The Buzz about Google Buzz

buzz-day

*Image borrowed from Fast Company.

What is it about something as simple as Google Buzz that has shifted the way people think about online social networking? Years back many of my friends were on Livejournal and posting nearly every day. Then there was a shift to Facebook where we could keep up with one another in short, less intimate status updates. Right around the same time, many folks were signing up for Twitter, which got rid of the rest of the crap on Facebook and just left us with 140 character snippets to express parceled thoughts on a whim. Now we have Google buzz and the reaction is different.

Everyone seems vaguely interested, but slightly hostile towards it and definitely hesitant. Like a dog when you change its food and it approaches slowly from afar sniffing the air. The buzz I’ve been hearing about buzz consists of “how can I keep up with one more thing?” and “Alright, we gotta find a way to combine all this stuff”.

So what has changed folks? Have we just reached a tipping point? If so, why does that point seem to be the same for so many people? Did it just take one person to speak up for others to admit they felt the same way?

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4 thoughts on “The Buzz about Google Buzz

  1. My take on Buzz is that it’s the right tool for the job, but it’s coming in so late in the game, people are tired of changing sites. The average person you and I know (because let’s face it, we know a great many people in common) has accounts across at least 3 if not 5+ social networking sites. Some are all but totally disused (Myspace, Friendster, Orkut, LiveJournal) and some are active but don’t require regular attention (LinkedIn) and then there are the ‘microblogging’ sites (Facebook, Twitter) which work on the premise of tiny updates with great frequency. Buzz probably most closely matches the FB/Twitter model, though it doesn’t have any size limits, so there’s nothing to prevent it from being more LiveJournal-esque.

    I think Buzz will cause Facebook and Twitter to morph themselves in more specialized ways. Myspace has become THE place to have a site if you’re a musician. Twitter may slowly morph into a place solely for following the exploits of famous people… a steady streaming news feed of what your favorite celebrities are up to. Buzz seems to be more clearly aimed at “people who already know each other” situations. Facebook currently has the lion’s share of that market. It’ll be interesting to see if that tapers off with the ability to do all your social networking without leaving Gmail.

    I know I certainly prefer to have all my communications (mass and personal) aggregated in one screen.

    Which makes me wonder, why am I not responding to this via Buzz?

  2. So far I think it seems pretty nice. I don’t have anything bad to say. I was a later adopter for all the other social social networking. Since I got buzz when I checked my e-mail I adopted it pretty fast. I thought there was waaay too much hype for Twitter when it came out. MySpace is just ugly and clunky. I check livejournal and facebook but I don’t need to check Buzz because I already check my e-mail (more than I check my phone even unless I’m expecting someone to call). It also might be because we’re getting older, social stuff isn’t as important because people have other focuses in their lives. Maybe it’s just the Negative Nellies are more vocal.

  3. Yeah, for me, Buzz is just another thing. I’ll use it when there’s a circumstance in which I need it.

    I’m not going to use Buzz instead of Twitter, because it doesn’t connect me with the hundreds of comic fans who are following me there. I’m not going to use Buzz instead of LJ or blogs, since it’s not that. And it’s not going to replace Facebook since the primary thing I use Facebook for is finding old friends and family, and gawking at pictures of them.

    But Buzz seems to be a way for friends to keep in touch, and since it’s already in a place I visit (Gmail) I’m not going to lie and say I won’t use it from time to time. But right now, the only reason I check it is because I have a compulsion to keep my inbox at zero, and that bold number next to the Buzz label tricks me into thinking I just have more unread mail.

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