Having two competing social networks is a problem. Logically, you’d like everyone to be at one location for convenience. Until recently, it looked liked Facebook was going to be the universal social network. I’m not much of a Facebook user, but I can’t quit it either. Too many friends, old acquaintances and relatives are on Facebook, so it’s easy to keep an eye on everybody. Facebook is actually much better than snail-mail letters, postcards and Christmas cards at keeping track of people. In fact I often wish all my relatives would use Facebook. Facebook actually makes me feel closer to people. Then came Google+.
Google+ has a few nifty new features, some a touch better than Facebook, but to make Google+ practical I’d need all my Facebook friends to move over to Google+ and that would be rude to ask. Many people I know on Facebook are computer phobic, and it took them a long time to learn Facebook. Getting them to switch would be cruel.
What to do? What if Google+ is a superior tool? What if we all move over to Google+ and Apple or Microsoft came out with an even better product? Do hundreds of millions of people then move again to another new system? Given time wouldn’t Facebook add the features we all want anyway?
Mike Elgan is fanatically campaigning for Google+ and currently 374,958 people have him in one of their circles. Google+ definitely has more geek cred than Facebook, which makes me think I should use Facebook for people I know in real life and use Google+ as a geeky hangout for people I met over the Ethernet.
There are many things to consider. Is social networking a fad? Many pundits and friends have already abandon Facebook. On the other hand, I can only imagine Facebook becoming better and more valuable over time. Does that mean we should all stick with Facebook because of its initial momentum? Are we already stuck with Facebook forever?
Mike Elgan claims Google+ can replace our email systems too and that Google+ can become a central hub for all kinds of communications Facebook doesn’t do and the average user doesn’t understand yet. At least I don’t.
Which is more secure? Which is more natural at organizing levels of relationships? Which offers the most features I’d actually use? Which is easier to use? Which can be customized more? And most important, which has fewer ads? I hate ads. I don’t have the answers, but I’m trying to find out.
And one last interesting tidbit. Facebook isn’t indexed on search engines, whereas Google+ is indexed on Google, Bing and others. Facebook is a closed system, and that’s appealing, I think. Then again, should you ever put anything private and personal on any computer system?
JWH – 1/10/12