Gini Dietrich

Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ News

By: Gini Dietrich | April 12, 2012 | 

It’s been a busy week in the PR/marketing/social world!

On Monday, Facebook bought Instagram for $1B. That’s billion. With a “B.”

On Tuesday, LinkedIn announced they’re rolling out some new features.

And yesterday, Google+ launched a new design that looks scarily similar to Facebook.

All three changes are exciting for marketers, but are driving fear in the hearts of most users. Is it because we truly don’t like change or is all of this really bad?

Let’s take a look at each and you can decide.

Facebook Buys Instagram

The fears from loyal Instagram users (31 million users at the time of purchase) is their privacy will be invaded because Facebook will harvest their information, their streams will be full of ads, or – worse – the company will be shuttered.

I, personally, don’t get why everyone is in an uproar about this. Facebook says they’re going to let Instagram continue running independently. We have nothing to go on, but that. The Zuck has never given anyone any reason to think he’ll go back on his word. And, unlike the CEO of Groupon, the Facebook founder seems to know what he’s doing. If he says he’s going to let it be, I believe him.

But let’s be real. Anything you put online is being harvested. If you don’t want your personal information used in Big Data, don’t use the Internet.

As for ads, I can see that happening. We all have to make money. It’s great we get to use Instagram for free so, if you don’t want ads, you’d better be ready to pony up a monthly fee to use the app. It’s ridiculous to think we can have it for free.

LinkedIn Features

LinkedIn is launching two new features, which are of particular interest to marketers: Targeted updates and follower statistics.

Targeted updates allow companies to segment their followers, just like you can do both on Facebook and Google+.

Now you can create lists by industry, job function, company size, and geography. Then you’ll be able to set updates and discussions to specific groups.

Follower statistics is an analytics dashboard that allows companies to see how effective their updates have been.

Right now, the features are available only to handful of companies, but will be rolling out to the rest of us in coming months.

I can’t see why anyone would be upset by these changes. They sound good to me. Sign me up!

Google+ Design

I like the new design, but I also think they used no internal creativity and, instead, turned to their biggest rival to create it.

It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. I like it a lot better. I’d just like to see Google do something innovative, rather than trying to catch Facebook all the time.

Other than the navigation being on the side (it’s on the top for Facebook) and there being a lot of clean, white space, it could very well be Facebook. There is a sidebar with “people you may know,” friend chatting (messaging on Facebook), trending topics, and people I might like.

I think I like it better. It’ll be interesting to see if it creates an opportunity for more engagement.

What do you think about all of these changes?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • The weird thing about G+ is that not only does it look like Facebook, but it looks like OLD Facebook, from a few years ago. Interesting. 

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller Right?? I like it, but they have ZERO creativity over there. I think Larry Page is too focused on beating Facebook. 

      •  @ginidietrich They won’t beat Facebook at their game. 

        • ginidietrich

           @KenMueller No, of course not. 

        •  @ginidietrich quite frankly, i bet Facebook could compete in search before Google can compete in social. But i hope they don’t. And I’m still not convinced G+ is about search. I’ve been looking at the analytics for a lot of my clients, and not seeing any sort of real bump in search or SEO. I don’t think they’ve found a way to properly connect the two yet

        • ginidietrich

           @KenMueller We see significant search from using G+. Perhaps they’re not using it in a way that’s most effective?

        •  @ginidietrich search? or click throughs on links in G+? I get some click throughs on the links posted there (though I get more from Pinterest, about twice as many), but haven’t seen it enhance anything in search.

        • ginidietrich

           @KenMueller We’ve seen both. One client it’s really helping their search rankings.

  • I agree on Instragram + Zuck. He said they’d let it operate pretty much independently and also try to learn some things from the Instagram team (on how to improve on-Facebook image handling). He’s usually been straight up with his announcements, so I (mostly) trust him on this. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, and for real – people who spend their time complaining about free apps and are outraged if there are ads on it or it costs a few bucks need to give it a rest. Ain’t nothin’ free out there at the end of the day, so everybody’s gotta do what they can. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. Simple.
    G+ is starting to slowly look like Facebook, but one thing they do really well (or rather, how their users are using it) is Hangouts. There are a lot of new opportunities with a multi-video chat technology that works as smoothly as theirs done. My buddy has made a TON of connections very quickly in some very cool niches simply by joining public hangouts, showing up in person, saying hi, and then becoming friends with folks and being invited to their private hangouts, meeting more people in the field, etc. It’s a fast way to integrate into a community you’re interested in. Face to face always wins, and I think G+ is doing that right.

    • ginidietrich

       @NateStPierre Amen on the free stuff. Seriously, people. You can’t pay your rent or mortgage if you don’t make money…neither can anyone else.
      I agree on the Hangouts. We use them to record Inside PR each week and it’s really, really cool! I like them better than video Skype.
      Did you ever get the ketchup bottle open?

