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Mike Murphy gets to the point for Quartz when he writes Google will strip Google+ for parts.

Stripping for parts is a delicious metaphor — the tech industry just can’t get away from car analogies.

The deal is this: Google will pull the Photos and Streams components from Google+ and set them up as two new products.

… and Google Hangouts?

There’s talk elsewhere the company will do the same for Hangouts. I’ve never had success with Hangouts but I know many readers love the application and prefer it to alternatives like Skype and FaceTime.

In some ways Google+ is a better social media tool to use than either Facebook or Twitter. It has a clean interface and offers greater flexibility.

I’ve found engagements with others can be more enlightening than the terse 140 character limit Twitter imposes. And there’s a higher signal to noise ratio than you’ll find on Facebook.

Google+ easy to read, navigate

Best of all, you can quickly read back through discussion threads. That can get tricky on Twitter when talks take off in multiple directions. And, of course, being Google means you can find things fast.

The problem is that Google+ never managed to get past the feeling that there’s tumbleweed blowing down empty streets.

Google says there are billions of accounts. That’s sort of true. Signing up for the service is more or less mandatory if you use other Google products or even an Android device.

Yet estimates say there are only a few million active users. That’s about two percent of Facebook’s active users and, maybe, five percent of Twitter’s.

Twitter grumble

There’s a joke that you go to Twitter to listen to people grumble, go to Linkedin to listen to people pretending to work hard, go to Facebook to watch people play and go to Google+ to see what Google employees are up to.

Google+ wasn’t Google’s first attempt at social media. You may remember Buzz and Wave. Both were awful, but they had fans. Google+ was a better experience, the basic idea and code were sound enough. It’s just that Google never seems to have got social media.

Commentators are writing Google+ obituaries. That may be premature, although one never knows with Google. This is a company that has no compunction about taking lame horses behind the stable for shotgun practice.

What is clear is that Google+ will change.

Writing at Reportr.net Alfred Hermida says most journalists approach Web 2.0 services like Twitter with a 1.0 mindset. He’s right, my personal bugbear is that many media organisations insist their reporters use Twitter as a broadcast media and not for dialogue.

Hermida, a journalism professor, looks at a list of best practices guidelines for journalists using Twitter. Top of the list are two I consider the most important:

  • Have a voice that is credible and reliable, but also personal and human
  • Be generous in retweets and credit others

Too often media tweeters come across as cold and impersonal. In some cases the Twitter accounts feel robotic, because that’s exactly what they are.

And media outlets are often the least generous when it comes to crediting sources. Perhaps they fear they’ll lose readers if they point them elsewhere. Of course, they will lose some traffic that way, but they’ll gain more in terms of credibility by being more open and generous.

Reportr.net » 10 best practices for Twitter for journalists.

In the first of his eight simple rules for accurate journalism at the Columbia Journalism Review Craig SIlverman writes: “Initial, mistaken information will be retweeted more than any subsequent correction”.

He calls this the Law of Incorrect Tweets.

Silverman says people are more likely to retweet or like a false news report than pay attention to corrections.

Journalists make mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable with news at the best of time. Pressure to get stories out fast make it hard to confirm facts and properly double-check sources. This is especially true with today’s depopulated newsrooms.

Twitter makes it harder again. There’s even more pressure on journalists to be first with a report and the nature of tweeting doesn’t lend itself to reflective self-editing.

There’s a modern news culture of quickly pushing half-baked stories out to beat competitors.

Speed isn’t of the essence, accuracy is

Later in his piece Silverman makes the point: readers will forget who was first with a story, they will remember who got it wrong. He’s right.

Much as it goes against the grain to say this, scoops are not everything in news reporting. Being the most credible, reliable source for readers is a far better goal.

Bnet.com discusses businesses dropping websites to concentrate on social media sites like Facebook.

What about journalists and news media?

It makes sense for some businesses to move: Companies like Starbucks and Coca-Cola get up to 80 times as many Facebook page visits as website visits.

These are mass-market companies running one-size-fits-all campaigns. Although Facebook has begun wooing journalists, it isn’t the best place to be.

This may change.

Publishers won’t move media properties to social media sites in a hurry because it would destroy their advertising-led business model. And those publishers using paywalls will be even less interested.

Bnet runs through the pros and cons of businesses switching to social media. Here’s one reason to move:

Easy to acquire. Clicking a “like” button on Facebook or “follow” button on Twitter is a lot easier than filling in the sign up form on a web page. So it is no surprise that many companies find it easier to build a large following on social media platforms.

And here’s a good reason to stick with a website:

Reach all your audience. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or other services which might reach large segments of your customers, your own website is available to 100 percent of them. That is, as long as your website has been optimized to work on a mobile phone.

I’d like to add another vote in favour of websites. Companies like Facebook are constantly changing their rules of engagement. It is a movable feast. On the other hand, websites are as stable and unchanging as you want them to be.

Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website? | BNET.