I want to love Google+, the hot new social network from Google… but I don’t.
Why not? It’s my least favorite things about Twitter and Facebook rolled into one site. It’s a beautifully designed network that I hate to use.
How it works
Like all social networks, you can post text, links, photos and videos, and they get shared with people.
With most networks, you choose who you’d like to follow. With Google+, you choose who you’d like to share with instead.
You do this by adding people into contextual groups called Circles. You can have a Circle for your college buddies, one for work friends, another for family and so on. Putting someone in a Circle means you’ve opted to share information with them, and when you share stuff, you can choose which Circles can see it.
(For example, a link to a business article might get shared with your work peeps, and your grandma’s birthday gets shared just with family. Sounds good, right?)
It's too much like Twitter
Right now, I’m getting tons of notifications about Circles I’ve been added to.
None of them are from people I don’t know in real life. They’re mostly people I already follow on Twitter. And they’re posting mostly the same kind of stuff they do on Twitter. Only now they’re on Google+.
Google+ isn’t solving a problem I have with Twitter. It’s just adding another location for me to get more information I’m already receiving too much of.
It's too much like Facebook
I use Facebook to share photos, videos and updates with my real life friends.
I can do that on Google+, too. Except none of my real life friends are on it yet. And since we’re already using Facebook that way, why would we switch?
Google+’s big advantage is supposed to be that you can select who has access to what. Thing is, you can do that on Facebook, too. They’re called lists. I have a few of them.
Google makes it easier - sort of. But they’re not solving a problem I have with Facebook, either.
Breakfast and Social Media
You know all the jokes people make about Twitter? “Who cares what you ate for breakfast?” “It’s just people on social media talking about social media!”
They apply to Google+, too.
I’d say 95% of the posts I’ve seen so far are something to the effect of, “What do you think about Google+?” That’s lame.
When Facebook first came out, I was in college and all the people in my dorm joined. You know what we posted about? Parties people could attend. Photos from the night before.
Useful and interesting stuff. Not breakfast and social media.
Privacy & Data
I will hand it to Google on this one - it’s a LOT easier to control your privacy and download your data on Google+ than on Facebook, and with more nuance than on Twitter.
They should get major props for that.
Social networks are just tools. And tools need to solve problems.
I want to love Google+. But right now, it’s just a beautiful tool that doesn’t solve any of my problems.