What Can Media Learn From One of the Guys Who Inspired Google+?

How the creation of Google's social media network came to be

Jeff Mignon

Jeff Mignon

posted on June 19, 2014

Business Insider published a very interesting presentation from Facebook product manager Paul Adams, back when he was at Google. It is called "The Real Life Social Network," and it is supposed to have influenced the creation of Google+.

The key elements from this presentation:

1- "People are spending much more time interacting with other people and much less time-consuming content from websites."

2- "People don't care about the technology; they care about the communication that the technology enables."

3- "The emergence of the social web is simply our online world catching up with our offline world."

4- People have several groups of friends. Not one. About 4 to 6. In each group, they have around 2 to 10 people.

5- Those groups are very independent from each other.

6- "Not all members of the group are equal. We trust some people in a group on one set of topics, and others on a different set."

7- We have three type of ties:

  • Strong: people you care about most. Average American has 4 strong ties. They speak/meet with 10 "friends" on average a week.
  • Weak: average 130 friends on FB. Our brain can not handle more 150 weak ties.
  • Temporary: customer service, etc.

8- "We often look to others when making decisions." The more info. The less we can process it.The more we rely on others. But strong ties are the ones who are really influencing us.

9- "If we want people to use our products, to use our website, it is important that we design in features that support our friends making decisions for us."

10- People have multiple facets of identity.

11- People care about their privacy.

So, from an information/media point of view, what could it mean? Please add more elements.

1- The key to understanding where media and advertisers are in the social network of people. I think in the Temporary circle. And you?

2- Like their social circles, people have various centers of interest. Those various centers of interest match with their various social circles: school friends/college friends/co-workers/family/experts I trust, etc. No?

3- People, in general, like to share what they know, what they read, etc. We like to look smart. Sharing relevant content with the relevant circle/person contributes to it. We curate content. Media need to take more advantage of it and so need to make really easy to share, curate AND able conversation around their content. How?

4- If you make sharing/curation/conversation possible, you lose control. And so? This is hardly news. People have been sharing for ever information and we never controlled the way they did it. No? Do you see any major issue?

5- So if it is all about sharing/curation/conversation with the “right” circle, is the classical media package the answer? Do we still need a package or do we need to be part of “various packages” or both? What is the value of the brand: the “right” information? Or the “right” information in “right” hub(s)? How could a media look like if it was not a destination anymore but “an information spread engine”?

6- From an advertising point of view where do I want to be? In a general conversation (mass market) or in conversation(s) where my service/product is relevant? Do I want to be in it with a general message or with a call for action?

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