Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Quora, YouTube, Pinterest…and the list goes on. Are you confused by the plethora of social networking tools available to you? You’re not alone. Last week Google introduced the long-awaited Google Plus – suggested by many to be a Facebook killer – or a Twitter assassin.
Communications professionals clamored for invitations to the Google+ beta version and to be first with their evaluation. I was right there with them on the beta invitation and am generally pleased with the tool. I haven’t published an evaluation though, and probably won’t for some time. These things need time to percolate and grow.
After all Rome wasn’t built in a day
As public relations professionals we’ve always needed to understand the trends affecting our clients and their audiences. That’s why we’re all exploring Google+ along with other social networking tools. But we have to be careful too, not to make judgments before their time.
It’s weeks like this that cause me to join other senior public relations professionals (I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years) in longing for the days before computers, faxes, email and cell phones. In those days we typed, mimeo’d and mailed (yes US Post Office) press releases or hand delivered them to local media. There might have even been a few so-called three martini lunches. We had lots of in-person meetings and worked closely with decision makes to help out clients succeed.
Much has changed since then, including the public relations and journalism professions. The world has gotten smaller and the 24/7 news cycle causes everyone to race to be first.
Responsibility to offer wise counsel
As public relations professionals, we have a responsibility to our clients and organizations to be thorough in our reviews and recommendations. We need to make sure we’re not just selecting today’s shiny new tool and, instead, choose the one best for each situation.
We need to teach our clients that you can’t join Twitter and change the world in one day. Instead these things take time. I’m having a hard time imagining the baby boomer women who are just getting used to Facebook – and the target of many brand programs – are going to move to a new shiny toy anytime soon…at least the ones I’m talking to.
Nothing’s set in stone
As proof that Google+ is not set in stone and still in beta, the company announced today it’s making some changes based on user feedback.
So, while I like the shiny new toy of the week, I’m going to use it and watch for a while. If you’re game to explore Google+ let me know and I’ll send you an invitation.
I’ve been bookmarking some resources that may help you get started: