Insights from Google’s 216-page analysis of Social Media

Here we are, in low foothills of the second century of electronic media, and already the slogan “All media will be social media” has evolved from a rallying cry into a humdrum truism. But social media remains elusive and rather hard to define, primarily because human social interaction is so complex, varying by context and by situation, and also because of the rapid evolution of social software. Even though it is fairly obvious that two-way conversations will become an embedded feature of every media object, many media companies have struggled to find the best path towards integrating social features into their content offerings.No company’s travails have been more widely publicized and studied than Google’s. The internet giant failed several times in their efforts to launch groundbreaking social features. The list of over-hyped and underwhelming social features includes Google Answers, Orkut, Wave and Buzz. Nevertheless, Google remains determined to embrace the social web.

Take a look at Google’s sprawling 216 page slideshow about social media and friends networks. There is a lot of useful insight in these pages.

* Multi-faceted identity
* Context-specific groups of friends
* Life stage friends lists
* The tension between privacy and collaborative sharing

Get the Atlantic story here plus a link to the full set of slides from Google.…

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