Jul 11, 2011

Social sharing and behavior changes driven by Google+

The launch of Google+ has had an undeniable impact on social sharing. Source: SEOmoz

The flight to Google+ continues fast and furious, at least among the social media early-adopter crowd, and some interesting observations and data are starting to resolve against all of the noise and static.

+1 usage skyrockets

Use of the +1 button to share content has dramatically spiked post Google+ launch.    SEOmoz ran some numbers using the top 100 Technorati blogs as their sample, and found significant changes in use of the +1 button, which is all the more interesting given the fact that Google+ isn’t yet fully open and accessible.  The findings were interesting, to say the least:

  • The number of +1 shares of articles on the top blogs almost doubled after the launch of Google+.  The +1 shares came from both search results and users clicking the +1 button embedded on the blog sites (only a quarter of the sites implemented the +1 button.)
  • At the same time +1 shares were burgeoning, Facebook shares per article plummeted by almost half post the Google+ launch.

Now, we do need to take this with a grain of salt or two.  The Technorati top 100 blogs are headed by the HuffPo, Mashable, Techcrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget, TMZ  …  and I think it’s safe to assume the audience for these blogs is more active on social networks than your average bear, and I’d bet the audiences for the top blogs include a disproportionately large number of Google+ users.

That said, an interesting point regarding our personal social networks was raised on the Content Marketing News site, suggesting that Google+, with its Circles feature, invites users to be more deliberate and selective with respect to managing their personal networks — which ultimately informs all sorts of behavior, including the sharing and consumption of information.

An invitation to closely manage our our personal networks

One persistent problem people seem to have with Facebook is the blending of people different aspects of your life (work, high school, church, playgroups, college) in one newsfeed and one network.  Facebook lists and groups do help but they can be fiddly to use .  Google+ has taken aim at this problem by creating Circles, which makes it easy to organize and categorize your friends, families, colleagues and classmates, enabling you to communicate with specific groups.

“I have no intention of making the mistakes most of us seem to have made on Facebook,” said Gary Kim, in recent Content Marketing Institute post, “We all seem to have lots of “friends” we don’t know, and brands we really don’t want to follow that somehow wound up on our lists.”

Is this new selectivity driving more sharing?  I can’t answer personally, because while I have a healthy number of professional peers comfortably arranged in a circle on Google+,  none of my personal friends are yet using the network.  However,  I’ve already been happily sharing away and discoursing on Google+ and the fact that it’s easy to pick and choose audiences for content bodes well for Google+ (in my own opinion.)

These early findings from SEOmoz are noteworthy, but I think most people would agree that this limited sample isn’t enough to take to the bank.   Much remains to be seen with respect to the public roll out of Google+, the degree to which the wider public adopts the new network and whether or not we continue to see changes in social behaviors.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Fill in your details below: