Google+ and the lesson of Owned vs Rented Spaces

Screenshot 2014-07-28 10.42.54

The pending breakup of Google+ holds a lesson that we should keep in mind: Social networks serve the business interests of their owners first. It’s as simple as owned vs rented spaces.

The terms, conditions and even basic operations of social networks can and do change at the whim of the owners if they see business advantage in this. If you don’t own it, if you’re just a renter, don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning to find the place has been sold out from under you.

Google gave us a stunning illustration of this on Sunday night when, with a Google+ post, Bradley Horowitz signalled the demise of Google+ as we know it.

The changes at Google+ underline something that savvy social media users should remember: Use your owned spaces to post your valuable content and then use social networks to promote it. Your owned spaces are as permanent as you want them to be. Social networks are as ephemeral as the owners want them to be.

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  • I find it’s not that simple Joe. For example, I have my blog that I own and use for long form content. Medium length things I post to Facebook and short things to Twitter, (neither of which I own unfortunately ;-)). I don’t want to post it all on my blog because it’s got a clear focus that the other stuff doesn’t necessarily fit. Yet, I don’t want to pay for another blog to house that stuff. So, at this point, I haven’t found a perfect solution.

    • Hi Robin, I agree with you about needing places for content of different length and depth. However, I generally develop ideas sequentially over several spaces – twitter, Facebook, Google+, Medium and my blog. In effect, I work through different drafts, emphasizing different points, until I reach the final version that I then post to my blog. The blog version is the definitive version that I want to keep and that I will refer back to in future. The others just drift by as part of the stream.

  • Very interesting.
    Except the Google+ post link no longer works.
    Seems as if the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing (Bradley Horowitz)… when the left hand found out, the blog post was removed….

    Or did I miss something….. and where does that leave us with Google Plus?

    Thanks for sharingJoseph

    • Hi Urs, Bradley Horowitz’s G+ post is still there. I’ve corrected the link in my post. It should take you there now.