So, I like Google Buzz much more than I expected. It is more intimate and has a more conversational tone than other social touchpoints. I was having CONVERSATIONS…how often does that really happen?
But that all changed this morning. I agreed to follow someone whom I know. We are “social media” friends. We aren’t real friends. We are in similar industry and from time to time he says something interesting. He is something of a connection hoarder. Scale of connections is very important to him. And he is a constant communicator…important, not important, insightful and banal all have the same weight.
With the start of Buzz, he jumped in with both feet and I suspect that he is following hundreds of people already. And he started collecting feedback from his hundreds of friends and publishing the results…and the result of his results? NOISE.
Suddenly my e-mail is blowing up with the latest feedback on his questions. My Buzz button always has something to say…it feels like Twitter…slapdash, fast-paced and very very very noisy. I know the solution is to unfollow him. That is no big deal.
But I listened to Sergey Brin talk about Buzz’ great signal to noise ratio. And my “friend” added a lot of noise with little signal. He just made the intimate coffee house talk I was enjoying on Buzz into your average Dunkin’ Donuts at 8am…noisy, busy and full of bad coffee.
The signal to noise issue is enormous. The scale of social networks (especially when it pops into your e-mail every 30 seconds through Buzz’ push notifications) can be intimidating. Buzz is a nice step for Google, but it doesn’t offer any more real communication value than Facebook, Twitter or any of the others.