Posts Tagged‘interaction’

Google+: 2 Weeks, 10 Million Users and Me Clawing at the Walls For an API.

The perception in the tech community, at least up until recently, was that Google simply didn’t understand social the way Twitter and Facebook does. The figures support this view too, with Facebook fast approaching 1 billion users and Twitter not even blinking an eye when Buzz came on the scene. Still they’ve had some mild success with their other social products so whilst they might not have been the dominant social platform so I believe they get social quite well, they’re just suffering from the superstar effect that makes any place other than first look like a lot like last. Google+ then represents something of  reinvention of their previous attempts with a novel approach to modelling social interactions, and it seems to be catching on.

It’s only been 2 weeks since Google+ became available to the wider public and it’s already managed to attract an amazing 10 million users. Those users have also already shared over 1 billion articles in the short time that G+ has been available. For comparison Buzz, which I can’t seem to find accurate user information on, shared an impressive 9 million articles in 2 days a far cry from the success that G+ has been enjoying. What these numbers mean is that Google is definitely doing something right with the new platform and the users are responding in kind. However we’re still deep in the honeymoon period for Google+ and whilst their initial offering is definitely a massive step in the right direction we’ll have to wait and see if this phenomenal growth can continue. 

That’s not to say the G+ platform doesn’t have the potential to do so, far from it. Right now the G+ platform stands alone in its own ecosystem with only a tenuous link to the outside world via the +1 button (which ShareThis is still yet to implement and I don’t want to install yet another button to get it). Arguably much of the success of G+’s rival platforms comes from their APIs and with the initial user traction problem out of the way G+ is poised to grab an even larger section of the market once they release their API. I believe the API will be critical to the success of G+ and not just because that’s what their competitors did.

Google+, for me at least, feels like it would be the best front end to all my social activities on the web. Whilst there are many other services out there that have been attempting to be the portal to online social networking none of them have managed to capture my attention in quite the same way as G+ has done. The circles feature of G+ is also very conducive to aggregation as I could easily put all my LinkedIn contacts in Colleagues, Twitter in Following and Facebook friends in well, the obvious place. Then my G+ stream would become the magical single pane of glass I’d go to for all my social shenanigans and those who weren’t on G+ would still be connected to me through their network of choice.

That last point is key as whilst G+’s growth is impressive it’s still really only hitting a very specific niche, mostly tech enthusiasts and early adopters. That’s not a small market by any stretch of the imagination but since less than 20% of my social circle has made their way onto G+ from Facebook the ability to communicate cross platforms will be one of the drivers of growth for this platform. Whilst I’d love G+ to become the dominant platform it’s still 740 million users short of hitting that goal and Facebook has a 7 year lead on them with this. It’s not impossible, especially with the kind of resources and smarts Google has to throw at the problem, but it’s not a problem that can be solved by technology alone.

Google+ is definitely on track to be a serious contender to Facebook but its still very early days for the service. What’s ahead of Google is a long, uphill battle against an incumbent that’s managed to take down several competitors already and has established themselves as the de-facto social network. Unlike like their other social experiments before it Google+ has the most potential to bring about change in the online social networking ecosystem and with a wildly successful 2 weeks under their belt Google is poised to become a serious competitor, if not the one to beat.

Where Did All Your Work Go?

In any workplace you’re going to have people who work at completely different rates to each other. For myself I tend to get given a problem or project to work on and I’ll stay on that one item until I’ve finished it. However I typically finding myself running into a blockage, usually either having to wait on someone else’s work or an external vendor in order to continue working. This leads me to a strange situation, as I will typically have several things going at once all at various stages of being blocked by one thing or another so I’m left with not a whole lot to do. The other side of this coin is that I’m always able to help out others in the office, even when I’m supposed to be working on numerous other projects. This did get me a few raised eyebrows in the past.

I initially put this down to being incredibly efficient at what I was doing and everyone else was just slacking off. Looking more closely at what others had been doing I had noticed that most of them would actually be working in a more parallel fashion, doing several different things at a time and progressing more gradually overall. What this meant for them was that a setback in one of their projects meant that overall their workloads didn’t suffer and they could continue on with their other tasks.

This was an interesting concept to explore when the whole Information Services section took a day off to do an Extended DISC assessment. This produced some interesting results, with the majority of the workplace scoring high on the S rating, the rest I with a few outliers in the D and C categories. I was only high D in the organisation which the instructor picked up on very quickly. I work in a typical government department and having majority of high S workstyles is common, with high D ratings being more common in areas of sales like real estate or consulting. My work profile also came out as the “Lone wolf” someone who strives on a challenge and prefers to lead rather than be led. Apparently this is a good work style to have as a contractor, since I’m usually hired to complete or lead projects that organisations don’t typically have in house skills for.

It was a real eye opener doing the DISC assessment as they also gave us ideas and tools to use so that we could co-operate better as a team with vastly different work styles. I found that instead of blazing in with wild changes I should submit my ideas more frequently with a lower rate of change. This makes them a lot more palatable to the typical S culture of a government workplace, and usually ends up with the project getting quite a lot more support. I tried doing this with my current upgrade project and it went from a re-purposing of server replacement funds to a large scale infrastructure upgrade over the course of a couple months. It really showed the power of proper communication.

So, if you’re like me and you’re constantly finding yourself waiting on others or out of work to do try to figure out your colleagues work styles and work around that. It also works for the other side of the coin here two, if you find one of your work mates finishing their work extraordinarily quickly use them to your advantage. You’d be surprised how much people like us love to help out.