This morning, Google+ got some major celebrity cachet with Britney Spears surpassing Google CEO Larry Page as the most followed person on the network. Four months after launch, the social network hasn't proven itself in the social media world. Each month more stats come out suggesting Google+ hasn't grabbed the Internet's attention like Twittter or Facebook have. Just last week, for instance, The Times reported U.S. traffic to Google+ has dropped in 11 of the 21 weeks since its launch, regularly falling between 10% and 20% from one week to the next. But interest in the main-stream pop star might be a turning point for the network, which up to this point has been dominated by nerdy tech-insiders. Celebrities attract the masses, after-all.
Interest in celebrities means non-tech heads are at the very least joining the site. Google+ was quick to attract the tech community. And as the site fails to breakthrough, power users like Robert Scoble defend the site's purpose. But a service that only caters to early adopters doesn't help Google's popularity. Or traffic. Celebrities, on the other hand, do. Britney's popularity shows that big names draw crowds. The starlet has 739,321 people following her, or circling her, or however you say it. She's not necessarily the hippest diva on the block, but she has fans. Her last album alone had three top ten singles.
This is all part of Google's "celebrity acquisition plan," it unveiled a few months ago. Looking at Twitter, which reached a whole new level when celebs like Barack Obama and the tweeter formerly known as Ashton Kutcher, @aplusk started using the social network, Google started a similar validation plan to attract big names. At the time, technophile Alyssa Milano wondered how Google would handle celebrity accounts. Apparently the system is working. Earlier this month President Barack Obama, who is known for joining hip Internet mediums as a campaign tool, made an account. So far he only has 61 followers. But a tweet today from Google's Steve Grove, who works on G+, should help get the word out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.