Buzz: Lukewarm Vibrations

by Meryl Evans | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media 3 comments
Image by YoavShapira via Flickr

Google has already apologized for some of the problems with Google Buzz. One of those being Buzz automatically followed some users, a big no-no. The company may have said it was limited to people you emailed frequently, but that wasn’t the case for most of us.

Aside from that, Buzz has mixed reviews and a long list of things that need changing. I’ve listened. I’ve participated. I’ve complained. Yet, Buzz still has my attention. Like an infant, it has cute moments and messy ones. It still needs nourishing before determining what it will be when it grows up.

Using Buzz

Because I always have Gmail open, the growing number of new Buzz is distracting as it grows much faster than email even in spite of my being very selective about who I follow. I’m organized when it comes to my email and maintain inbox zero. It’s easy to see why the new Buzz messages annoy and frustrate people especially when the number climbed to 100.

It took a week to get used to that in the same way I let my newsletters and alerts labels sit with over 100 new messages. Those two labels have hundreds of new messages because those messages are “as needed” messages. So I applied the concept to Buzz and the annoyance factor dropped. Or I click “Buzz” and the number starts over.

Although some folks said they turned off Buzz soon after trying it out, I haven’t written it off because it’s new and evolving. First, I want to understand it better and figure out how to use it efficiently should it find its way. Twitter wasn’t a smash hit in the beginning. Neither were blogs. Facebook was limited to college students. Second, I’m stricter about the people I follow in Buzz than I am in Twitter. If I find someone I follow is Buzzing a lot of useless content, then I stop following without regret.

I haven’t decided if it’s a good idea to funnel my tweets into Buzz. I don’t blog daily, so tweets keep me out there. I’ve created new Buzz a couple of times and comment on Buzzworthy items. I haven’t tried using Buzz for any articles I write.

One-way Interaction

Buzz can import your blog entries, tweets and other content. However, if you reply to any of these, they stay right in Buzz. Well, when I see a tweet from Twitter in Buzz, I go in Twitter and reply there instead of within Buzz. Google lost an opportunity here. What if Google adds a checkbox that asks if I want the reply to go to the original source. Hence, if the source is from Twitter, the reply shows up in Twitter.

Google likely did it this way on purpose to keep people in Buzz. But some will go around it like I did. I hardly think I’m the only one to think of this.

Yes, Facebook lets you import the same information and keeps replies right inside Facebook. I just expect more from Google because many of Facebook’s users don’t use other social media applications.

Twitter Fail Whale = Buzzportunity

Recently, Twitter experienced serious fail whaling. People asked if Twitter was failing in Facebook and Google Buzz. Buzz was a better place to find out than Facebook. Again, so many people in Facebook don’t touch Twitter or any other social media. Those of us in conversation mode buzzed about other things knowing Twitter whaled out.

Multi-communication Integration

I don’t think Google, Facebook and Microsoft are onto anything in combining status/buzz with email. (Facebook is trying to build up email to become a powerhouse like Gmail.) When I want Twitter updates, I go receive them and nothing else. Not email. Not trivia. Not games. Nothing. Just short status updates and direct messages (DM). Of course, I could be wrong about this.

Buzz integration with email doesn’t work for many. It creates more noise and people haven’t come to the point where they want multi-communication opportunities thrown at them. They would rather have a choice, but a choice that goes beyond turning off Buzz. Perhaps, a way  to access Buzz outside of Gmail.

I remember when Newsgator would deliver feeds as Outlook email. I never liked that idea. When I tried it briefly, it overwhelmed me more than Buzz because it took more effort to delete those messages.

Social Media Expert: Is There Such a Thing?

Buzz demonstrates exactly why no one can be an expert in social media. Social media evolves and fast. New things pop up. You can’t become an expert on what works and doesn’t work as soon as it comes out. You have to see how people respond to it as they learn their way around.

Nonetheless, Google has accomplished one thing for itself — Buzz keeps people in Gmail longer as several have admitted this.

What do you think lies ahead for Google Buzz and unborn social media?

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  • Posted by Bill
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