All posts in “Social Media Roundup”

Social Media Roundup for November 18, 2011

 

Google+ Pages continued…

Last week, Google announced new Google+ Pages for companies. Since then, top brands, including Pepsi, Hugo Boss, and Toyota have started to build their Google+ communities. What’s next?

This week, Google announced a series of new features that will make Google+ Pages even more attractive, and easier to use for brands.

Third Party Tools To Help Manage Google+ Pages

For those companies using platforms like HootSuite and ContextOptional to manage multiple social networks now integrate Google+ Pages. This feature will help populate Google+ with more brands as many organizations already use Social Media Management tools for their daily social media activities.

Trending topics and other improvements to the Google+ search

According to Mashable, Google+ has quietly rolled out trending topics within Google+ search this week. Just like Twitter trending topics, Google+ lists the top 10 most discussed topics within their platform. In addition to that, there have been other improvements to Google+ search as well. Users are now able to search within their own posts, their circles or their entire Google+ network.

Google+ Search

Google also tweaked the search page slightly. One thing that caught my attention is that Google+ Search now defaults to “most recent” rather than “best of”. This is Google moving back into real-time search (since their high-profile split with Twitter in July).

Average Facebook User [Infographic]

The average age of a Facebook user is now 38. New stats and facts from a new Infographic designed by JESS3 that looks at the average Facebook user’s daily activities. The Infographic shows that Facebook users are still the most engaged  – 52% of the users use the platform daily, and more than 20% of users are engaged with other people’s content.

Future Steve Jobs?

At TEDxManhattanBeach last month,  a 12-year-old boy named Thomas Suarez impressed with a speech about his journey to become an app developer and how he founded his own company. The video came out last week and has received over 1 million views on YouTube.  People are referring to him as the next Steve Jobs, as he shows charisma rarely seen in people, let alone people his age.

From the YouTube introduction:

Thomas Suarez is a 6th grade student at a middle school in the South Bay of Los Angeles. When Apple released the Software Development Kit (SDK), he began to create and sell his own applications. “My parents, my friends and even the people at the Apple store all supported me,” he says, “and Steve Jobs inspired me”. Thomas points out that it’s hard to learn how to make an app. “For soccer you could go to a soccer team … but what if you want to make an app?” He’s started a club for fellow students at school, where he shares his knowledge of programming. Thomas articulates his vision that students are a valuable new technology resource to teachers, and should be empowered to offer assistance in developing the technology curriculum and also assist in delivering the lessons.



Social Media Roundup for November 11, 2011

Google+ Business Pages

The big news this week has been the much-anticipated release of Google+ Business pages. The pages function in a similar way to that of a regular Google+ profile, allowing the administrator to add people to circles, share, +1 comments and photos and host and join Hangouts. As with a profile, the owner can perform all of these activities and only the owner. The rule of only one person “owning” your business page makes it hard  for your company’s social media team to distribute duties since only one person will be able to update the account. As one blogger put it, “if the brand needs to say something to customers in a high-touch, high-service business like ours (we have customer service people posting and answering phones and talking on chat 24 hours a day 365 days a year) they will need to wake me up to get me to post something? Really?”

Another drawback for the business pages is the inability for fans to directly post on your wall, as currently they can only offer comments on a post that you have already made. Isn’t one of the main initiatives of business pages that customers can interact with you?

Pages can follow people but can only do so once they have been followed. But once you have been added, you can add them to a specific circle and tailor your communication based on location, interests or other relevant categories, which is a great feature. You can also lock posts within a certain circle, making the content exclusive to them. Another way of making content exclusive is by hosting a Hangout with say your breaking stories, enticing people to want to be a part of your Hangouts if they want the inside scoop. The Muppets got creative with this feature by offering a chance for followers to chat live with Miss Piggy.

What will you offer in a Hangout with your company? Get creative, the possibilities are endless!

I do think that Google+ business pages have really great potential to be a strong brand communication tool. Facebook pages obviously have a head start with their already existing communities, but Google+ pages have a one up with its search features, I mean its parent company is Google! Google+ Direct Connect will immediately take you to a Google+ page just by putting a “+” in front of your search query and once you are there you are given the option to add the page to your circles.

