First Impressions on Google Buzz

First Impressions on Google Buzz

Google jumped on the social networking bandwagon this week with the launch of Google Buzz, and even though it has only been three days, everyone is already taking sides.

(And by ‘everyone,’ I mean early adopters with Gmail accounts. And by ‘sides,’ I mean sentiments ranging between ‘we’ll see’ and ‘epic fail’).

Where do I fall in that range? Not sure yet. But here are some of my first impressions of Google Buzz:

It’s just that… It’s just buzz.
Remember when Wave and Voice came out and everyone was talking about it? What ever happened to those? I guess people like them. I guess people still use them. But beyond the initial launch, it doesn’t seem like they made much of an impression. Is Buzz headed down that same path?

Wednesday morning, when I tried to sign on to my GMail, I was prompted with the option to use Google Buzz. After having to beg others for invites to Wave and Voice, I was not about to miss the boat on this too. Did I really need this application? No, not at all. I just wanted to see what all the ‘buzz’ was about (get it?!).

Bottom line, I just didn’t want to be left out of the #buzz conversation on Twitter.

It should be necessary for me, but it’s not.
I literally can’t get through a day without using some sort of Google application.
I use Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, Blogger, GChat and Google Reader. Oh, and my HTC Droid is linked to Google too.

So using Buzz should be natural for me, right? It should be an easy way to combine most of these applications I already use, right? Eh, not really. So far, it just seems like another thing to check.

It’s not Facebook.
Notice all the networks you can connect to on Buzz. Which one is missing? I’m not going to try to analyze Google’s strategy, but if you ask me, they are trying to steal the social networking market away from Facebook.

Newsflash: not gonna happen. Facebook has over 250 million users. That means over 250 million people think of Facebook when they think of connecting and sharing content online. You can’t change that by coming up with an application that is a little different. You can’t try to imitate it. The only way Buzz will work is if it can prove it’s different from Facebook, and not just a competitor.

It’s just more clutter.
Maybe it’s just me, but with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Social Media Club of Saint Louis, and countless others, I’m starting to see a little too much overlap. If I see your status update on Facebook, do I need to see it on Twitter too? If I read your blog post on my Google Reader, do I need to scroll though it again on Buzz? I understand linking your profiles. I understand cross promotion on different platforms. I’m just wondering when enough is enough.

It’s moving too fast (or at least marketers want it to).
This week, pretty much every business/marketing/advertising website put out articles telling you how you can leverage the power of Google Buzz for your business.

Slow down, people.

Facebook launched in 2004. Twitter launched in 2006. And marketers are just now starting to use them. I’m all for embracing new media, but you have to let that new media grow on its own first.

Maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe in a year or so, someone will dig up this post online, laugh, and say, ‘What a fool she was?!’

But I’m not writing Google Buzz off just yet. I’m giving it a chance and maybe (hopefully), I’ll be able to come back with a long list of things I love about it. And the big question marketers are wondering is how Google Buzz is going to impact business. Only time will tell.


imageDanielle Hohmeier writes about marketing and design in the digital world for Atomicdust, with a focus on marketing convergence and social media.

Danielle Hohmeier

As Senior Marketing Manager at Atomicdust, Danielle Hohmeier develops focused and effective social media and content marketing strategies for clients. This includes identifying the audiences, appropriate channels and key content categories, and finding SEO and SEM opportunities.

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