Shortly after joining Google+, I decided to go Facebook-free for a while. Based on what I read/heard/seen, supposedly Google+ was going to attempt to be the “Facebook killer.” For context, you should know that my Facebook use was already fairly limited – I would check in once or twice a day, mainly to see what was going on with some folks I know who live in Facebook and haven’t figured out how to use the actual internet (oops, got off on a tangent there).
While I’m intentionally ignoring Facebook, I’ve discovered what’s actually happening is that I’m starting to ignore Twitter as well. The easy-to-follow conversations on Google+ are nice. Embedded photos are nice (especially for a photographer). There’s now an iOS app which means that the mobile story is improving.
The killer feature though is Circles. On Twitter, I’m either following someone or I’m not. And Twitter lists are very clunky to use in comparison to Google’s circles. I can put photographers into a circle and when I want to read about what’s going on in the photo world (and look at some nice images) I read that circle. I’ve created a WordPress circle to keep up with the ecosystem surrounding my favorite blog software. There’s a Railfans circle for those connections I’ve made who appreciate railroad information and photography. And yes, I have a social media circle where I can drop those who I follow solely for their take on the world of, well, the things discussed in this post.
I’m using circles more for reading than for posting. I probably publish 70-80% of my Google+ content to “Public” meaning that anyone can read it. This is just like Twitter where I push content out for all since I feel that it’s of value to a wide audience. That said, I do publish some content only to specific circles. Something only of interest to folks who live near me gets published to the “Local” circle, ensuring that if you’re across the country you won’t be bothered by noise that’s only of relevance to those in the Portland area.
Another big advantage of Google+ right now is that it’s pretty much
crap brand-free. Companies aren’t pitching, folks generally aren’t pimping their own services heavily, and I can read my stream without finding out who gave Klout K to whom or who just published their own “newspaper” with Paperl.li. I realize that this is probably going to change, but I’m going to savor the bit of purity we now have over there.
What about you? How has Google+ changed your mix of online communications?