Google Buzz is a social media product from Google that, as the sticker says, goes beyond status updates and allows you to share updates, photos, videos and more. It is quite an amazing tool, you can share publicly or privately through Buzz, is integrated alongside Gmail and you can connect it to a lot of other social websites to pull in their respective streams of data into your Buzz profile.
I’ve never really swallowed the koolaid though and for a long time I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t onboard, since I’m usually one of the first people to support various new Google products and then it dawned on me – it feels like it is a closed product even through it isn’t.
The whole idea of Buzz, as I see it at least, is to share and connect with people from various different social media platforms in one place. Once the initial connection is made, your group of friends and others can then comment and discuss anything you like about any of the items flowing through Buzz – not that dissimilar to facebook.
My issue with it in general is that for some reason, it feels like a closed product and that I’m writing or publishing into a vault that others can’t easily get access to. If I’m going to spend time writing something, then I want it to be in a place that others can easily find it – like a blog. While information that you publish through Google Buzz can and is crawled by the search engines, it isn’t easily discovered by other people searching on the internet; so my potential to help others who might have had the same problem seems impaired from the offset.
Google spam fighting super star Matt Cutts uses Google Buzz to post things that he thinks don’t warrant a ‘full blog post’ about. If you read through a lot of items on Matt’s site, you’ll quickly see that he typically invests a lot of effort into his writing. My thinking on that front is that, why not still publish whatever he was going to push through Google Buzz and use a different post format for it – an aside for instance. That way, he and his readers don’t have an expectation that it’ll be a hugely detailed or thought provoking piece but at least he is keeping it in his control.
I have the same issue with facebook, which is one of the reasons that I don’t spend any serious amount of time on it – especially when it comes to content development or promotion. I syndicate my blog into facebook, with the intention that if people want to discuss something about the item – they’ll leave a comment on my blog, in lieu of within facebook. I find facebook even worst, in that within a very short space of time – due to the number of connections most people have, any information that someone publishes flashes by and is lost & never to be seen again. facebook is a very point in time or near point in time product and from an editorial stand point, that doesn’t fit that well with me personally.
How do you see a product like Google Buzz fitting into the digital ecosystem? I know it is a great product but at this stage, can’t bring myself to utilise it for writing – even when they might be mostly throw away things.