Google+ Concerns Over Suggested Users List: Popularity Contest?

We’ve been writing about Google+, the latest social network, since its launch and have told about additions to the site such as verification badges. Last week Google+ started another initiative, a suggested users list consisting of so-called ‘power users.’ Intended as an easy way for users to add notable people to their circles the move hasn’t met with unanimous support and there are concerns that it merely creates a popularity contest.

One thing that some people have concerns about is that eminent people that make valid contributions to Google+ will not make the suggested users list because they don’t have so many followers. However an accountant at Pandora, Alida Brandenburg, dispelled this idea by saying “I ended up on there and I don’t even have 6,000 followers. That may seem high compared to the average user, but then you put that against people listed in the same category as me, like Dane Cook, Paris Hilton and William Shatner, and it’s clear that this was not simply a numbers game,” according to Meghan Peters over on Mashable.

Others are not so convinced though. Take web personality Robert Scoble, tech blogger. He has asked to be removed from the list and came up with 13 reasons why. Scoble said, “I totally understand why Google did this list. It just isn’t a well curated list and so I don’t want my name associated with it.” He went on to cite the fact that Paris Hilton was on the list as another reason not to be associated with it.

Craig Kanalley of The Huffington Post is another who has concerns saying, “It’s going to alienate people and lead to an inevitable followers war that can hurt the health of the social network and inflate people’s ego.” However, Bradley Horowitz, Google+ VP of Product says that the suggested users list will acquire deeper functionality and become more topic based. The list will also be rotated with different users being featured.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think the suggested users list is helpful to new users of Google+ and provides regular users with an easy way to find more people to follow? Maybe you do have concerns that it will seem as though some users of Google+ are involved in a giant personality contest? Let us have your comments on this.

  • Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    Though isn’t all types of social networking, in a way a popularity contest, at least in the long run? Some people don’t consciously strive to be one, but in the end, people end up liking certain types of people, as oppose to others, and in a way it’s more or less a push and pull popularity thing.