We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Google+ is poised to become the social media platform for serious conversation about business, academia, politics, economics while Facebook will recede to a cute spot for friends and family.
This will not happen overnight, of course, the Facebook social silo of 955 million users will remain a social media Goliath for quite a while but let’s face it: Google is and will remain ubiquitous on the InterWebs and it is the multi-dimensional functionality and general openess of Google that will, in time, overwhelm Facebook and most other social platforms.
Further evidence of Google’s intent to wade deeper and deeper into the social spaces became clear late last week when it purchased Wildfire Interactive (for a reported $250 million) and announced the start-up’s staff will become part of Google World.
Wildfire uses data based on social media users’ behavior – rather than keywords – to run contests, promotions, discount programs and other efforts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and others. Its approach is relatively new and changes the social media landscape. Google has always shown an amazing prescience and, clearly, it’s moving toward even more advanced advertising methods than its own advanced advertising methods of the immediate past.
So, in addition to a cumulative $1 billion investment bubble in social media advertising through these three acquisitions, all this means exactly what you think it means: more direct advertising for the future of social media.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, although social media purists disdain the idea of commerce taking place on the InterWebs. But folks also – at points in history – disdained the idea of crass advertising in newspapers, on the radio and, heaven forbid, on the television.
Each evolutionary step along the media progression has been accompanied by those who own the channels settling on advertising as the simplest, cleanest and, ultimately, cheapest way for consumers to adopt the new medium.
We’re not sure why we think social media should follow a different path.
But therein lies the rub, now, doesn’t it? Social media marketing and advertising IS different. Because social media is so personal and our computers and mobile devices have become windows of our souls to the world, social media advertising can use data to zero in on our activity, likes and dislikes, political thoughts, sometimes even the deepest longings of our hearts. Even our geographic location can be monitored and used to send us ads.
We may very well be standing (or sitting, actually) at a threshold. Will advertising become the currency of social media interaction? Will it become the language of social media interaction? Will it twist McLuhan’s words and become the actual message of the medium?