I’ve been on Google+ since week 1 and while the initial mood has been overwhelmingly positive, I couldn’t help but notice the content of my stream becoming a bit skewed over the past few days as Google began opening it up more and more to “the laypeople.” Google was wise to restrict G+’s initial membership base to the tech-savvy, because we’re already on to Google about where it’s going with this thing; but now that the rest of the world is jumping onboard there seems to be a bit of confusion about what it’s good for.
In response to this, I thought I’d share a few of my own thoughts on G+, and why I believe it is a valuable and needed addition the online social ecosystem:
1. It’s not Facebook, and it’s not Twitter—it’s a bit of both, and the key is Circles.
What Twitter does best is giving busy professionals, celebrities, and business entities an outlet to interact publicly with their audience on a pseudo-personal level in 140 characters or less. What Facebook does best is giving people an outlet to interact somewhat privately with people they trust on as personal of a level as they like. For many, the separation between Twitter vs. Facebook mirrors their own separation of business vs. personal. For example: A picture of your 2-year old squeezing the cat is more likely to wind up posted to a limited audience on Facebook than publicly shared on Twitter, while a quick blurb updating anyone interested on a recent professional achievement often needs a more public forum such as Twitter to gain the visibility you want it to have. Even in each of their post boxes you can see the difference in what’s expected to be shared: Twitter asks “What’s happening?” expecting you to want the whole world to know, while Facebook asks “What’s on your mind?” which is quite a bit more personal. (continue reading…)