Who Will Be the Next MySpace?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

This last week I found myself consumed with Google+; “Google’s answer to Facebook.”  With all of the hype about this new platform, the first question that came to mind was, ‘who will be the next MySpace ?”

As many of us know, MySpace actually used to be cool.  After all, Tila Tequila actually became a celebrity after becoming the first person to have one-million friends.  And what ever happened to hi5 and all those other competing platforms?  Yep, they died.  With the advent of Facebook, it became clear that when there are multiple platforms that do the same thing, people prefer only one.

Today we have Facebook and a brand new competitor, Google+.  So far, my Google+ experience has been really good.  I don’t feel that I am being constantly bombarded by ads and it’s a network with, seriously, only my friends.  The Circles feature is amazing as well.  It allows you to easily place your friends into different categories which you can then utilize to target your status updates or filter your news feed.  (Much easier than Facebook’s “Lists” feature)

Now let’s go back to 2004 when only a select  few of us on certain college campuses were introduced to Facebook.  Facebook was Da Bomb!  The main appeal being that you could connect with (or stalk) those attractive people from your classes that you had secretly being watching… the whole time.  OK, so it was cool that you got to keep up with what your friends were doing as well.  Facebook was exclusive and downright entertaining.  Before we knew it, more colleges across the country and around the world were connected and it was so easy to stay in touch with all our college friends.  That is, until they made it open to everyone, including business.

Don’t get me wrong.  I consider myself a social media pro and really do think it is a powerful tool for business.  The biggest issue here is that many businesses have been doing it all wrong.  People did not join Facebook to be advertised to.  It is very important for businesses to remember this.  I personally think Google is aware of this as well.  After all, more people than ever before are in protective mode, with their privacy settings in hand, now that we have invasive games and apps that harvest and sell personal information.  When a consumer is in doubt, opportunity for competition thrives.  It just so happens that Google+ is there.

So who will win?  While many features of Google+ are still being rolled out, it will be interesting to see if they provide a way for businesses to engage with their audience in an un-intrusive, nonchalant manner.  If they can do this, and keep consumers feeling safe, Google+ will have a shot.  After all, we all know that since these platforms are so similar nobody wants to maintain both.  One will ultimately die.  (Keeping my fingers crossed it will be Facebook)