Although this feature is not widely available to all pages yet, once it is, it will be a very direct and easy way for fans to get information right from the brand, creating the opportunity for Google+ business pages to be a strong source of information and brand communication.

As for hosting giveaways and contests, Google+ has banned these actions and are currently only allowing you to display a link to where your promotion is hosted. I can understand that Google+ is doing this to protect themselves from any potential liabilities associated with promotions but since Facebook is now allowing Apps for hosting promotions, it will be interesting how long this policy lasts and how it will unfold.

Videos on Social Networks

How often does your company create and share videos? What kind of content are you putting in them and are you seeing positive results in return? If not, check out this Infographic for some insights.

Also getting a lot of attention this week has been the use of social media for bullying. Teens have a very dominant presence on social networking sites, which opens a new channel for them to be bullied; sadly making it a reality that bullying doesn’t end when the school day does. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute and supported by Cable in the Classroom found that the majority of teens using social media are having positive experiences but unfortunately there are still those that are facing negative experiences. Below are some of their findings.

It’s unfortunate to see that younger teenage girls and black teens are having the hardest time on social networks but its not all bad news: 27% of teens online will defend the victim who is being harassed and 20% will tell the person to stop being mean and cruel.

Social Media Roundup for November 4, 2011

Gmail’s New Look

Google seems to be ever-changing and upgrading these days. This week they released the new Gmail and Google Reader layout. The new layout is supposed to be about making your view more streamlined and efficient, although some users have a different take on this. Eventually, most of us will get used to the new layout, but lost functionality is a different story. Negative posts and reactions have been voiced, mostly pertaining to the changes to Google Reader, where you can no longer one-click share to social sites unless it’s to Google+. Check out the tweets that turn up when you search for @googlereader in Twitter:

Not only are people angry about this change for future sharing, they were also given no warning and so people that have used Reader to push content to their sites or blogs have lost that content. A little heads up would have been nice! The root issue behind this change is that it is disrupting the communities that we have formed and people can no longer communicate and share with their community, at least not through your Google Reader. And having to +1 something before it can be shared can even make people not want to share at all. How do you feel about having to share publicly first if you want to share with your network? A former Google employee even offered his services to come back on a contract to fix the Google Reader.

Google’s New Search Algorithm

Another update from Google this week is talk about their new infrastructure, Caffeine, which makes crawled content available in our search results more quickly because as soon as a page is crawled, it’s made available in our searches. Now it is reported that not only will results be “fresher,” it will also change 35% of your search results. This will impact your searches related to recent events or trending topics because Caffeine will be able to crawl those news stories or posts that people wrote maybe only minutes ago while they are at an event like Occupy Toronto. This seems a bit like Twitter where your searches will always be updating. If you search something in the morning, your results could very well be different by lunch.

Because I use Google often for research, I’m excited about this change. For example, if I want to know the best practices for measuring social media engagement, I can type this in and Google will now pull up the most recent reports and studies on this topic. If I did the same research a year from now, I would not want to see those same reports, because they are now outdated.

Another type of search this “freshness” factor is great for is when you are searching an event that is regularly occurring. Now, Google will know that when you type in “Who went home on America’s Next Top Model last night,” you will see highlights from this week’s episode and not say from Cycle 7, several years ago. Now you can make your searches with less thought, you don’t have to think about dates and specific keywords because it’s like Google is in your head, it knows what you want to see and read about.

This seems great – who doesn’t want the most recent news? But there is a potential downside, too. Although a story may be the most recently posted, this doesn’t always mean it is the most up-to-date. Think about people reading stories and then sharing them on their own blog. Their blog post may occur a few days after the original story, making it more “fresh,” but there is no promise that there haven’t been more updates to the story since the original story. So we must be careful.

Social Timing Insights Infographic

Speaking of “freshness” and timing, check out this Infographic for insights in social timing.

When your brand is posting on Facebook and Twitter, are you thinking about what your customers are doing at that moment? You wouldn’t want to post when most of your audience is busy and your update just gets pushed down their News Feed, so they may not see it. This Infographic gives us insight into when customers are most receptive so that you can reach the most customers and achieve maximum engagement.

Social Media Roundup for Oct 28, 2011

#occupywallstreet: where it all started

Last week SMG provided  National Post with insights behind the Occupy Wall Street movement using English language Twitter data. We know that the whole thing started with a single tweet from Adbusters (Vancouver-based, not-for-profit magazine) on July 4th.

