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June 2011

How Google+ Nailed The Invite and Introductory Experience


Yesterday I published a post that highlighted the awkwardness of being one of the first on a social network platform.  An empty network is not much of a sample experience, is it?

Google+ however, did something quite brilliant.  They gave every new member of Google+ 500 new invites.  This drove a unique and simply brilliant dynamic.

  1. By slowly distributing initial invites, Google allowed buzz and demand to grow.
  2. Google made invitations from friends the primary way to gain access.
  3. Google integrated inbox contacts, making inviting friends simple.
  4. Google gave everyone with Google+ access to 500 invitations for friends.  While everyone and their sister were looking for access, those in the know were able to help virtually all the friends they could find.  Great social currency move!
  5. As everyone is exploring the platform for the first time together, they had something to talk about in Google+, namely the Google+ experience.  What fun!
  6. When one invites a friend, they are added to a "Circle", creating a social subscription.  The network growth defined the network!

My thoughts?  This is interesting.  This is worth talking about.  This is something I will continue to come back to for a while now, at least while it's fresh.  How will I use this as opposed to Facebook?  I really have no idea.  How about you?

The Irony Of Google+ Invites and Pundits

GooglePlusUpdate: Eating a bit of crow.  Update here.  

So you're one of the lucky few to gain access to Google+.  You're elite.  You're special.  And chances are you are all alone.

A phased or scaled roll out makes all the sense in the world when one is trying to build buzz and excitement.  We can all remember clamoring for an invite to Gmail and then feeling elite and special when we had to choose which of friends and family members would get one of our invites.  And the minute you gained access to Gmail you started emailing your friends to show off.  

Because Gmail gave you access to you email social network.

But when early invitees log into Google+ they won't have the real Google+ experience.  Because unlike email, social networks require friends on the network.  

So please, take the punditry and early reviews with a grain of salt.  Because none of them know what it's like to be deeply and truly social with their social networks on this platform.  At this point, it's a lot of talking to yourself.  And trust me, even I can bore the hell out of myself.

Intel Museum of Me - The Rich Facebook Data and Privacy Tutorial

Last week Intel launched a beautiful, creative, visually stunning campaign micro-site/app called The Museum of Me.  The premise is simple: give the app access to your Facebook data, and it will create a walking tour of a museum exhibition all about your life.  This exhibition features your friends, your updates, your wall posts and comments, your photos, videos and your social graph.  The visuals, design and music combine to create a truly touching experience with a substantial wow moment.

And to those that believe this is narcissism, I say get over it.  If looking through your old photos is narcissism, then we're all guilty.  Sure, there are people who will obsesses over it, but for the rest of us, it's a touching experience.

Great Work Intel!

This is effort very well executed effort.  First off, it lives on Intel's domain at - and not on Facebook!  While Intel clearly states that they are not saving your Facebook data, they could use the visitation cookies and on-site data for retargeting, tracking etc.  

Additionally, as a properly deployed Like-able page The Museum of Me displays in Facebook search results.  Intel also features The Museum of Me on their Facebook page.  This is one of the best examples I've come across of great experience architecture.  The experience is easily discoverable, simple, and the end product is stunning.  The experience ends with a Core i5 tagline and a social call to action.  Very well done Intel (and presumably your agency partners).

The Museum of Me As A Privacy Rights and Data Capabilities Tutorial

When the user starts The Museum of Me app they are prompted to give the app access to lots of profile data.  In general, most people either don't consider just how much data they are providing to app developers, or simply don't care.  I don't know too many people who think twice before clicking Allow.  

As with seemingly everyone else in this space, I'm regularly engaged in conversations regarding user privacy.  From a neighbor or relative unloading their privacy concerns during a barbecue, to giving seminars to local high school students on the importance of safe social networking, privacy is a real issue.  

On the flipside, most Facebook creatives don't fully consider possibilities provided by the wealth of data available to them through the Facebook API.  Whereas many Facebook marketing efforts feel bland and impersonal, this data holds incredible promise.

The Museum of Me is fantastic example of the wealth of data exchanged with that little click of the Allow button.  In addition to a stunning creative execution, this is an incredible educational tool.  If you haven't played with it yet, I strongly recommend visiting and checking it out.  And if you are presenting a seminar or series of Facebook API capabilities or privacy 101, this is another great tool in your kit.