Home Is Google Plus Causing Facebook & Twitter Usage to Decline?

Is Google Plus Causing Facebook & Twitter Usage to Decline?

I admit: it’s taken me a while to warm up to Google Plus. Several of our team were early enthusiasts, one or two suggesting that it may even replace their use of Facebook or Twitter. That got me wondering: how many Google Plus users are spending less time on Facebook and/or Twitter? I surveyed people on Google Plus about it and also did a bit of unscientific research.

The feedback I received and results from my research show that Twitter usage is indeed decreasing amongst these early Google Plus users. Facebook seems at less immediate risk, because family and non-tech friends won’t be abandoning Facebook for Google Plus any time soon. Interestingly, very few people said that Google Plus hadn’t impacted their usage of Twitter and Facebook. In other words, Google Plus is clearly disrupting both Twitter and Facebook.

I posed the following question on my Google Plus profile: Are people who are using Google Plus a lot finding that it’s replacing their Twitter usage, or Facebook, or both? Or are they using it in addition?

What Google Plus Users Say

My Google Plus post attracted 60 comments, which, incidentally, is considerably more than I got on Facebook or Twitter when I re-posted the same question.

Many said that their usage of Twitter and Facebook had decreased. Yes, there is certainly bias here, given that I asked the question on Google Plus itself. Still, the responses were fascinating.

Sarah Eaglesfield wrote that Google Plus has “replaced Twitter totally for me… and will slowly replace Facebook as more friends get over here.”

Haven’t tested out Google Plus yet? Check out ReadWriteWeb’s guide: How To Use Google Plus

Becca Pollard is “using all three, but am using FB and Twitter less than usual.” Becca is “still trying to figure out exactly where G+ fits in (and wait for others to join).”

Jim Worth said that he had “already greatly reduced my Facebook time, now with G+, my Twitter time is suffering.” He noted that “most of my Twitter crowd moved over here and reduced their tweet time.”

John Stack remarked that “it’s [Google Plus] replaced Twitter for me. I use Facebook for personal friends and always will. Interestingly enough, many of my friends have made the same distinction.”

Perhaps Phillip Wilson sums up the general feeling of these avid Google Plus users the best: “Replaced Twitter, still keeping some connections to Facebook until they move to Google+. Google+ is my main network now.”

2 Examples of Google Plus Power Users Doing Less Tweeting

I then looked at a couple of examples of Google Plus power users, both of whom had previously been avid Twitter users.

The most enthusiastic and prolific Google Plus user on the RWW team is our Lead Writer and VP Content Dev, Marshall Kirkpatrick. I thought it would be interesting to look at Marshall’s Twitter stats, to see if he has decreased his usage of Twitter.

Google Plus launched on June 28, and Marshall was immediately hooked. Since that time there has been a noticeable dip in Marshall’s Twitter activity – although he still does over 20 tweets a day fairly regularly (note: the May figures are low because he was in Brazil at that time). Here is his TwitterCounter chart for the past few months:

Marshall himself feels like he has been publishing to Twitter less,
“because I get so much more conversation on Plus.” This is a common theme that I’ve been hearing too, that the discussions on Google Plus are lively and interesting.

However, Marshall also noted that he still watches Twitter
“as closely as ever,” citing the ecosystem of apps
set up for listening – such as TweetDeck.

The decrease in Twitter activity is more pronounced in another early Google Plus convert, Digg founder and geek rock star Kevin Rose (who provoked a debate when he re-directed his personal website to his Google Plus profile). The below chart from TwitterCounter shows a marked decrease in Kevin’s tweeting since Google Plus launched.

Has Your Twitter or Facebook Usage Declined?

Should Twitter and Facebook be worried about the decline in their services amongst avid Google Plus users? Of course they should. They will point out that these are early adopters and that Google Plus hasn’t proven itself in a mainstream setting yet. But the early adopters are often an indicator of mainstream success (not always – it remains to be seen whether Foursquare ever takes off outside of the young and geeky crowd).

This was an unscientific and somewhat biased survey, so let us know in the comments whether you use Google Plus; and if so, whether your Twitter or Facebook usage has declined as a result.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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