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.

A report commissioned by Trend Micro names New Zealand as one of the top ten countries for Twitter spam attacks.

The research was carried out by academics from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. They looked at 500 million tweets and found roughly six percent of tweets with URLs are malicious or otherwise abuse the service.

Before anyone panics, it’s worth pointing out New Zealand only accounts for one percent of clicks on spam tweets. That’s a long way behind the USA which makes up 66 percent of the total.

It’s also worth noting New Zealand doesn’t register in the top ten countries on any of the other four categories listed in the research.

Even so, the report is a timely reminder that Twitter and other social media services are regularly used by scam artists.

Website warrant of fitness

A woman called from a company called Zyber. She said her company produced a ‘warrant of fitness’ report on my website.

She asked if I wanted to see it and asked for an email address so she could send the report.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the PDF documents was the date on the report. The call came on May 30 2014, the report date is December 9 2103.

Six months in normal time is about an eon in internet years. My site has changed dramatically since then with two major overhauls.

Never mind. There might just be some value in this report.

Or perhaps not. The first red flagged ‘problem’ on my site is that Zyber couldn’t find a Twitter account.

Zyber didn’t look far.

Sure, there’s no link to my Twitter account on the home page. But it’s there, one level down, on the about page.

And anyway, it’s debatable whether having a Twitter account is a necessary website feature.

The next flag tells me the site isn’t responsive. That’s wrong too.

And so it goes. The report quotes a Moz Rank, but that’s wrong by a country mile.

Clearly this report is a lure to spend money so that Zyber’s ‘professionals’ can put things right.

Given the sloppiness on display in the PDF that’s something that is never going to happen.

TwitcleanerNew Zealand-developed Twit Cleaner has closed its doors. The online service made weeding Twitter contacts simple and quick.

When I reviewed it last year I described Twit Cleaner as seriously useful. That’s because it sorts potentially bad Twitter accounts into categories making decisions easier.

Developer Si Dawson explains why he closed Twit Cleaner in a goodbye blog post. It boils down to running out of the number of API calls his service can make to Twitter at any moment.

Sadly Dawson also blogs about the upgrades he would have made if the project continued. They sound great.

 

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.