I liked the service since day 1. Within a week I was almost ignoring Facebook. But it wasn’t until about a week ago that I really understood why it was that I checked Google+ more religiously than I ever checked Facebook. And as if by magic people seemed to start sharing the same thoughts in my stream which only validated what I’d discovered. Google+ is far more about content than it is about friends. I think the critics just don’t “get” Google+…..yet. But a comment on yet another article missing the power of the service sparked me to think and respond so strongly with the following that I decided to bring it to my blog.
How many people do I know in my friends list on FB. All of them. How many of them post content that I actually find interesting? Hardly any of them. Why? Because the list is built almost solely on physical contact from some point and time in life. None of it is based on interest in the content that they are posting or that I am posting. My stream is therefore a bunch of random noise about peoples lives. Sometimes there’s something interesting in there but most of it I could do without. I don’t exactly want to remove these people because it gives me a general idea of where they are in life and an easy way to contact them. But on a day to day basis I don’t care to see what they are saying.
Now contrast that to Google+. How many people do I know in reality on G+? Very few. How many of them post content that I actually find interesting? Almost all of them. This is because I have added people and have had people add me based on what they/I have to share rather than knowing me personally. I find chains of like minded and interesting people, NEW people, through conversations in comments. I add them and they add me without feeling awkward because there is no imposing idea of “friends” or any other association outside of sheer interest in content. Even if someone says something interesting in a comment on FB the tendency is for people with mutual friends to not add each other if they don’t know each other personally. It’s because of what it tends to imply and the information that is shared by default with “friends”. With G+ Circles there is no fear of adding someone and being added. You control who sees what off the bat and can target content to people that may be interested. Therefore my Google+ feed is filled with content that interests me from people I’m meeting and networking with over my interests.
So basically if you want a place to share and view content with a network of rather intimate friends who you already know then FB is for you. If you’re looking for a place to find people that share your interests whether you know them or not then G+ is for you. But I believe Facebook has a problem. They do alot of talking about “social search” and turning to friends for information. But honestly outside of the closest circle the “friends” that people have may not have that much in common besides having associated with each other in reality for reasons beyond their control. The “friends” on G+ however are being hand picked out of an interest in content and because of that may provide far more relevant information. And as I discovered this week more and more people are starting to “get” that.