The success of Google+ will be one part Google genius and one part competitor shortcomings.
FACEBOOK – The One Trick Pony
Facebook is the most pervasive social network to date because it changed how we connect with each other in a way we never could have imagined. I look at my Facebook Page and it’s like a time capsule of my life and relationships.
Unfortunately, Facebook does not give us much control over the content we consume. The famous Facebook algorithm determines what posts are interesting to us. Then there are a few simplistic ways to tailor our feed. We can select people as “Close Friends” or decide on a friend-by-friend basis whether we want to view all, some, or just important posts.
Facebook hasn’t realized that we’re not always in the mood to read the same types of things. Personally, I like to read news and tech articles in the morning. By the afternoon, I’m in more of a Bravo TV and People magazine sort of mood – with a sprinkling of friends and family throughout the day. The bottom line is that I love to research new social media trends, but not at the same time that I’m stewing over how stupid the Kardashians are.
Our Facebook news feed preferences are pretty static. Facebook figures if you like to read the news in the morning, then you better like reading it in the afternoon too.
Google+ Circles gain an edge in this arena. They let you filter your feed so whether you’re in the mood for Social Media, Technology, or trashy celeb gossip, you can switch from one to the other fit your mood.
TWITTER: A Disorganized Mess of Incredible Information
Twitter fanatics will crucify me for saying this… but Twitter is a mess. It suffers from severe disorganization and Google+ is capitalizing on it. Half my Twitter feed is filled with people’s comments to each other. They’re out of context unless I click on the post to explore further and let’s face it… 9 times out of 10 I just don’t care. I don’t want to see people’s comments unless it’s organized as a thread under a post that I find particularly interesting.
Twitter is one big guessing game (which to me, can often be a timewaster). There are no thumbnails or article descriptions. I can’t see photos unless I click on the link and my only clue as to whether I’ll like an article is the 140 character hook posted with it. Don’t get me wrong. I do find a lot of interesting stuff on Twitter, but sometimes I have to wade through a fair share of garbage to find it.
Google+ understands that we are visual people. I want to see an image and an article blurb before clicking on a post. I want the comments and responses to be organized in a thread below so I know if I’m adding to the conversation or just repeating something that’s already been posted.
The great thing about Twitter is that it’s so public. The awful thing about Twitter is that it’s so public. Twitter is an amazing resource because you can follow so many different people with so many different interests without having to be friends. This makes for an amazing resource, but it also might limit what you want to share.
A few months ago I found myself interviewing for a new job. I had to fight the urge to retweet Howard Stern or reply to anything that could appear unprofessional to a potential employer. With Google+ Circles I can post publicly the topics that I want to discuss with the world and more privately on ones that are just guilty pleasures.
While Google+ Circles are the answer to most of Facebook and Twitter’s shortcomings, Google’s genius makes G+ a force to be reckoned with. G+ offers the most control along with the most intuitiveness of any network available. Plus, Google is standing behind its commitment to integrate the tools so they can all be accessed in one place.
Google+ is becoming more and more integrated with Gmail. Whenever you receive a G+ notification, you can intiate hangouts from chats and comment and +1 posts from your email.
If you own an Android phone, you can allow your photos to be automatically uploaded to the site (a huge timesaver) and then edit them right in Google+. Hangouts are better than Skype because you can involve multiple people and share your screen all while wearing a pirate hat and… it’s all free.
Events are far more organized and easier follow with than a Twitter. Plus they can support tons of photos. Just check out this transcript from a weekly #GardenChat on Twitter and try to make sense of it. Then compare it to a Google+ fruit tasting event at Andy’s Orchard.
It’s only fair to compare G+ to its social network competitors. But while G+ has improved upon a lot of it’s competition’s shortcomings, it’s important to see that Google comes to the table with a lot of innovation that the other networks had never considered or attempted. Say what you will about the Google+ following, their organic growth will continue to build and integrate into the tools we already use every day. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s bound to come.
Afterall, it’s Google. What’s the rush?
This blog is part of a week long Google+ series. To read more about G+, choose any of the blogs below: