post and I see maxed out post comments quite often. (very annoying Google, fix it!)

    I suppose if you are an outsider looking in, it could look like a ghost town. Especially if you are choosing random people to follow. A lot of random G+ers don't want you seeing what they are posting.

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:42AM (#40028497)

    If you think FB has privacy issues now.... Google+ may have a lot of new accounts after the FB IPO* hits. Not that Google is any better privacy-wise, but people wanting to share their entire life online may have to choose the lesser of two evils.

    * []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:44AM (#40028521)

    it kicks the shit out of anything else I know of right now.

    picture an event that takes 5 months of work by teams scattered over 4 cities. Google+ is a giant help. the hangouts allow face to face meeting combined with screen sharing. the information being built by google earth I can turn around and drop into the circle that is doing the work.

    it's actually a great group solution. something that facebook sucks at.


  • It is a scary place (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:47AM (#40028577) Homepage Journal
    There are two reasons I use google services. One is to create an alias for a particular focus of online activity. The other is to set up services I need for work, also under a specific alias. Niether of these depend on my real identity since both function better with an outward facing identity that topic related. I am not dependent on Google services, but my life would me much harder if I did not have access to them.

    So imagine my surprise when Google started suspending account that were not related to a real person. Though I did set up a Google+ account, I have been too worried about losing my Google Docs accounts to actually do anything on Google+. It seems from online posting that one Google gets on your case you are screwed.

  • what a bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Valpis ( 6866 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:53AM (#40028633)

    Compared to other social networks sites I have been using I have never seen this amount of interactions between users.
    The difference here is that you start to talk to people you don't know. Whn I started on G+ none of my friends there on G+, but instead I started to talk with people I never seen or met before.
    Today I have these stats from G+:

    Posts 631
    Comments 5777
    +1's 1623
    Reshares 193

    Compared to FB there the same type of posts didn't generate anything at all.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quippe ( 767072 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:53AM (#40028639)
    I'm following 30 people and i get 15-20 posts per month; and that rate of messages, is exactly the metric I used to choose who to put in my circles. I couldn't care less of how much user accounts are on google plus or how many post per month each account generates in average. I don't hope either that facebook explode or people from facebook move to google+; actually I hope that people remain confined in facebook forever. G+ is a good looking mailing list, for me, in which my friends and some smartasses i would like meet one day contribute.
  • by Clarious ( 1177725 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @11:59AM (#40028703)

    A G+ acc is required to use that 'sharing' feature, and it will post the story on your G+ page. I did not realise that Google Reader community was that big. Back then the Recommended section had many interesting stories, now it is plagued with life hacker posts. I started to hate google after that.

  • by AdrianKemp ( 1988748 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:00PM (#40028725)

    Largely off-topic but I like that you mentioned #3.

    I think that's what Facebook did so very, very well. I find shit posted about me constantly despite the fact that I would never post it myself. It wouldn't even matter if I didn't have an account and although that pisses me off there's nothing I can do about it. I've tried convincing my friends and family that posting everything online is a really bad idea but they don't get it and I like human interaction so I'm stuck.

    Incidentally, it seems to be something that Google+ inherently avoids, which makes it so very much nicer but simultaneously destined to failure.

  • Re:Google+ sucks! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:18PM (#40028985)
    Sounds like you can't provide any actual evidence and proceed to denigrate Google based on spurious and maybe even intentional misinformation.
  • by davevr ( 29843 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:21PM (#40029053) Homepage

    There are three major problems:

    1) Google+ was just not designed for real people with messy social relationships that can't be easily categorized.

    2) Like most of Google products, Google+ has an odd clinical feel about it. Things like using a math equation (+1) instead of an ordinary word like "Like" or "Thumbs Up:. There are dozens of similar problems. It doesn't matter for search, which can be utilitarian, but it doesn't go well with social stuff.

    3) People actually subconsciously prefer a company that is dedicated that social networking, like FaceBook or MySpace, than a company that is doing it on the side, like Microsoft or Google.

    Here is a recent blog post discussing 1 & 2: []

  • Re:Public posts? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:25PM (#40029117)
    When, I read the summary that was the first thing I thought. Most of the people who use Google+ use it specifically because they can do both private and public posting from the same site. I do agree the Google+ is not very active in comparison to Facebook but most of the people I know who post actively, post privately. Counting public posts is a bad metric to measure how active Google+ is.
  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @12:49PM (#40029469) Journal

    The real name policy has nothing to do with it. There's an enormous mass of potential users who don't care at all about the policy because they don't know Google+ exists. That's the reason critical mass hasn't been achieved.

    For an advertising company, Google really drops it on promoting most of their products. One or two of them seem to get some push, but otherwise there's apparently zilch marketing.

    Besides that, what's the differentiator? Why switch? What's that, I can have more control over the privacy of my posts in some vague and hard-to-convey fashion? But who cares? That's why I'm on Facebook, to share stuff with people. Don't think of this like a tech or a geek; that's what Google is doing and why they're failing.

  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:15PM (#40029875) Journal

    5) Facebook is just an ugly background away from being Myspace.

    That's why Facebook succeeded and MySpace has become irrelevant.

    It sounds like a paradox, but MySpace lost because of the freedom they gave people to customize their pages. People went wild, in exactly the way you'd expect from 15 year old kids - as tacky and in your face as possible with bling, animations, flashy gaudy banners, music playing. Pages were unusable.

    Facebook exercised tight control over what you could do with your page, making it far more scalable. People lost interest in the struggle to merely load a page on MySpace to see what was going on.

    This next comment will blow minds here on Slashdot, but consider - Facebook succeeded for the same reason Google did. Their predecessors had become overwhelming with excess. Both Facebook and Google appeared as a breath of fresh air - clean, simple, usable.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#40030569)
    I'm still undecided how much cheaper it is, the price being paid from privacy of course. I know facebook is quite expensive. I have yet to see the pricetag on google plus.
  • by edmicman ( 830206 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#40030577) Homepage Journal

    Because Facebook doesn't work well enough? How do I find a historical post someone made on Facebook without scrolling endlessly through their page until I find it? Not to mention searching public profiles/feeds/whatever for some topic of interest. Facebook's mobile apps suck. They suck hard. You'd think the largest social web company in the world would be able to hire some developers to put together mobile apps that blow you away. But they're barely serviceable. The Instant Upload feature of the G+ apps makes getting media to Google+ (videos and photos) light years easier than Facebook.

    I think Google+'s major flaw is the comparison to Facebook in the first place. To me, it's more a direct functional replacement for Twitter, but with much better ways to handle interaction and conversation. (For that matter, how do you search Twitter for historical stuff?) And then it can accomplish what Facebook does, too.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @03:13PM (#40031775)

    It's weird. In years gone by their used to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth about why computer games didn't appeal to girls and women. Now, as you say, they're mad for the games. They're far bigger gamers than males now. Not just the Facebook games either. When they're on trains, they're all on their smartphones playing Angry Birds and the like.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TallDarkMan ( 1073350 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @04:10PM (#40032677) Homepage

    The thing for me is that G+ and FB are just different.

    I totally agree with that statement, and I would like to add my own take on it: Using both FB and G+, I am starting to feel like I felt about FB versus MySpace...the newer one (back then FB, now G+) seems much more "mature" than the older one (MySpace then, FB now). Over the past year, more and more, I look at the content on FB and feel like I'm back in high school...immature, drama-driven drivel that I get little from, in the way of information or even entertainment. However, the more I peruse G+, the more I see engaging content and offerings....and at the very least, when I read the posts, I'm not constantly thinking to myself, "How old are you?"

    I also disagree with another poster's assessment about the security/privacy. I feel like I've got a much better handle on who sees what on G+ than FB. And from what I hear about friends blocking other users, or just "un-friending" someone, and yet still having stuff seen or shared amongst those same users, I'm shying away from what I post on FB more and more.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.