One of the things that’s made Twitter so successful is the immediacy and flexibility of the platform, making it the fastest way to spread a message and declaring most information old news by the time most other news sites or social networks have just started their coverage. In my previous article Google+ to Twitter, “you’re safe for now” I stated the thing that Twitter has which Google+ isn’t designed for is the discoverability factor where following one person’s side of a conversation easily leads to the possibility of finding many other people also worthy of following or commenting on. I still stand by my point, but I’ve realized that Google’s semi-recent announcement for business profiles offers the potential to deliver features that have long been missing from the Twitterverse. While the features I foresee don’t explicitly replace a lack of discoverability, they may be of greater value for the G+ audience.
To begin with I think we need to establish the boundaries of what people really want and where so many other services have come up short. One single issue comes up more than any other with virtually every content creator on the internet, they spout too much noise and not enough of what we value. For the sake of an example, as an on-and-off web designer I used to keep my RSS reader pointed at the blog for Matt Cutts, a Google Engineer who works (at least at the time) on a team dedicated to increasing the quality of search results, which closely neighbors the subject of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Matt, while surely a great guy, began posting a lot less about SEO and Technology and a lot more about his personal life and especially his extensive traveling. Certainly no offense to him, but I just wasn’t interested and I became increasingly tired of manually filtering the extra information. I finally gave up and stopped following him. I simply can’t manually filter the 40 different blogs and RSS feeds and then go through everything people say on Twitter (especially for the people who are highly conversational on there)…
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest an actual name for the feature before even describing it. I think Google needs to call it “Outlets”. Not only will it the name appeal to programmers and other technophiles, but it’s simple and makes sense. If I’m a business, let’s use HTC for this example, I know that some of my customers are huge fans of Android
Windows Phone 7 and care nothing for Windows Phone 7 Android. I would still want to publish information, but my fans just don’t want everything I have to offer. The fix is to simply create outlets that people can subscribe to individually.
Going the extra mile…
There’s a lot of things that will land between the regular person and a company the size of Microsoft…Well-known bloggers and podcasters, small companies and organizations are just some of the names that will grace the network shortly. It will make sense for companies and organizations to have a single purpose account, but that will not be so for individuals that may be the face of a company, a well known podcaster, or even a world-famous celebrity. For the people who use their name as a brand, Google+ could give them the option to have a Persona for the aspects that they need to represent under their name. The idea of the Persona should not be limited to people either, as both Google and Microsoft can demonstrate, with that many departments in the company, there’s a lot of information to get out and not enough people to read it all.