      •  @ginidietrich Haha, I did not. I ended up using my roommate’s bottle. And now I have a cut on my finger to boot. #FAIL

        • ginidietrich

           @NateStPierre You are a mess.

  • Without a fundamental redesign of reverse chronological posts in newsfeeds, there’s no way to make a make a design of a social network that encourages posts that looks different. There’s just only so many ways you can slice that newsfeed.
    Remember a few years back when the newsfeed debuted on Facebook, and everyone said Facebook was becoming more like Twitter?
    Overall, I’m diggong the new Google+ design. It’s more intuitive. It’s cleaner. It doesn’t feel cluttered.
    I am interested in seeing where Facebook goes with Instagram. it may remain independent, but I imagine that shareholders will want to see what it can do to make them money.

    • ginidietrich

       @JayDolan I like it, too. I just wish they weren’t so focused on Facebook. If they focused on what they do well (cough, search, cough) they might actually beat them instead of always trying to play catch up.

  • One of the first things I was told when I started in the communications industry was that the only constant is change. And that certainly applies to the technology we have at our disposal to do our jobs.
    As the so-called “experts”, we owe it to those who we support to acknowledge the changes, and learn how they affect the work we are doing, even though it’s in our very nature to reject change.
    Forbes recently ran an article about five lessons we can learn from the late Mike Wallace. #2 was to embrace the possibilities of new mediums. I think that’s totally relevant in this case.
    (And, really, they’re going to change again in six months, so why get bent out of shape?)

    • ginidietrich

       @bradmarley I had a speaking engagement yesterday and one of the questions from the audience was, “Why aren’t you telling us how to use some of these new tools?” My response is always that technology is changing so quickly, you can’t be a master of the tools. You have to be a master of strategy and of measuring your return…and then use the tools that are available right now that make you the most efficient.

      •  @ginidietrich That’s a good point, Gini. When Pinterest really hit it big, it started showing up in a lot of decks as a tool that we wanted to use in our campaigns. But it was solely because everyone was using it. And we thought our clients would want to use it.
        It can be tricky to walk that line between a master of the tools and a master of the strategy behind it. We can only do our best. 🙂

        • ginidietrich

           @bradmarley I LOVE PINTEREST! But I also don’t think you should have a Pinterest strategy. Let’s be real…it’s not exactly hard to use. You can easily test a few things in a few minutes a day and then decide if it’s something you want to incorporate in your marketing strategy.

        •  @ginidietrich Have you played with Springpad? I like the layout and the usefulness for work items, but it’s very similar to Pinterest. It’s like a place to keep all of your “notebooks” on the web.

        •  @bradmarley  @ginidietrich I thought Springpad was more like Evernote? I need to spend more time with it. I ‘ve had it on my phone for some time…. 

        • ginidietrich

           @bradmarley I haven’t tried it. I’ll check it out!

        •  @Lisa Gerber  @bradmarley  @ginidietrich I’ve been poking around with SpringPad since the new version dropped yesterday. Think EverNote + Pinterest. 

        •  @jasonkonopinski @Lisa Gerber @ginidietrich I was just about to type the same thing. That’s essentially what it is.
          Full disclosure: Springpad’s CMO is also the chief innovation officer at the agency I work for. But I would recommend checking it out regardless. I dig the redesign.

        • KimberlyAlexander

           @bradmarley @jasonkonopinski @Lisa Gerber @ginidietrich Thanks for the reminder to check out SpringPad.  Sounds interesting. I wrote it down on a “to research” list awhile back and now remember I never did…come to think of it, where is that list?!  

        •  @bradmarley  @Lisa Gerber  @ginidietrich <waving hello to edwardboches >

  • I just sold Mark Zuckerberg 7000 acres of prime beach front property in Arizona that I don’t even own! I love when suckers are identified. As AOL proved using inflated overvalued stock to buy other businesses can win deals (Time Warner) but they often fail to succeed. So grats to Instagram! And for those freaking out did you really think it would remain ad free and free to use? They had to monetize right? The only misstep for the Instagram folks? They gave away stock at half the facebook sale price to venture capitalists 2 weeks ago.
    I haven’t checked out the changes yet for LinkedIn or G+ I am sadly not well versed in LinkedIn.

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM I said this to you in email last night…if someone offers me $1B for my company, I will ask them where to sign. I wouldn’t care if I gave away stock at half price. I’d be laughing all the way to the bank.

    • @HowieSPM I’m a noob when it comes to linked in as well. I thought it was a place to look for jobs 🙂

  • I touched on google yesterday but I’m not opposed to making it work, just gotta figure it out. You’re right though, Google did get a facebookier look. Kinda like when G+ came out and Facebook copied stuff off them. We ought to create a new platform called Googface.

