If a social network falls and there's no-one there to Tweet it, does it even make a sound?
Google+ is being shut down by Google. Why?
The company is citing a lack of consumer engagement. Apparently, over 90% of users log on for less than five seconds each session. Which is pretty amazing. If not in a particularly good way.
Of course, there's another rather larger elephant in the room too:
Google+ had a software bug which meant some third-party developers could access the private data of nearly half a million people on the network.
That's definitely a problem, guys.
Luckily, it seems that there is no evidence of anyone actually exploiting this bug. Less luckily for Google, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company noticed this issue back in March 2018. But they didn’t say anything about it. Which, despite there being no harm apparently done, doesn't look so hot from a PR standpoint….
What is Google doing about the Google+ data bug?
Soon after The Wall Street Journal published their article, Google announced that:
Third-party app developers will no longer be able to access Android phone call logs and SMS data or contact info (Hands up. Who forgets they can do this?)
Only specially chosen developers will now be able to build Gmail add-ons
Google+ will be closing down (consumer services will gradually shut down over the next 10 months so users can withdraw their content)
Is there anything to learn from Google+ being shut down?
First up, if you've got content on Google+, it's time to get salvaging it if you can. Second:
It's pretty unlikely that Facebook, for example, is going to go the same way as Google+ (or Google's other little-remembered other social network, Orkut - anyone remember Orkut?). Although Facebook does have its own data use scandal at the moment…
But no. What's important to remember is that your social content often belongs to someone else. Have you ever seen someone salivate at the amount of User Generated Content their website gets? Go ahead, hand them a napkin. But they're probably right to do so.
And, let's remember, social media platforms are pretty much big UGC engines. You do the work. They get paid.
Of course, you can't skip social media. It's important for reaching your audience in oh so many ways. But be wary of (literally) banking on platforms where someone else lays down the rules.
You can only really count on those marketing channels which you control in their entirety. These pretty much boil down to:
1. Your website and blog
2. Your newsletter
Concentrate your hard work on polishing these to a mirror finish. And if your best-KPI social media channel goes the way of Google+…
At least you'll always have these to count on.