I don’t know that anyone could have predicted that a simple Twitter hashtag #occupywallstreet could spread across Twitter and ignite a global movement.  This week Mashable did a Q&A session with the Co-Founder of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn -  providing  insights from the architect behind this huge trending topic. Like the rest of us, when Lasn first created the hashtag, he didn’t expect that it would cause this much attention, at least not globally. Below are some of the quotes from Lasn:

“I think that social media played a critical part, but I think it was triggered, it was catalyzed, sparked by creativity, but also people coming up with magical hashtags and posters and above all, having the geopolitical savvy to realize that the moment was right on September 17.”

“It started off with a poster in the middle of Adbusters magazine and #occupywallstreet with the hashtag on our cover and then it started off when the Twitter feed started going crazy with that hashtag. Then of course after that it began to have a life of its own.”

“I wasn’t surprised that it created a big havoc in New York because we knew this [was an] invitation to occupy the iconic center of global capitalism, Wall Street. I knew that was a very provocative move and if we could get a few thousand people out there that this would be an incredible moment. But when it started to spread to Chicago and Los Angeles and San Francisco and now it’s creeping across the border to Canada, then I just sat there in front of my TV set in wonder.”

Steve Jobs Biography finally hits the shelf

Everything about Steve Jobs hits the front page, even after his death. Steve Jobs’s biography by Walter Isaacson finally hit the shelves (physically and virtually) on Monday, Octobar 24th. Like most of his products, the book immediately climbed to the top of the charts and is believed to be this year’s top seller. Some highlights from the book that got a lot of buzz this week include: Jobs’s take on Android as a “stolen product”, and Apple’s secret development of a TV-Set with the “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

On our reading list, this book is not only about Steve Jobs as a individual, but also the history and future about Silicon Valley and personal computing.

Topguest’s upcoming white label service

Topguest is a loyalty program which rewards users for engaging with brands on social networks.  Customers collect airline, hotel and other travel reward points for their social networking activities. The company just revealed that it has five million Facebook users in its database.  The company has announced this week that they will release a new white-label service this fall which will allow brands to to integrate with their services and to offer rewards to engaged customers.

In a study released by Bain & Company this week, we again see the direct correlation between consumers engaged with brands via social networks and sales:

People who engage with brands via social media demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to those brands, and they spend between 20% and 40% more than other customers on the products and services offered by the brands, according to a report by Bain & Company.

Using the Net Promoter Score* (NPS) method to measure customer loyalty, the study found that  on average, customers who engage with companies via social media (e.g., following a brand on Twitter, liking a brand on Facebook, or joining a branded community) spend more buying products and services than other customers.

 

Facebook’s new way to recover a lost password

I keep a spare key at a close friend’s place in case I get locked out of my home. Have you ever imagined that we could (or should) do the same in digital world? I wouldn’t think it was necessary to do so before Facebook became pervasive. But for the past six years, Facebook has been brought our real life and digital life together, now it is going to move a little step further.

Facebook is testing a new method for users to recover their password. Instead of going through the ‘forget your password’ process, you retrieve a code from your Trusted Friends (Users first have to designate three to five friends they trust) to access their Facebook account.

 

Social Media Round Up Oct 21st: Content marketing around the 'net

“Content is King”

Content marketing is one of the most discussed topics at SMG everyday, and this week we would like to share some of the conte-related items that caught our attention with you. For those of you not entirely familiar with content marketing, I think this short interview Social Examiner did with C.C.Chapman, co-author of Content Rules,  should provide the basics.

From the interview, Chapman explains his definition of content and why it is important for brands,

“Content has been around forever, since we were kids. We’ve been creating content whether we called it content or not. We email newsletters, print ads, radio ads, all that is content. So it’s nothing new, we’ve known content marketing forever. The problem is, now in the internet, anybody can create content, publish content, get it out there. And let’s face it, there are a lot of them coming out, there is a never ending stream of content coming out. So doing content marketing and doing it smartly and strategically is the thing that’s hard and gets people lost. You maybe doing it, but you maybe doing it the way you did 10 years ago, but your customers are not the same as they were 10 years ago.”

He makes good points. Now with social networks it takes a lot more consideration and planning for brands to create content, even for the entire marketing strategy.

What does Content Marketing mean for B2B companies?

Now let’s take a look at content marketing for business-to-business companies.  Research conducted by eMarketer.com has presented insights on how Content Marketing helps B2B companies to boost their lead generation effort. eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher, author of this new report says:

“Informative, nonpromotional content in the form of webinars, white papers, videos, blogs and peer recommendations on social networks and forums can attract prospects,”

“It can also be used to build and maintain ongoing relationships with potential buyers—a must for remaining top of mind throughout the purchase process.”

The figure below shows the different effects generated by different types of contents for B2B and B2C  companies.

Based on the research, Fisher continued:

“Online content is the fuel for the new B2B marketing lead generation engine,”

“In creating informational, educational and actionable content in the form of white papers and webinars, marketers can effectively lure early-stage buyers into their sales pipeline.”

“By mixing this content with comparative, company-specific and interactive content—and regularly sharing it via email or e-newsletters—marketers can build relationships designed to nurture prospects throughout the sales funnel.”

Content Marketing and  SEO

Good content assets go far. This infograph from Brafton shows that a good content marketing strategy helps brands to deeply engage with their customers and helps the brand to boost SEO ranking on search engines.

 

Social Media Roundup for October 14th

Apple’s Releases

With the release of iOS 5 to the public on Wednesday and the iPhone 4S hitting stores today, there has definitely been some Apple buzz and excitement around the office. It’s been reported that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have broken the company’s records from previous years, which I find quite interesting after all of the complaints and disappointment expressed last week when the iPhone 4S was unveiled instead of the iPhone 5. Check out this Funny or Die video taking a crack at all the disappointment.

But despite the lack of an iPhone 5, it seems people just cannot help themselves but to upgrade! I have to say, Siri sounds pretty cool and could definitely provide some amusement. Even just going through this blog is a good time-waster. What would you ask your iPhone?

And the phone can’t be too much of a let down if the Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak was first in line at the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California! He tweeted, “The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed.” He’s obviously a long-time Apple fan and I think its great that he wants to join in and stand in line with the rest of the fans!

RIM’s Outages

While things are all happy over at Apple, RIM has taken a hit this week due to their service disruptions and outages worldwide. Many Blackberry users took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to complain and there was even talk about finally being fed up and switching to the iPhone or Android. (Maybe this contributed to Apple’s highest pre-orders record?) Both Maggie Fox and Leona Hobbs were quoted in the press this week, in The Star and Financial Post respectively, commenting about how RIM’s CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie handled the public relations fallout. See what Maggie had to say here and what Leona had to say here.

Wall Street Protests

Also in the news this week has been the Occupy Wall Street protests and the use of social media in its organization. There are many angry people and there are no signs of their confrontation going away, not when almost all of the protesters have a smartphone and are active on social media networks to regularly spread the word as far as they can. More people are engaging in social networks to get people to come out and join them. Some commented that they heard about it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter and that the turnout was so strong due to social media. We can really see the significance of social media and why engaging in it is so important to stay in the know and up-to-date. It really is the strongest tool today to bring people together and connect with others that are feeling the same way as yourself.

 

Social Media Roundup for Sept 30th

As Facebook has been on our front page for the past two weeks,we feel like we’ve missed out some big movements in the social media world.  We certainly have some catching up to do, so does Google.

On September 20th, two days before Facebook’s f8 conference, Google+ announced it is now open to the public, and has 9 new features, which added up a  total of 100 updates since it launched three months ago.

  • Hangouts on your phone finally works on Android(version 2.3 or greater) powered mobile phones. We can now video chat with friends from our Circle or join other people’s conversation while on the go.
  • Hangouts On Air allows us to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator.
  • Hangouts with extras include several net new functions which enable us to do things more than chatting.
    • Share screen with our friends through Screensharing
    • Draw, doodle or just scribble together on Sketchpad
    • Google Docs is now supported on Google+
    • Named Hangouts for when we want to join or create a public a private hangout about a certain topic
  • The Hangouts API is now available to developers to build new apps and games off of
  • Search in Google+ lets us search for relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web

After Google+’s announcement,  research estimated that the site has received about 15 million U.S  visitors last week, which was 13 TIMES more traffic then the week before!  Furthermore, according to a Google+ statistician Paul Allen:

“The growth rate has skyrocketed to rates we only saw during the first week of its field test”

Registered users on Google+ went up 30% in two days to an estimated 43.4 million – the biggest growth since its first beta launch three months ago.

