Ever since hopping on the Google+ bandwagon in early July, I have found myself using Facebook less and less and G+ more and more. For me, Google+ is yet another social networking site that is in a position to thrive and reinvent the way we interact with our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. However, G+ is slightly more revolutionary than other networks because of two key words, both of which begin with the letter “c.”
Content and circles.
As with any site, the content posted is the focal point, the start of discussions and the reason that readers keep coming back. So much of what is posted online is public to everyone and that, obviously, carries both positive and negative implications. Information shared on Facebook and through email, for example, is sensitive and should only be shared with select people, not with everyone who owns a computer. On the other hand, blog posts and news articles should be and need to be shared. The key is to figure out who would benefit the most from reading these particular stories and that is exactly what Google has done with circles.
Before going in-depth about how circles work, I’m going to talk a little bit about how G+’s content varies from that of Facebook and Twitter. In my experience, Facebook has always been about stating where you are and what you are doing, you know, casually interacting with friends and making plans. It is also a way to express your feelings and thoughts by crafting clever statuses, posting videos and even sharing song lyrics or a popular quote (I’m guilty of all four of these things, no question about it). Twitter, my favorite social networking site, has more of a professional feel to it simply because so many journalists and reporters use it to post their stories and update you on what is going on around the world. It is truly an amazing platform for sharing and discovering the news.
To get back on topic, what about Google+? Should it be used more like Facebook or like Twitter? Well, Google+ is a little bit like both. The content is much more professional and many discussions revolve around technology, social media and G+ itself, since it is fairly new and many people are still trying to grasp how exactly it works. Currently, more men than women are on G+ and that is probably because so many of the early adopters are Google staff members like Vic Gundotra and tech enthusiasts like Robert Scoble. However, the high-end talk will most likely slow down once more people sign up for the site and post about their lives and stories in the media that they find important. I am currently using Google’s new project to share stories and ask for people’s feedback on blog posts, which is exactly what I do on Twitter.
Let’s move on to the significance of circles. Facebook, for me, is seeing less and less time because the majority of my friends are from high school and I honestly don’t keep in touch with a lot of them (take no offense, class of 2009). Cabrini students and faculty have quickly jumped on the G+ bandwagon with me and my early experience has been spectacular due to the fact that the people in my circles have similar interests. I can’t say with any degree of certainty that Facebook is going to suffer but I think the inclusion of circles gives more privacy to users, something that is highly important in today’s digital world.
The power to pick and choose who you want to share content with is why I think Google+ is a winner and will continue to grow. With circles, G+ has enabled us to share content that will almost certainly be viewed and talked about by our fellow users. Have a question about a class assignment? Share that post with only your college friends. Not everything you want to talk about is going to appeal to all of your circles. Facebook users will only skip over your status your updates while G+ users won’t see them at all, which means you won’t be boring them and blowing up their stream with irrelevant information. G+ is making everything simple by letting us pick and choose not only the content but also the group(s) of people best fitted to receive our information.
With circles, G+ has enabled us to share content that will almost certainly be viewed and talked about by our fellow users. Have a question about a class assignment? Share that post with only your college friends. Not everything you want to talk about is going to appeal to all of your circles.”
Maybe it’s that new website smell, but I can’t think of a valid reason to post on Facebook frequently anymore. I still log on fairly often but I don’t post everyday like I do on Twitter and G+… at least, I’m trying to post daily on Google’s new project. Facebook quotes and videos are for my amusement but most people probably don’t care or notice. The majority of status updates aren’t news-related either, which is why I already like Google+ so much more (what can I say, I love my news). G+ is also utilizing creativity in ways that have never been seen before. Hangouts are being used for nearly everything imaginable – concerts, long-distance news interviews and even virtual writing get-togethers. Even more amazing, G+ guides chock-full of tips and advice (see here, here and here) are being constructed right onsite.
In my honest opinion, Google+ will continue to rise while Facebook, which I still see staying around for many more years, watches as we stop “liking” posts and instead say that someone’s post is worthy of a “+1.”
Now, won’t you hit that +1 button at the bottom of this post?