My Social Media Experience: Goodbye Google Plus (Google+)
Author’s note: This is the fourth article I have written about my experience of the phenomenon called “social networking.” Google+, Google’s failed entry into social networking, shut down yesterday.
Thank you, Google+, for more than 7 years of love
If it was not for an ex-workmate, I would not have known Google Plus (Google+) in the last quarter of 2011. I would not have signed up for my very first Google+ account, which I deleted in 2013 or 2014.
Google+ was very new back then. Sign-up was through invitation in the early stages, said my ex-workmate who sent me the invitation through Gmail, as Google+ was still in beta mode. Google did not publicize the creation of their very own social network, why was why I never read about it on the Web.
Gone are the days I was a social media whore. My accounts in Bebo, Friendster, Perfspot, MySpace, Multiply, StumbleUpon, and Zorpia are long dead and gone. I even deleted my first personal Tumblr account in 2011 and my first Twitter account in June 2012. I forgot my password to my first ever YouTube account, which I used for the last time in 2010. My Google+ accounts are next. (I have one personal account, the second one I created in 2012; one dummy account; and two pages.)
I was the only active Google+ user
One of the reasons I love Google’s social networking platform is that very few of my “friends” and “acquaintances” signed up. I can count them all by my fingers. And I was the only active user – in my city, province, and region – or even probably in the whole Philippines.
I have been hopping from company to company for a few years now and I was the only one to talk about Google+ and to use Google+ to support work output (social media syndication tasks and research).
If it were a person, Google+ would have been a sickly child, a patient suffering from AIDs or deadly cancer, or an NBA bust (a player who have never lived up to his potential or hype). Ever since its inception, it was just waiting to die, to fall into utter obscurity. I was among the fewest who visited Google+ in the hospital, who bought his jerseys and cards.
Google+ is a solo artist or band who failed to sell enough copies to land in the Billboard charts. Google+ is a shop or restaurant that failed to attract customers. (There are lots of such businesses in the Philippines.) I was among the fewest who bought the album or bought from or dined at that establishment.
Great finds on Google+
Just like with Facebook, almost all of my “friends” or people in my circles or followers – 382 followers of my personal account as of March 17, down from 600 (?) in 2015 – were people I never met personally. The people I know – all ex-workmates – never posted anything on Google’s social networking platform. And just like in Facebook, Twitter, and even in LinkedIn, dummy accounts were aplenty in Google+.
I had only 4 followers on my dummy account to complement my WordPress persona. As for my page, Writing Under The Shades Of Blue Blog, I lost one follower – the only one I ever gained. For my other page for my other blog, I gained no follower.
Google+ was somewhat a significant source of traffic for my blog, especially for my Jpop posts. What will I do, now that Google+ is gone?
Google+ was also a great source for certain content: pictures, especially gravure pictures, of AKB48, SKE48, and Nogizaka46 idols. I also came across great posts, ranging on subjects such as economics, history, horror movies, literature, philosophy, photography, politics, and religion. I also took part in polls.
Spam and links to pornographic content also made their way to Google+. I lost count on the number of posts I reported as ‘sexually explicit.’
Google’s social networking platform was never my source of new music, though.
Google+, an unknown in the IT community
Google+ has never been a has-been, though. For one, Google’s social networking platform was unknown among Filipino social media users. Even Gmail and YouTube (both owned by Google) users did not bother to sign up for an account.
Even most IT developers, content creators, and digital marketers are unaware of the Google+ existence. Them of all people! One workmate, an IT developer, knew nothing about Google’s social networking platform until I showed to him my account in late 2013. Well, I could not blame them… Google could not blame them… because their loved ones and friends are on Facebook and Instagram.
Even brand and business owners know nothing about Google+. Check out their websites and you will not see a G+ icon in sight; only Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
I believe the people at Google did their best to make Google+ an excellent product. It was all to rival Mark Zuckerberg’s more popular billion-strong Facebook and all other social networking sites. Their best was not good enough. Google+ follows Friendster and MySpace to the grave.
Social networks come and go
I enjoyed using Google+, though. I enjoyed the hacks. I miss Google+ circa 2012.
I can understand where Google is coming from. After all, business is business and time is money. Time spent on improving Google+ is time wasted – and money wasted away.
The death of Google+ taught me one thing: social networks come and go. That is one of two truths; the other truth is, social networks change their algorithms from time to time, and that affects your statistics.
Every time a social network dies, it takes your data – your contacts, posts, comments, and likes – with it to the grave. Every time a social network dies, you lose your data.
Before the social bookmarking site StumbleUpon died in the middle of 2018, it did allow users, including me, enough time to move to a new social bookmarking site – with our bookmarks, of course. After the relocation process, I realize StumbleUpon was a mess. It messed up my bookmarks.
I hope I have downloaded all the data from my Google+ accounts. Sometimes I will need to look through them to recall fond memories… and look at pictures of beautiful Japanese idols.