Image via CrunchBase
I've been predicting for at least 6 months that's it's high time for the next big thing in social media. In such a highly and quickly evolving arena, it's seemed very strange to me that the landscape has remained fairly static for a few years now.
Since 2008, it's really been the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The ways that people have used these platforms has changed and the membership of these platforms has rapidly increased. But, the players haven't changed.
For the past year or two, Google has tried to change things up--with Buzz and Wave--but neither did the job. Once I had a chance to try each one out, I quickly lost interest. My gut instinct told me that neither one was "it"--the next big thing.
Google+ is an entirely different story, however. Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to receive an invite from Tim Stanley of Justia (Thanks Tim!) the day after it was released in beta. Within minutes of signing up and playing around with it, I knew Google had gotten it right this time around.
Compared to Buzz and Wave, people are flocking to Google+--and using it--in droves (all things considered). There is constant activity and discussion. This is occurring because there's something about user interface that just works. It's fairly intuitive and the interface is simple and uncluttered.
But what truly makes it different and will make it most appealing to lawyers and other professionals is the Circles. Google+ makes it east for you to group the people that you share with into circles. So when you post something, you can make it visible only to your chosen Circles of users.
This arguably solves the dilemma that many lawyers have encountered in regard to interacting with clients on social media. It also makes it easier for lawyers to share more "lawyerly" posts, which can be too technical for most followers, with only others in the legal profession. It's the perfect solution for lawyers.
The bottom line--my gut tells me Google+ is the next big thing I've been waiting for. Only time will tell if I'm correct. And in the meantime, it'll be interesting to sit back and watch as this social network develops. It sounds like there are a lot of new tools and features that will be released in the very near future.
So, tune in tomorrow and see what happens! And if you'd like an invite, DM me on Twitter or FB with your email address and I'll try to send you one via a work around that I discovered. It works most of the time, but seems to work best if you already have a Google profile set up.
Nicole Black is of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in Rochester. She co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise, and is currently writing a book about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the ABA in early 2011. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at email@example.com.