How Will Politicians Utilize Google’s New Social Network?
There has been much discussion among journalists, technophiles, and ordinary Americans about the new social networking site, Google+. With a new report estimating the social network will bypass 10 million users this week, there have already been questions about whether or not Google+ will replace Facebook as the social network of choice--this debate only intensified when Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was listed as the most followed person on Google+.
Social networks have clearly become an important place for political discussion. Many politicians, including President Obama, have held town hall style events on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, while other politicians have begun to rely on these outlets as their main conduit for communicating with the public. However, there are many new and interesting innovations on Google+, especially as they relate to political communication, which could alter how politicians use social networks.
The more targeted nature of the social networks (or circles) on Google+ seem to tap into an important and growing trend in political news--a move towards a niche news model where information is tailored to specific cohorts of the electorate. The social circles allow users to selectively share with particular groups within their personal network, rather than sharing everything with their entire social network.
It has yet to be seen how politicians will utilize Google+, but that hasn't stopped widespread speculation about its future applications. Politicians' ability to customize their message for distinct factions of their constituency has the potential to change the way they communicate with people online.