Google+ is in beta and there are some kinks to work out. There is practically a riot going on about the ability to use pseudonyms, and we could definitely use the ability to filter people. But there are a lot of things I like and I see a great deal of promise.
I like the interface. I have never liked having to limit myself to 420 or 140 characters. If I have something to say, I’d like to be able to just say it. I don’t really want to have to edit and re-edit a post about some random thought just so I can fit it in the box. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m verbose.
It is also very easy to use. Some aspects can be a bit confusing, but once you get a handle on it, Google+ is very straight forward.
The About page, easy ability to share photos and videos with whoever I choose, along with sharing of the sites I +1 is very nice. It makes me easy to find and enables me to control various pieces of information quite nicely.
Circles versus Friends
I like the fact that people can just choose to circle me. They don’t have to ask my permission, and I don’t have to worry about their presence. If I don’t want to share posts with people who have put me in their circles, I simply limit my post to the appropriate circles and prevent the ability to re-share. I also like the ability to control re-sharing.
It is easy to organize my circles. I just drag people to the appropriate spot. If someone fits in more than one area, say the person is both a friend and a marketing guru, then I can put the person in more than one circle. Facebook lists have always been a bit of a disaster, too limited, and too time consuming to use.
I like that Google+ has combined the concept of following on Twitter and friending on Facebook and raised it up a notch.
First, let me point out the elephant in the room. People take the term friend somewhat literally. If you friend someone and later decide to unfriend them, for whatever reason, it can cause hard feelings. I have seen posts about people saying they will identify the people who unfriended them! Why? If you have so many friends and don’t know them well enough to be able to tell who unfriended you, what difference does it make? I think it might have something to do with the term friend. It’s a loaded term.
So on Facebook when someone requests to friend me, I have 3 choices. I can confirm, I can deny, or I can send the person a message asking why she wants to be friends. Regardless, I have to make a choice and I might hurt someone’s feelings. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Too much pressure. I know this is a huge issue for judges, attorneys and clients, all sorts of people.
On Google+ someone can choose to circle me. She doesn’t need permission. And then I can choose to circle the person or not. At first I circled everyone back, and then I realized this was defeating the purpose. So I uncircled pretty much everyone. Now what I do is look at the incoming stream. This stream lets me see what kind of posts the people who have circled me are making. This gives me time to see if this is someone I want to circle. This does lead to one problem though. Some people post a lot of nonsense and make it hard for me to review my incoming stream. I don’t want to block anyone from following me, but I sure wish I could filter the noisy ones out.
No wall to police
One of the concerns I hear about Facebook involves the issue of other people writing inappropriate posts on their walls. Also, there is some confusion amongst many people about exactly what will show up on their wall and what other people can see. I just had this experience the other day. Someone wrote something obscene on my wall. I was very embarrassed about it. Well, I don’t have to worry about this any more. Yes, someone can make a comment in a post I wrote, but it is clearly that person’s comment. It isn’t on what is, in essence, my property and thus my responsibility on the web.
The quality of the conversation
I like the way people are using Google+ And I like the people I am seeing. A lot of attorneys, marketing experts, technology folks. In short, exactly the sort of people with whom I like to chat, learn from, and communicate with. I also have run into some news folks who are making great use of the hangout and other features. I’m really impressed with the creativity.
People really are paying attention. And they want information. A lot of people come over to my blog from Google+ and I appreciate that. (Hi folks!)
Also, I find myself more willing to engage. I think because I don’t circle that many people, I am not missing the conversations with the people with whom I wish to speak. On Facebook there are so many posts that I miss a great deal. No reciprocal friending, no wall, no getting spammed off my own wall. Neat, clean and easy.
Many people will disagree with the above point. Probably this is because they have circled a lot of people. When I had circled a lot of people, it wasn’t quite so neat and clean. A filter would solve this problem.
While Google+ is by no means perfect it is a heck of a start. Google is paying attention to suggestions and the service is improving with each change. I am eager to see what the creative minds at Google will add as time goes on.