Google+ is Google’s new social network. It takes aim at both Facebook and Twitter, but I think its unique intersection of features also positions it to succeed LiveJournal in a way that neither Facebook nor Blogger ever could.
Let’s back up a bit. What is LiveJournal?
LiveJournal, orÂ Zhivoi Zhurnal as its Russian userbase calls it, is a social network masquerading as a blogging platform. It started in 1999, 3 years before Friendster, and provided:
- Fine-grained access control to individual posts
- Ability to group your friends into circles
- One-way friend relationships (so you could be a follower of someone without them friending you back)
- An equivalent to Facebook’s News Feed years before FB filed a patent on it
Google+ has all of these features. Not just that, but it exposes them much better than inertia-laden LiveJournal ever did, and it is amenable to long posts.
LJ is a smaller fish than Facebook, with only 32,000,000 friends of whom only 2,000,000 are active, but targeting this community could give Google a sufficient core of users to take on the Facebook behemoth.
Will LiveJournal users migrate? I’m not sure. LiveJournal satisfies several rather different demographics. 48% of its active user base is Russian, exemplified by President Dmitry Medvedev and various photoblogs. There’s a big celebrity news community called Oh No They Didn’t. There’s also a significant scifi and comics fandom userbase exemplified by Scans Daily that is already moving to a clone site called DreamWidth. Some of these groups may be more amenable to the lure of Google+ than others.
I can say that the circle of people I met back when I had a journal on Slashdot in the early 2000s migrated to G+ overnight, and LiveJournal fostered and fosters similar communities. They could very well follow and give Google the critical mass that it craves.