November 17, 2011

Social Networks: Real World Analogies

I wrote an article on the U.S site, social media today, about social search a few months ago and included within it, were some real world equivalents of several major Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+1.

Since I received positive feedback with regards to these real world examples, I thought I would devote a short post simply to this…so here goes..

  • Facebook is the neighbourhood bar

– where we hang out with our friends and acquaintances, see familiar faces, and awkwardly interact with strangers

  • Twitter is the town square

– where we engage with people of common interests and shared experiences, some of whom we know and most of whom we don’t

  • Google is like the town’s main train Station

– We’re all there for the same purpose, (but here’s the key,) we’re just passing through on our way to different destinations. The social interactions in a train station are minimal, at best; even if you see a friend, you’re probably only going to say a quick hello, since you’re specifically heading for your train.

So a Google +1 post is like leaving a post It note on the bench at the main train station – it has little reference, there is no consequence for me to leave the note and it may or may not be seen by my friends. For this last reason, I don’t see a long term future in Google +1 as a personal online social network.

Any thoughts?


Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Asides, General, Media, Useful | 2 comments - read them or leave a reply

2 Responses to “Social Networks: Real World Analogies”

  • Andy Arnott says:

    I reckon +1 is already changing from the analogy. It’s the bar (friend circle) and also the town square (follower circle), but the linkages to the wider web make it very powerful (yes a post-it in a station might have little consequence, but what about bumping into someone in a travel agent who recommends a particular holiday or a friend recommending a particular restaurant as you walk past it). This type of interaction is where we’re headed and google has the power to tap into the possibilities of these linkages with search, places, youtube, gmail and +1 combined.

    My prediction is that Facebook will be blown away by +1 eventually. The only thing that’s stopping an avalanche into +1 is the lack of ability to easily import Facebook friends at the moment.

    Of course, Facebook won’t just disappear, but I suspect it will ‘do a Myspace’ much quicker than anyone imagines. Why? Because their reactions to recent competition have been to make changes that are pushing it further away from what made it successful. I feel like they’re moving more towards creating a mini-web in Facebook and that’s ultimately doomed to fail (see WAP and Myspace). And what people really struggle with on Facebook is managing privacy – something that +1 addresses very simply from the start.

    +1 hasn’t had the best press so far, but it’s a work in progress that I think will become a compelling offering. In short, bye bye Facebook!

    • Rob Booth says:

      These are great points Andy – love your thoughts. I agree that like any business, if Facebook moves away from its core values and what made it successful, it could swim into trouble, but I’m just not convinced that Google+1 i going erode FB’s success. I believe that Google will obviously capitalize on the massive, unprecedented amounts of data that it has about all of us and our online habits, but I just cannot see that Google+1 is it. I currently use a less well known tool that I downloaded called Wajam ( which allows you to search your social results but I have found it to be of limited use in the 6 months I’ve been using it. Perhaps because of the scale of Google, it may be more useful, but I’m just not feeling it. Also Google +1 pages for business will be one to watch – jury is out on that one too.

      Thx Andy – I really appreciate your feedback.Great food for thought.

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