For more than a week now, I’ve been playing around with Google+. In a nutshell: Google+ (say “Google Plus”) is the fastest, easiest way to share photos, videos, links, status updates, and blog posts with the people most likely to enjoy them.
I know, I know. You already have 25,742 friends on Facebook. You have more Twitter followers than Ashton Kutcher. You have a blog. Why do you need Google+?
1. Google+ makes sharing things easier. You can can share photos, web pages, blog posts, status updates, videos, and more with a single click.
2. Google+ makes it easier to share specific things with specific people. On Facebook, everything you share is forced on anyone and everyone you’ve identified as a “friend,” and everything your friends share is foisted on you. This is bad for two reasons.
– First, you’re probably sharing a lot of very personal information with people you don’t know very well.
– Second, because you’ve befriended a lot of people out of guilt or obligation, you’re subjected to a constant stream of status updates on subjects you care very little about.
Google+ gets around this with circles. Circles are groups of people you name and define. You can create as many circles as you like.
You might, for example, create a circle called “Family,” and put your Mom and Dad and brother in it. You might also create a circle called “Friends,” and put *real* friends (not Facebook friends, but the people you really care about and hold dear) in it.
If you have a passion for vegan dining, you can create a “Vegan” circle and put all your fellow herbivores in it. If you enjoy belly dancing, you could create a circle called “Belly Dancing” and put your fellow Belly Dancers in it. And because people can be placed in more than one circle at a time, you can put your belly-dancing vegan grandmother in three different circles: Family, Vegan, and Belly-Dancing.
When the time comes to share photos of your latest belly-dancing recital, you have a choice. If you like, you can share the photos with the Public, where anyone on the planet can see them. But it makes more sense, probably, to share your belly-dancing photos exclusively with your Belly Dancing circle.
And if you have something that you want to share with only one person — say, a news item about a new dating service for vegan belly-dancing grannies — you can even choose to share that item with the one person it will really interest … and no one else will see it.
3. Google+ pulls everything you share (and everything others share with you) into your stream. If you’ve used Facebook or Twitter, you’re familiar with this, because it’s a lot like your News Feed or Twitter stream.
There’s one important difference, though: you can *filter* the stream by clicking on one of your circles. As a result, if you have limited time and just want to see updates from your family, just click the Family circle … and updates from all your other circles will be hidden. Just want to see your belly-dancing updates? Click your Belly Dancing circle.
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In short: because Google+ makes it easy to share good stuff … and makes it easy to share that stuff with just the people who care about it … and makes it easy to see just the stuff you really care about from people you really care about …
… Google+ brings you better stuff than Facebook and Twitter do.
I’ve been blogging for more than eleven years. I joined Facebook before it was open to the general public. I’ve been on Twitter since Day 1. And after just one week on Google+:
– More people are seeing AND commenting AND sharing my stuff, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
– The stuff in my stream is more interesting, engaging, and shareable than most of the stuff in my Facebook news feed or my Twitter feed.
– I’m really enjoying the social media experience again — in a way I haven’t ever enjoyed Facebook (which is too packed with people I don’t really know) or Twitter (which lacks depth and conversations).
Which raises three questions:
1) Will I cancel my Facebook membership? In time, yes. Currently, there are some key family members who communicate exclusively with me through Facebook, so I’ll maintain an account there just to keep in touch with them. That said, I probably will prune my friend list there down to just those family members. (Frankly, that will probably make Facebook a better place to be, because its content — finally — will be more relevant to me.)
2) Will I continue to tweet on Twitter? For a while. There’s something elegant about Twitter’s 140-character limit that forces people to get to the point. That said: lately, Twitter is too spammy and too dominated by celebrities and self-promoters to be very interesting or useful.
3) Will I continue to post on MadeByMark.com? Maybe. Frankly, blogging is already a little passe; I only keep doing it because I have a real passion for it. For now, it makes sense to post whatever I want to post here, and mirror it (selectively, to the appropriate circles) on Google+.
But, eventually, I may not feel compelled to maintain a dedicated site … particularly if people can find, follow, and interact with me more easily through Google+.
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Are you on Google+? Are you interested in it? Do you need a invitation? If you’re a long-time reader of MadeByMark.com and need an invitation, let me know. (Remember: you’ll need a free gmail address — an email address ending in “@gmail.com” — to take full advantage of Google+.)