Now let’s get back on Facebook,  as today is the day Timeline is going to be rolled out to regular users (if you have signed up earlier).  Be prepared!

Social Media Group’s upcoming webinar with Social Media Today!

We are proudly to present our next webinar with Social Media Today. Tom Foremski and Steven Rosenbaum will join us to discuss:

Is Curation the New Journalism?

Where journalists used to be the trusted agents for reporting on the ground and fact-checking stories before publication, every Web user is now a potential journalist.  And as the deluge of user-generated information gathers strength, finding out what’s important to people in their private and working lives becomes more and more challenging. How to sort between truth, half truth and falsehood? Technical filtering can’t (yet) match human capacity to discriminate between useful content and garbage. This is the increasingly vital role of the online curator. The discussion will examine to what extent curation is becoming integral to journalism, and whether bloggers and tweeters can adequately play the the reporting role of journalists.

We’ll cover the following questions, as well as your own:

  • What’s the difference between curation and journalism?
  • How does factchecking work in the blogosphere?
  • What are emerging best practices for online curators?
  • Can the hive mind of the Internet match the formal editorial structure of a traditional news organization when it comes to producing accurate reporting and analysis of current events?

Register to the Webinar and  join us on October 4th  at 12pm EST/9am PST. It’s free!

 

The New Facebook – Social Media Roundup for September 23, 2011

With the recently passed F8 Developer Conference, Facebook’s spotlight from last week has continued into this week and I think it may hold onto that spotlight for a little while longer as the new features roll out, which started happening on Tuesday night.

New Features:

#1) Top Stories

Facebook has replaced the old News Feed with a smarter feed. Whether you are on Facebook every day or not all that often, the new feature will let you know the “top stories” since the time you last logged on, so you don’t have to go through everything or miss out on important news. How does it do this? By simple actions such as hiding something on your News Feed and using the new control in the top right of each story to unmark something as a top story, Facebook gets a better idea of what you want to see. In other words, it starts thinking, “What would Kirsten be interested in seeing?”

#2) Timeline

The old Facebook didn’t seem to have the best representation of an individual, as it only offered a snippet of our current life. Say, if I added a new friend, they would only be able to easily see what I have been up to within the last week or so but the new Facebook Timeline allows for friends to see the highlights of my life (whatever I choose to share of course) and this can be kept on my Timeline forever, dating back all the way to birth!

Check out this video for a little introduction to the Timeline:

#3) Real-Time Ticker

You never have to leave; it’s a one-stop shop! With newly formed partnerships, you can watch a show on Hulu, listen to a song on Spotify or stay updated on current events with Yahoo News and you can let all of your friends know what you are “watching,” “listening,” or “reading.” These types of notifications will show up on another one of the new features, your real-time Ticker. This sounds like a great marketing opportunity. If you see that a lot of your friends are “watching” the Grey’s Anatomy premier, maybe you want to tune in too?

This is all great but that real-time Ticker will keep changing as updates keep happening. How does a brand become important enough to a find a permanent place in your timeline? This is the real opportunity for a brand to build a relationship with you and get on your Wall so that your friends can see the brands you are loyal to. This is the challenge that seems to be ahead of us.

Here’s the results from a Mashable poll asking people how they feel about the new Facebook:

How do you feel?

Finally, check out this video of Andy Samberg impersonating Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 2011 for some end of the week giggles.

 

 

Facebook Rules, Rolls Changes: Social Media Round Up for September 16, 2011

This past week in the world of social media was all about Facebook

Facebook rules. Stats released this week show it continues to be the dominate social network. According to the latest Nielson Social Media Report (Q3, 20011) released this week, U.S netizens have spent over FIVE MILLION minutes (equivalent to approximately 102 years) on Facebook up until May, 2011. Time spent on Facebook is far more (100 times) than the time spent on Twitter, or any other websites.

