Thursday 14 June 2012

Mike Elgan on Burying the Google+ ‘ghost town’ myth once and for all: An open letter to the tech press

The Friendly Ghost 1945
Yesterday at 11.16pm UK Time, Mike Elgan made a post to Google Plus. The reason I'm cross posting this open letter is to spread it's message.

Although the post has been +1ed 439 times and shared 130 times, the text remains only discoverable inside Google Plus (and six times in Search which also links back to g+ .. and nowhere else .. until now). It reads:

Dear technology press,

The brain-dead myth that Google+ is a ghost town is getting really old. It’s time to stop repeating a dumb and unexamined claim.

It seems like nobody has the time or attention span to think anymore, so I’m going to break it down into a simple bullet list.

The facts you’re missing are these:

* The main metric for comparing Google+ and Facebook “engagement” is the number of public posts.

* This is a false metric because Facebook makes posts public by default and Google makes posts private by default.

* Most users don’t change the defaults. So most Facebook users post publicly (without knowing it) and most Google+ users post privately (without knowing it). 
* Most Facebook posts are public, and therefore measurable by the “studies” ONLY because Facebook makes them public by default.

* Most Google+ posts are not public, and therefore NOT measurable by the “studies” ONLY because Google makes them private by default.

* Google could suddenly become very active in terms of public posts by simply making all posts public by default.

* Google’s default is more respectful of users’ privacy. Yet the “ghost town” myth that you keep repeating is punishing Google for doing the right thing.

So please stop repeating the same dumb claim over and over again. When you see comparisons between Google+ and Facebook engagement levels, all you’re seeing is Facebook’s cavalier attitude about user privacy.

Love, Mike Elgan
Ref: (WSJ, Feb 28, 2012) - The Mounting Minuses at Google+
Playing Catch-up to Facebook, Google's Social Network Is a Virtual Ghost Town

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