Oh, those heady crazy days when any technology is introduced. I remember the original buzz (not to be confused with Buzz) over Google+, as a wave (not to be confused with Wave) of excitement swept through social media as people asked anyone, everyone they knew for an invitation to the new community.
Some early coverage and commentary took the oh-so-levelheaded tone of OMGOMGGoogle+IsGoingToKillFacebook, despite any tangible evidence or empirical projections. So what happened since?
Facebook is still alive, and confounding users with incremental redesigns, as usual. People complain about said redesigns, as they always do, then move on and keep using the service.
And Google+ has nice membership numbers, although postings I’ve seen have slowed precipitously. The recent announcement that Google+ was now open to all, no invite necessary, was greeted in many spheres of social media with a collective yawn, as if the site were already yesterday’s news. Perhaps in part because Facebook has already rolled features to counter G+ assets. Some of the same folks who trumpeted the ascendance of G+ now treat it as a punchline. Its hangouts, message segregation via Circles and Google tie-ins still hold promise, but the hosannas have long since stopped rattling.
So is Google+ primed to surpass and supercede Facebook? Not today or tomorrow.
Will Google+ eventually pass Facebook in terms of membership or primacy? Cannot predict now. Ask again later.
Actually, the “Cannot predict now” and “Ask again later” phrases I took from my Magic 8 Ball. The Magic 8 Ball says that a lot.
And you know: We should say and acknowledge that line of reasoning instead of making grand and unfounded declarations. We — earlier adopters, the technology press, the general social mediacracy — should stop pretending the latest shiny object is the New Facebook or the Next Twitter. And for the sake of all that is good, anyone who uses the term “game changer” for a brand new technology should have their iPhone confiscated.
Because the future of technology is a lot of things — surprising, exciting, complicated and unpredictable. It’s NOT as cut and dried as saying “this new technology is cool, my friends are excited, so it’s going to be the next [insert the previous next thing].” Because no one really knows. We cannot predict now. Ask again later.