Google is the “Screech” of Social Media

Google is Awkward - The Anti-Social MediaDid you ever watch Saved by the Bell? I grew up watching Saved by the Bell with my older brother and sister. The two of them were much hipper and with it than I could ever be, and thus gave me the glowing title of “Screech” after the younger, most awkward character on the show. Thankfully, I eventually grew up to be a normal social media nerd, however normal that may be.

Google is the Screech social media. While Google is older than the other social websites, it is much more awkward. Google hangs around the cool kids, Twitter (A.C. Slater), LinkedIn (Jessie), Facebook (Zach), but it doesn’t really fit in with them. It doesn’t get how to actually connect with people in any meaningful and natural way. They only keep Google around because they need it. Whereas the others have clear strategies and methods of connecting people, Google instead uses crazy hair-brained schemes that seem better suited to a Looney Tunes cartoon.

For example, take Google’s latest social media offering, +1. +1 is the worst method of implementing a social recommendation to search ever. +1 asks you to rate the items your search, but does so on the search page. I don’t know about you, but usually, I only go back to the search page when I can’t find the answers I’m looking for.

I’m not going to go back to the search page to click a button and recommend something to my friends. I especially won’t do this because I often search for weird things that I don’t want my friends to know I’m looking for. Sure, it would be nice if I was always searching for “Vacations in Hawaii” or “Delicious Italian Recipes,” but instead I usually end up search for weird obscure things that my friend’s don’t want to know about.

So the next step would be to add a +1 button to your site. And at this point, I’m worried. Do we really need another crappy button on our sites just to appease the great and awkward Google? What if +1 fails as epically as Google Buzz? Will Google hold onto it awkwardly, or will it just completely phase +1 out? Will I need to keep that button on there to raise my SEO? What if no one uses the button?

Google is run by a bunch of nerds, which is a good thing. However, these nerds will never figure out how to be social. Google needs to stop trying to make a social network and social aspects to their products, and instead just keep improving what they do best. Otherwise, Google will end up a washed up search engine on VH1 reality shows, desperately trying to cling to relevance.

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11 Responses to “Google is the “Screech” of Social Media”

  1. A. Coward (mail is real) April 4, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    The best thing about Google, socially speaking, is that they motherfucking have brought upon the world: Orkut, Google Mail, Google Pages, Google Sites, Google Buzz, Picasa they bought Blogger and yet they were not able to standardize on a single “Google User Profile Page” (the Blogger one is great), so that everyone has to enter their data on a new page every fucking time instead of importing data from one and use it on every site.

    Way to go Google.

    • Jay April 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      If I hate one thing in this world, it is the integration between Google accounts and YouTube accounts. I’d rather gouge my eyes out than have to deal with navigating that madness.

  2. Corey April 4, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Really enjoyed your metaphor and I had the same concerns re: the +1 button. If it takes off, it could change the face of SEO (win the dance competition), if it doesn’t, then it’s out of sight, out of mind (stuffed in a locker).

    Wanted to get your thoughts to fill in a few other characters:
    Lisa = Flickr
    Kelly = YouTube
    Tori = Quora

    • Jay April 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      Kelly is totally YouTube. I think Lisa is MySpace though.

      God only knows what Tori is, let alone Mr. Belding.

  3. Morgan April 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Poor Google. I really don’t think they’ll ever be one of the cool kids. They should just be happy that they’re hanging around them instead of always trying to implement one crappy thing after another when it comes to socializing.

    Also, LOVE Saved By The Bell.

    • Jay April 5, 2011 at 7:32 am #

      There’s nothing wrong with being evil genius overlords. They need to realize that.

  4. Bill Dorman April 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Yeah, I’m not going to be sharing my porn…………er, uh educational sites with all my sketchy friends……………:).

    Interesting post as I never thought of them being the misfit, but the way you explained it makes perfect sense.

    In the social media world, I think we are all nerds (in my case dork might be a better description) to a certain degree but we do want to maintain a certain level of social acceptability. I don’t think Google has figured it out; just a little awkward……..

    Thanks for making me more informed>

    • Jay April 5, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      Google is more than a little awkward. Have you tried using Google buzz? It’s like taking a chainsaw to your skull.

  5. Jon-Erik Lido April 5, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Google just wants the social feedback to make their search results better. I wonder if they have something compelling enough to offer us in exchange for that information. As you noticed, so far their social media efforts have mostly fallen flat.

    So what’s an uncool kid to do? Well, bite the bullet and do what they did with YouTube; buy someone cool. Or at least buy the data. I hope they have a few more billion in cash lying around somewhere.

    • Jay April 5, 2011 at 7:29 am #

      I think they have a few billion they just swim in every day.


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