Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 16th December 2011

Google claims that their new social network Google+, is still looking as healthy as ever and is gaining thousands of new subscribers every day, but the media is rife with rumours about the specifics of the figures.

If you listen to the LA Times, close inspection of the analytics shows a steady decline in the numbers with peaks and troughs that reflect the companies frequent press conferences on new features. According to the LA Times, there was a significant rise in traffic when business pages were announced, but it’s more difficult to prove that those people have come back since. To confuse matters, those claims were recently countered by Hitwise, who announced that there was no evidence that Google+ was retaining users.

Basically – no one knows, and Google are throwing everything at their PR to make sure that we are all under the impression that this is the next big thing in the social media world, and this week, they got their biggest celebrity endorsement yet when their latest user, a certain Mr Barack Obama who is no stranger to unstable approval ratings, signed up.

The account was launched without any pomp and ceremony last Wednesday morning and is being run by his campaign committee ahead of the re-elections. The first post from the campaign reflected Obama’s laid-back, friendly campaign social media style, which many credit for his 2008 victory.

“Welcome to the Obama 2012 Google+ page. We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign.” So far, the reaction has not been overwhelming.

So will Google+ be celebrating their new arrival, or will this thrust them into the limelight before they are ready? If the Obama campaign team don’t figure out a way to make the medium work for them, presumably with all the help and support Google can offer, then it will be a pretty damning judgement on the network as a useful tool going forward.

So is this savvy social networking on Obama’s part, or a desperate a social media campaign too far? What do you think?


Cover image courtesy of US Embassy, Jakarta, flickr.com