Seemingly every day, the Google+ "suggestions" feature implores me to "circle" (read: follow) the Google+ activities of Google CEO Larry Page, as a whopping 302,319 users have done already.
Yesterday I decided to relent - probably should have done so long ago -- and clicked on the link to Page's page so I could see what I've been missing: Turns out I haven't been missing anything, at least not for the past month, as Page hasn't posted a word to Google+ (for public consumption) for that long.
What's up with that? After all, Page had been reasonably active on Google+ early on: publicly congratulating the Google+ troops upon launch of the service; sharing vacation photo after vacation photo; pointing out an interesting story about some French trans-Arctic adventurers; and trumpeting the company's acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
That last one was the last one, though. So where'd he go?
Yes, world domination can keep a CEO busy and Page certainly cannot be expected to use every Google product, but Google+ and social networking are considered critical to the company's future, and there are already whispers about waning interest in some circles without the CEO creating at least the impression of having gone napping himself.
Now, it's certainly possible that Page uses Google+ all the time to share his thoughts and funny YouTube videos with a subset or subsets of the 300,000 people who have circled him; those interactions would not appear among his public posts, the last of which is dated Aug. 15. Google+ was designed specifically to enable such selective distribution, as Page himself has noted.
And Google+ is not for everybody, of course; certainly not for every CEO.
But if that's the case with Page, why not just come out and acknowledge it instead of going through the motions of creating an account, participating in the early weeks, using the forum for public relations, and continuing to suggest that users follow him?
I've asked Google public relations for comment.
Since I started writing this post yesterday, an additional 372 Google+ users have "circled" Larry Page.
My guess is they're expecting to hear from him.
(Update: Here's the response from a Google spokesperson: "We don't comment on individual profiles, but it's important to keep in mind that sharing activity can be taking place privately to circles. As we've shared before, we're seeing that people are two to three times more likely to share content with one of their circles than to make a public post."
My reply to Google's reply: That's all well and good, but it doesn't address the central issue raised, which is that it doesn't look good to have Google's CEO publicly appear on -- then publicly disappear from -- the company's fledgling social-networking platform. What anyone does in the privacy of their non-public circles is, of course, their own business.)
(Update, Friday, Sept. 30: He's baaaack.)
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