That’s +1 in the Google sense, obviously. I wouldn’t suggest I could improve on what Pats McDonald posted on Friday.
It’s a brilliant piece over at The Social Practice on how Google+ might be “a trojan horse for the social web”.
Do click through to have a look at it – it’s a fantastic point of view on a central issue for brands, about how socialised web experiences can become useful for consumers.
Pats characterises the shift from a Facebook world to a Google+ world as a shift ‘”from destination social to dispersed social’.
Google+ helps diffuse social experiences, while Facebook tries to hoover them all up.
I felt immediately spurred to comment – which I did, but thought I’d reproduce it here as a post….
At the moment my impulse is to back the dispersed model.
This is partly because I instinctively recoil from suggestions that experiences will become homogenised.
And no-one ever made any new friends on facebook.
As Neil worried recently, sharing amongst peers you already know could well lead to a poverty of serendipity. Everything becomes served.
This might still be a concern with G+, of course, but the dispersal mode allows for greater mutability and adaptation. This has to be a good thing.
As you say, users expect seamless experiences as they switch between locations, tasks and devices. Simply enabling access to a single destination from all these angles ultimately won’t be sufficient.
When the digital world sneezes the real world tends to catch a cold sooner or later. Which is to say that as consumer expectations are increasingly met online they are also raised in parallel offline. I would argue that prescribed destinations and user experiences increasingly won’t be able to meet these expectations.
People won’t just want seamless, they’ll want frictionless. And the mobile web simply supercharges this imperative. The ‘consumer benefit’ will need to go far beyond sharing – as you point out, businesses will need to assimilate social into a more dynamic, responsive and intuitive mode of service provision.
And let’s not forget the entirely non-tech drivers to this.
People copy. They identify. They learn socially more than they do independently. As I’ll Have What She’s Having has reminded us (not that we’d forgotten), this is as much about behaviour as it is innovation.
Contagious behaviour, social diffusion, whatever you want to call it – people’s desire to know they’re doing the right thing remains paramount. People look for the ‘huddles’ – and the boundaries to these huddles are becoming increasingly blurred. National to local. Online to offline.
The Guardian’s nOtice platform is a classic example of collapsing the distance between a national back-end investment and allowing for numerous local derivatives.
Is Freecycle an online service fulfilled offline, or an offline community model enabled using online means?
The best social businesses will be those that use the dispersed model to provide reassurance and feedback from peers. They will create environments of ‘safe’ decision-making through visible participation. And they will make themselves discoverable and useful wherever users want to connect with them.
Predictions are probably useless, so all this no doubt says more about me than it does the actuality of what will happen.
But it’s exciting nonetheless.