Google+: The Social Network Without Passion

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Google+: Public engagement is very low

Google+: The Social Network Without Passion
RJ Metrics sampled posts by 40,000 randomly selected users. For each user who had actually posted (about one third of the sample), the company downloaded their entire public timelines, which consist of all of their publicly visible activities.

Here's what they found:

  • The average post has less than one +1, less than one reply, and less than one re-share.
  • 30 percent of users who make a public post never make a second one. Even after making five public posts, there is a 15 percent chance that a user will not post publicly again.
  • Among users who make publicly viewable posts, there is an average of 12 days between each post.
  • After a member makes a public post, the average number of public posts he or she makes in each subsequent month declines steadily.

Not surprisingly, Google disputes the findings of the RJ Metrics study, and in a statement to Fast Company, which wrote about the research last week, the company said, "By only tracking engagement on public posts, this study is flawed and not an accurate representation of all the sharing and activity taking place on Google+.... As we've said before, more sharing occurs privately to circles and individuals than publicly on Google+. The beauty of Google+ is that it allows you to share privately -- you don't have to publicly share your thoughts, photos, or videos with the world."

Google+ usage: Just three minutes a month

As Moore himself points out, there's no way to know how many posts are shared privately. But there's another metric, one that wasn't used by RJ Metrics, that is probably even more distressing from Google's point of view: Time using the service.

Google+: The Social Network Without Passion
In February, ComScore found that visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period. Google says that ComScore data understates the amount of time people spend on the service, but did not share its own numbers.

It's possible that Google+ is a different kind of animal, one whose popularity researchers haven't been able to capture. But I suspect that we're seeing three things:

  • Many people aren't exactly sure what Google+ really is about. It's not search, it's not Facebook, it's not Twitter, so what is it?
  • Facebook may have such a huge advantage in the marketplace that it's game over, at least for now, for Zuckerberg wannabes.
  • Google stepped into the privacy hornet's nest early on, and users may have decided to stay away because of the misstep.

Given the poor performance of Facebook’s stock during its first few trading sessions, there may well be a glut of social media. Or maybe, just maybe, people are tiring of so much sharing and are starting to see the virtue in a bit of privacy.

I welcome your comments, tips, and suggestions. Post them here (Add a comment) so that all our readers can share them, or reach me at Follow me on Twitter at BSnyderSF.

This article, "The truth about Google+: The social network without passion," was originally published by Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

This story, "Google+: The Social Network Without Passion" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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