Last Wednesday, the AKB48 website said that a new international project was about to be launched the very next day and fans were speculating what that was going to be.
On Thursday there was a big press conference to announce that AKB48 was teaming up with Google+ for fans to get that little bit closer to their idols. Considering that Google+ has been a failure in the West, this was a big gamble by Aki-P but it will instantly pay dividends as rabid AKB48 fans will sign up. Each AKB48 member has their own page in which you can follow and comment on their entry. Unfortunately any member under 18 years old aren’t allowed to have their own profile page on Google+ and instead have been lumped together on a page called ‘AKB48 Heyakko’ so this where any Mayuyu fans for example have to go.
But is there really any difference to this than what they’re already doing on their Ameblo blogs and Twitter accounts? Not that much to be honest apart that the members can add videos to their Google+ pages and of course there’s the Hangout area in which you can have a video chat live with your idol. The only downside to the Hangout area is it’s limited to less than 15 people so you have to be extremely quick to be able to be one of the lucky ones to connect. Acchan was the first member to try it out for 15 minutes. I’ve no idea if it was a success or not but I’m sure there was hundreds of fans scrambling to try and connect to talk with her. And what is there to stop any fans from doing and saying any unsavoury stuff in front of a member? Just in case I forget to say – each entry by a member is translated into English, Chinese and Korean by an official AKB48 translator which will definitely make things easier for foreign fans who usually use Google translate to find out what each Ameblo/Twitter entry is all about but as I’m sure you all know the results that come out is average at best. You sort of have an inkling what the entry is all about but the translation service isn’t that good.
Another bonus that Aki-P announced was happening with Google+ is that the AKB48 Kouhaku competition that is happening on the 20th December will be beamed live so you’ll be able to watch it and there’s the possibility that the Request Hour Setlist 2012 in January will also be screened live on Google+.
AKB48 are not be the only idol group in the 000 family to sign up – SKE48 and NMB48 are also on Google+ with HKT48 on AKB48 Heyakko.
Will this social interactive experiment work or not? In the short term I guess it will but in the long term I doubt it. The girls’ Ameblo blogs and Twitter accounts are not going to close and no matter how much fans will think they might get a response back from the girls on their comments, it’s just not going to happen.
I have signed up for the service and am following all the members but I can’t say I’m using it a lot. I’m far more interested in seeing how feeding live concerts will work on it.
Has anybody else signed up with Google+ to follow the 000 family?