    And happy anniversary!!!

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius I still contend Google+ is for search only. It’s not really a social networks. But maybe these design changes will create more engagement.

  • I’m tired of the indignation that seems to arise whenever a small startup like Instagram “sells out” to the big guys.  Sheesh, 

    • ginidietrich

       @jasonkonopinski Would you, or would you not, jump if someone offered you $1B? I would. And I wouldn’t care who was upset about it because I’d be in Tahiti drinking fruity drinks and getting foot massages from a cabana boy.

      •  @ginidietrich I totally would – and I’d escape to some remote part of the world. 

        •  @ginidietrich And anyone who says they wouldn’t take the money? Liar, liar, pants on fire. 

        • ginidietrich

           @jasonkonopinski Totally agree. It’s why I just shake my head at Groupon.

        •  @ginidietrich Andrew Mason is easily one of the most arrogant slimeballs in the tech space. 

        • ginidietrich

           @jasonkonopinski I don’t think it’s all him. The two investors at the top are just complete jerks. I’ve never heard anything nice about either of them.

        •  @ginidietrich Them, too. 

  • I don’t get Instagram, especially at a Bill, but take the money and walk (don’t run), guys!  More power to ya!  LinkedIn has been in danger of losing its place in anyone’s heart, so their updates were very much needed and should help some.  I’ll always root for them as well.
    But google+ …. sigh.  I am guessing that there is an internal debate as to what it is supposed to be because there is so much they should be integrating with it – and it’s not happening!  Google has all these “object projects” (to use an urban planning term) that are scattered around on their own that cry out to be integrated into one seamless package that appliance users can make use of.   And it is just not coming together.  
    Look at what they’ve done in the last few months – roll out “Play Store” as yet another stand-alone app/site and re-work google+ in the most derivative way possible.  This is not even close to what they need to do, IMHO.
    Their position with android is impressive, but it will probably never make a ton of money on its own – what it has is an amazing ability to leverage loyal users forever.  They are in the position Microsoft was in circa 1998, except they also have the goods that Microsoft spent years trying to develop – mail, search, news, et cetera.  It should all come together in google+ – but it does not.  
    Meanwhile, the coolest potential tool for curating, PostRank, is being allowed to wither and die after their buyout.  Google reader is just … there.  So many great things and one really obvious place to bring them all together …
    … and they give us Basefook Lite.  Thanks.

    • ginidietrich

       @wabbitoid I like Google+ for search, but that’s about it.

  • Nice pointing out the LinkedIn changes @ginidietrich . Of the three pieces of news this week, the LinkedIn features have me fired up the most. As someone focused on the B2B world, I scratch my head at how much LinkedIn gets the short shrift. 
    And I agree with you on take the money and run. Do you think the Groupon guys now wish they took the $6B from Google?

    • ginidietrich

       @TedWeismann I like what LinkedIn is doing…I think I’ll use it more if, especially when I can target different groups. It’ll be really good for speaking engagement follow-up. Create a list of the people who attended a particular presentation you did and send them information, based on what you discussed. I like it!
      Boy…if I were Groupon, I’d be really mad for making the decision I did. I know they gambled on making more with the IPO, but they failed. Miserably.

  • Let’s point out something…FREE…it’s all FREE. As @MichaelSchechter said in his blog yesterday and some others, WE are the product…we either come or go, say yes or no. It’s business; all in a day’s work. No secret that G+ views FB as its chief rival; if it takes features that make it look more like that to bring in the masses…sigh…OK. Personally, I love G+ (when I get there) as the heavy hitters are playing in my stream.

    •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  MSchechter Google doesn’t really want to do social, but it *has* to to stay competitive with FB.  I’m really interested to see how FB’s rumored search engine is going to shake things up.  

      •  @jasonkonopinski  MSchechter Really? I hadn’t heard of that rumor. I can’t imagine anyone holding a candle to Google’s powered by. I also can’t imagine a FB search engine unless it gave me better ways to find company pages than just a nav menu. For FB inside; not the world…at least that feature should be perfected.

        • ginidietrich

           @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @jasonkonopinski  I would like to see Facebook focus on social and Google focus on search…and not watch them step all over one another.

    • ginidietrich

       @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  There is no reason on earth we expect things to be free without some sort of company targeting us with ads. Either we can pay for the service or expect to be targeted. People have to make money. That’s how it all works.

  • RebeccaTodd

    Excellent point about ads in Instagram- people no longer seem to assign value to intellectual property, especially in the digital space.
    Will these new LinkedIn features be for the paying customers only, or for all?

    • ginidietrich

       @RebeccaTodd I think it’s for everyone. I didn’t see anything to the contrary. But I’ll watch and let you know if I’m wrong.

