Who's Winning the Social Media War?

By: Daniel Imbellino
Updated: May 04, 2013

It seems like it was just yesterday that we used to connect to and find everything online using mainly organic search results. social media icons Today the game has changed a lot, with people now connecting to content across the web with the use of social media on a high level. Social interaction on the web is “What’s Hot” today, and it’s likely this trend will continue to grow at astronomical levels in the near future. Gone are the days of ranking for keywords, and optimizing images, etc. Welcome to the new plateau of a socially driven internet where people themselves decide the worth and credibility of content across the “World Wide Web.” While there are many new up and coming social networks lurking right around the corner, the largest social networks today, Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, continue to fight for influence over the users who engulf a now fully digital world we live in today.

It’s a fight to the finish, a battle among the technological giants, and it’s obvious who’s winning and who is not. When it comes to Facebook and Linkedin, it looks like old habits die hard! Twitter has clearly managed to retain its influence among a younger generation who is infatuated with technology, while Google+ takes social interaction to a level never seen before. So, enough said, let’s take a closer look at what each of these platforms has to offer and why they pass or fail the social media grade.

Linkedin:

You’ve got to love this platform. After all, where else can you go to connect with like minded professionals who spam you with messages trying to entice you to purchase their information technology related products and services. Or what about their wonderful groups feature, in which the owners and moderators of the groups delete everyone’s posts and spam their own forums with the products and services they are trying to push (another wonderful feature). And, let’s not forget about their easy to navigate interface with ten million submenus of complete garbage that would have the potential to confuse a nuclear physicist, much less the average person.

Of all of Linkedin’s wonderful features, I’d say it’s the thousands of fake jobs posted on this social platform that really take the cake. The platform is rampant with companies who claim they are searching for talented professionals to fill their employment needs. Upon applying for several positions, in which I completed long and sometimes strenuous job applications there, I was met with an interface asking me for my credit card number! Why on earth would an employer ask you to pay them to submit an employment application? The entire platform is a complete scam, and it fails the grade completely. I’d say for every one real job that is posted to Linkedin, there are 1,000 that are clearly fake. This platform scores a big fat ‘F’ grade upon my comparison of social networks, and scores the lowest among all those compared in this article.

Twitter:

Despite being engulfed heavily by spammers, this platform has managed to retain its influence over social media by tapping into a younger generation who is intrigued by cyber communication. Twitter is hardly socially interactive, as the platform is consumed by trillions of short messages in the form of tweets, but people have found this place to be a safe haven to tell others how they feel at any given moment, and it serves as a way to express opinions about world events on a large scale; a giant consensus if you will.

It’s likely this platform is here to stay. Twitter also serves as a major marketing platform for many of the world’s largest companies and media outlets. However, intellectually speaking, this platform doesn’t have much to offer its users in terms of sharing real knowledge, and for this reason scores a ‘C’ grade among all the social networks reviewed here.

Facebook:

This is another exciting and rewarding platform. After all, where else can you go to get about as much intellectual stimulation as watching your dog Scooby take a dump in the backyard? While this platform serves as a great place to keep connected with friends and families, it hardly provides the nurturing environment we all look for when seeking out others who share our common interests, or are interested in learning from others. The groups feature on Facebook serves no useful purpose other than to view the latest spam messages that were posted. The groups there are heavily spammed, in fact, in my earlier comparison between Facebook groups and Google+ communities I found that Facebook’s largest social media group had not one post related to social media at all! You can view the results of those comparisons here: Google Gains Ground over Facebook! .

Nonetheless, Facebook has managed to retain popularity through its games feeds from Zynga and others. They are also actively working to add new features and functionalities to their interface as quickly as possible. The new Facebook interface? I’m yet to see it other than pictures I found online. It’s slowly being rolled out, but it looks like they clearly copied their ideas from Google+. Because of its lack of ability to connect like minded users together in an orderly fashion, as well as its inability to fight spam, and the fact their user interface looks like something out of 1995, they score a big fat ‘F’ among the comparisons of social networks here. Serves them right too. The first time I ever saw Facebook, my first thought was, “isn’t this design and interface a little outdated?” Don’t get me wrong, we have retro but modern mixed style to this website, but Facebook has no design at all! By the way, users happen to like our design, so we’re leaving it alone.

Google+:

When it comes to overall functionality, this platform wins hands down! Google+ features a real time search engine that indexes content instantaneously as it’s posted. Content can be searched for anywhere on this social platform just seconds after a post is published, this adds real value to users by providing the ability to get up to date information on the fly. Likewise, Google+ clearly had the cleanest and simplest to navigate interface among all social networking platforms we’ve covered so far. Users have the ability to create “Circles” (friends lists), which helps to better organize those who we associate with on a daily basis on many various premises, such as by interest, professional affiliations, friends lists, etc.

The Google+ communities feature serves as a great way for individuals to create a forum based on the subjects they love. Communities also create a nurturing environment for those who want to connect with others who share their interests, and while this social platform is attacked often by spammers, Google has clearly put better spam fighting mechanisms in place that clearly outpace the other social giants on a large scale. Another really good feature about this social platform is the fact that Google has managed to integrate this social platform with all of its other products, such as Gmail, mobile apps, etc. Integration is likely going to be one of their biggest keys to success. Unlike Facebook, Google+ isn’t rampant with Ads either. Google has also made the process of uploading and linking to external content simple, by providing space to all users to store their images, videos, and links. And, let’s not forget to mention Google hangouts, another great feature that makes video conferencing simple, yet it’s totally free.

Google+ serves as a central point of communication for online content creators. Those who implement Google+ Authorship into their online content strategies now have a way to connect with their audiences directly through their profiles, pages, and communities they’ve created or interacted with on the platform. Being able to identify with the creators of content online can add tremendous value to that content. Considering Google’s clean interface, state of the art functionality, integration of products, its ability to provide a means for like minded individuals to connect easily, and it’s easy to learn & navigate user interface, this social platform scores an “A” rating among those social platforms covered in this article.

I think it’s obvious at this point who the real winners and losers are. While Facebook is stuck back in 1995 with its user interface that looks like something out of a children’s coloring book, Linkedin clearly had the worst user interface and user experience among those we’ve compared. Linkedin appears to serve no useful purpose to either professionals seeking to extend their careers or to potential employers themselves. The platform is downright deceitful in every aspect, from its fake job postings, to groups who’s only purpose is to market their owners products and services. In fact, I am yet to meet one person who claimed they ever found a job through this platform.

Twitter is likely to remain and grow in the social media game, especially since this platform is heavily used by a younger, up and coming generation, that enjoys its ability to communicate widely and quickly. Although, as I’ve stated before, it serves no real intellectual purpose to its users, and lacks the ability to connect individuals based on interests the way the Google+ platform does. It will be interesting to see where Google takes its powerful social platform in the coming months and years. It will also be interesting to see if Facebook manages to ever rebound from its failed abilities in providing effective functionality for its users. Only time will tell.

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