New Google+ Study Confirms Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement

Larry Page recently called Google+ the company’s “social spine.” If that’s the case, then Google’s backbone might be much weaker than Page has been letting on, at least according to a new report from RJ Metrics.

This week, the data analytics firm provided Fast Company with exclusive new insights on Google+. The findings paint a very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity. Google calls the study flawed–we’ll explain why in a second–and has boasted that more than 170 million people have “upgraded” to the network. RJ Metrics’ report, on the other hand, is yet another indicator that Google+ might indeed just be a “virtual ghost town,” as some have argued.

Let’s start with the findings. For its study, RJ Metrics (RJM) selected a sample of 40,000 random Google+ users. RJM then downloaded and analyzed every sample users’ public timeline, which contains all publicly available activity. One important caveat: RJM was only able to look at public data, which as it points out, “is not necessarily reflective of the entire population of users,” since some users are private or at least have private activity. That said, the stats are eye-opening:

Read more

Coming soon, major revamp of Facebook privacy settings

Facebook maybe listening after all, or is it the influence of Google +.

In the next couple of days, Facebook will release a major revamp of the privacy settings.

The revamp will affect both the profile and the way others share information about you as well as how your posts, images… are shared.

The privacy settings, although extensive were still confusing and somewhat hidden under the “account” tab.

The new privacy settings will be on the profile page (in the edit section), more intuitive, you will be able to decide who sees what on your profile section by section

When it comes to sharing, Facebook is implementing a number of new changes and making them easier to understand and apply.

  • You will be able to tag anybody if they are on Facebook, not just your friends.  When you do so, the person tagged will receive a notice and will have the option to accept or remove the tag
  • You can set your settings to allow your friends to tag you without your approval (I would not recommend it though)
  • Before you post anything to your wall, you will see a drop down menu that will allow you to decide who sees the content (public, friends or custom).
  • A little known privacy feature allowed users to control tags in the past.  In the new version, when somebody tags you, you will have the option to remove the tag, ask the person who posted the tag to remove the photo or video or block the person.

Facebook privacy settings are quite extensive but you still have to take the time to learn them and understand how they work and use them accordingly.



The changing internet

A March 2010 to March 2011 study from Silicon Alley Insider shows that the way people spend their time on the internet is rapidly changing and if you are not paying attention, your brand could become a victim.

The study shows a rapid increase (69%) in time spent on Facebook and a steady decrease (9%) in time spent on traditional websites shrunk by 9%

Social media has dramatically changed the way users look and think about the web, how they spend their time on the web and what they expect from the web

Does that mean  you should abandon your website?  No, but you should seriously think about how you use it and how you drive traffic to it.

If the trend persists, SEO will become less important and will progressively be replaced by social media.

Another recent study (May 2011) by Comscore looks at how users spend their time on social media sites like Facebook.  By the way, Facebook accounts for 90% of the time spent on all social media sites

  • 27% of their time is spent “consuming and interacting” on the newsfeed/wall
  • 21% on the profile section
  • 17% on the photo section

Interacting has become a big part of the web experience, experience delivered through social media sites.  What that means is if a brand or organization wants to keep their website relevant, they have to promote interaction.

How do you promote interaction on a website?  With a blog section, with comments and by integrating your site with social media platforms.