STATISTICIANS BELIEVE G+ is the second most-used social network on the planet. But drawing that conclusion is down to how you measure "use".
I can only speak anecdotally when I watch scores of college students use Facebook's log-in features to access other parts of the internet. And I know the howls of disbelief that come from Facebook marketing experts who claim you cannot count the presence of the G+ numbering system in someone's Gmail as a use of Google Plus. And in the most authentic version of my real virtual life, none of my immediate family use G+ to share photos, check-ins, or Community discussions. And only a small blip of Irish Twitterspace has the time to swim in the waters of Google Plus. So "activity" is a relative term then. And the "activity" mentioned in this relatively obscure marketing analysis has not been cross-validated by notes provided to investment analysts by Google.
When you look behind the Trendstorm UK research that generated this conclusion about our usage of social networks, you see that every action that you take logged in as a social network’s user can make you an “active user.” That would be actions such as using your Facebook account as your log-in to Flickr. Or using your G+ identity to upload photos automatically to Picasa.
All these data points do matter because all the social networks want to get valid signals that can be used in targeting you as a consumer. Whether it be at the time you're searching for something or through a notification system that is aware of your physical location, better personalisation of social networking actions is delivered through better data analysis of who you are, what you like and what you read, share or do.
We all want a robust collection of free internet-based services. To pay for that convenience, we have to share our social graphs with the service providers and be ready to accept some targeted information front-and-centre in on our touchscreens. I'm getting a Facebook advertising directly in the newsfeeds I read from friends on Facebook and Google adword search results at the top of search queries I make in the street. Those kinds of service-provided actions have just started percolating. I expect much more of the same from Twitter before it reaches IPO.
Anthony Wing Kosner -- "Watch Out Facebook. With Google+ at #2 and YouTube at #3, Google, Inc. Could Catch Up." on Forbes, Jaunary 26, 2013.
Bernie Goldbach teaches social media in the Limerick Institute of Technology.