      • RebeccaTodd

         @ginidietrich Thanks! Also, I was very aware of defending the right to charge for intellectual property, then asking if this LinkedIn update is free. 🙂

        • ginidietrich

           @RebeccaTodd LMAO!!! I totally missed that irony. Hilarious!

  • I don’t care about FB purchasing Instagram because I assume that anything I put online is being used. I assume that any time I use FB some machine somewhere is taking my information and trying to find useful and actionable data.
    As for G+, well I am not bothered by their changes either or the lack of innovation. Sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

    • ginidietrich

       @TheJackB ANYTHING we put online is mined. Anyone who thinks differently is wrong. I had an attendee in a session I presented to tell me everything he puts on Facebook is secure. I proved him wrong…in front of 200 people. 

      •  @ginidietrich Damn. I am sorry I wasn’t there. I could have sold him space on the front page of Google.

        • ginidietrich

           @TheJackB HAHAHAHAHH!

      •  @ginidietrich  @TheJackB ZIIIIIIIIIIIIING. 

  • You know how old couples that have been together for decades start to look alike? That’s what’s happening to the social platforms. 
    The End.

    • ginidietrich

       @Lisa Gerber Or their dogs.

      •  @ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber Or their coworkers…

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich I totally had a sentence about dogs and their owners and deleted. 
          HAHAHA. Ken. no. We don’t look alike. 

        •  @Lisa Gerber  @ginidietrich Yet…

        • ginidietrich

           @KenMueller  @Lisa Gerber  I can think of worse things than to look like Lisa.

        •  @ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber or you’ll both end up looking like JB

        •  @ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber or you’ll both end up looking like JB

  • Well, it’s years that Google doesn’t innovate and just buys or copies from competitors. If the only thing they see is money and making more money that’s what happens. And the main reason why Google is going to fall. Imho.
    I’m not on LinkedIn so I don’t really know what to say.
    As for FaceBook Instagram users are right, they’ll be scannerized to the bones and everything will be sold, in a way or another. I don’t use it so I don’t really care but, as a principle, it isn’t correct. While it’s true that we have to give back something to use something for free this doesn’t mean someone has the right to do what he wants with my personal data. One thing is to have your data clustered and anonymized, another one is that someone in a country, probably not in the USA, will have access to a database which has everything about me. The more companies and corporations use data mining the more they know about you, and you don’t get to know who sees these information and what they’ll do with them. This is not strictly connected with being online. I think that if I’m online I want to have the right to decide what kind of information to share and who can see them. Otherwise phishing should not be considered a crime anymore given that it’s routinely done by corporations (not the impersonating others part but the stealing of personal informatons), and by those who like to know everything about you like some goverments.
    Also given that they make money using my data I want a share of the profits. It’s my life that they are screenin and selling, am I wrong?
    So Zuck will probably let Instagram be more or less as it is, but the Instagram users’ souls, so to say, will become his own property and he will do what he sees fit with them, whatever the users think. Reason why I guess Instagram will be live for a year, or slightly more. At least as what it is now.
    I don’t know if it’s true but beside ads I’ve heard that the bulk of money FB is making, and will make, is by selling users’ data to companies. But which companies, and how they will be used? Who knows.
    The fact that everything is mined doesn’t mean that it’s right, correct, ethical or legal, otherwise many crimes and offenses should be seen as common behaviors.
    Always imho. 🙂

    • ginidietrich

       @Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly Just like anything else online that’s free…we get to use it for free, in exchange for our information. That’s our share of their profits. We’re the product, not the user, in most cases. 

      •  @ginidietrich I see, but first they should state in capital letters upfront something like “This service is free but in exchange we’ll track everything you do and everything you say and sell this stuff to anyone we want” or “If you want to use this free service please sign this piece of paper with your blood”,
        Well, it doesn’t really matter as I’m going to close everything soon except Twitter and StumbleUpon. 🙂
        Happy weekend!

  • Your thoughts on G+ are spot on in terms of the service lacking innovation.  Looking back at how Facebook took market share from MySpace as the social networking service of choice, it was through changes and providing users with a feeling that they were using a newer and better service.
    Acknowledging the similarities you pointed out between Facebook and Google+ the only main difference that users are going to notice currently is that none of their friends are networking on G+.  Sure, many have logged onto the service and created an account, but that’s about it.  I’m not seeing anything Earth shattering there.
    The one key innovation that Google has the potential to tout over Facebook is the potential integration of YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, and maybe even search engine functions.  Regardless of what they decide to integrate as unique features, they will remain a copy-cat of Facebook as you’ve already pointed out Gini.  That’s not getting them any new users.

    • ginidietrich

       @Mark_Miller I’m totally with you. They have a huge opportunity to integrate their other services and apps. Yet…