This week, Facebook introduced several significant updates on their social network services in order to keep its crown as the top social social network in the world. From the Facebook blog:

#1 Improved  Friend Lists

Smart Lists are a new improvement to the existing friends list feature on Facebook. It helps to easily group friends into different lists, and receive updates from or share to different lists of friends. The best part is, Facebook even does the grouping for you!

  • You will see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you – like your school, work, family and city.

Facebook will also allow you to create your own Close Friends and Acquaintances lists, which allows you to see more updates from your best friends, and see less from the not-so-close ones.

The platform now makes Better Friend Suggestions for you to add friends into your  friend lists.

#2 Subscribe button

If the new friend lists are Facebook’s answer to the Circles from Google+, then the brand new Subscribe Button would be their move against Twitter. The Subscribe Button allows users to do three things:

  • To choose what type of content you want to see from your friends news feeds
  • To see certain types of updates from people whom you are not friends with
  • To share content with people whom you not friends with

Generally speaking, the Subscribe Button is very close to the functionality of  the “Follow” Button on Twitter.

#3 “View Share” button

The View Share option hasn’t been officially announced by Facebook yet, however, we heard that Facebook is currently conducting closed testing of this feature. The View Share option will appear on the comment box which allows user to see how people shared your content.

It is not hard to recognize that Facebook forward looking and gearing itself  up for the long haul . What do you think, should we now call it Facebook+?

Social Media Roundup for August 26th, 2011

August is certainly not a quiet month in the tech and social media worlds. This week was a busy one. On the 24th, Steve Jobs, again, successfully announced his latest “mind-blowing” product called “iQuit”… but I think everyone has already seen this news in their feeds and across the front pages, so we won’t spend too much time on that subject!

On the social network front, Facebook and Twitter both made announcements this week.

Lets take a look at Facebook first:

Facebook has made some significant changes to its privacy settings. Users now can now share to specific people or groups, essentially increasing user control over who see what.

Privacy

They also updated their location services. In addition to the existing Places check-ins, users can now add location information to wall posts and photos.

Facebook Location

From allfacebook.com

Here’s a list of the major improvements.

  • The privacy settings are moving toward individual post windows and profiles.
  • Users are gaining the ability to approve tags of themselves in others’ posts and photos.
  • All tags will include an attribution of the person who did the tagging.
  • Places no longer require physical check-ins, so people can add locations to posts, even from the desktop.
  • You don’t need to be friends with someone to tag them in a post or photo.
  • You don’t have to like a brand to tag it in a post or photo.
  • Facebook has changed the word “everyone” to “public” in privacy settings, for clarity.
  • You can customize privacy, or visibility of information, on a post-by-post basis.
  • Users can edit the visibility of individual bits of content anytime after they post.
  • The changes don’t affect mobile users, at least not for now.

Speaking of Twitter:

Twitter has begun its new photo sharing feature to its users. The new photo service allows users to attach photos with their tweets, which could pretty much replace the similar functions provided by 3rd party vendors such as TwitPic over the past years. It means that users can now generate richer content on Twitter than merely text. But on the other hand, the new function makes Twitter feeds resemble a Facebook wall post, which has always allowed users to share many types of media content.

Twitter photo

Are we forgetting about Google+?

Last week at a Social Media Today Webinar, Our CEO Maggie Fox presented some of the latest stats of Google+ as it approaches its two-month birthday. Instead of going into detail on people’s reaction to functionally, I think it is better to let the numbers do the talking.

From singlegrain.com

  • 74% of Google+ users are male

Top 10 Occupations of Google+ users

  1. 10.05% Software Engineer
  2. 10.77% Designer
  3. 13.57% Developer
  4. 24.56% Engineer
  5. 4.88% Writer
  6. 4.23% Web Developer
  7. 3.67% Software Developer
  8. 3.05% Programmer
  9. 3.05% Photographer
  10. 2.79% Artist

Google+ has gained over 25 million registered users in about two months. But the question is, how many active users are there?  Or let me ask you this, when was the last time you checked your Google+ account and saw new feeds from anyone of your circles?

It is not hard to recognize that some of the latest changes Facebook and Twitter made align to the aesthetics of Google+.  So do people really need Google+ if other platforms are offering the exact same services? I think we are all still looking forward to see what Google will do next in the social space battle.