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Social Media Marketing July 14th, 2011
At the time of writing this Google+ is about to hit 10 million users. As an early adopter, Google+ has been a revelation; it has addressed some of the core faults with Facebook. For a nice overview of Google+ see my colleague Jon’s blog post: Google+ 5 First Impressions. Also, be sure to check out these tips for migrating your Facebook contacts to Google+, and with that I present to you 6 reasons to make the switch from Facebook to Google+.
Add your real friends to the circles you’re going to share updates with. Don’t like the nosy neighbour who just added you? Stick them in a tertiary circle where they’re practically out of sight and out of mind. Circles will become your new best friend, instead of relying on Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm to decide what you see in top news, Google+’s streams let you decide whose updates you want to see, not who they think you’ll want to see. If you do Google+ right, you’ll also likely avoid having hundreds fake ‘friends’ you probably wouldn’t recognise if you saw them in person.
Maybe it’s just me, but the older I’ve become the less i care about a peripheral friend’s cat or which Irish pub in a suburban mall they just checked-in to. I’m sure all of that will eventually make it’s way to Google+, but they will stay in the circles they’re intended for. Sure Facebook has lists, but they’re difficult to set up and they’re very clunky, cumbersome and definitely an afterthought. Facebook lists do not let you filter what you see in your feed; the only way to do this with Facebook is to painstakingly block people from your newsfeed or better yet unfriend them completely.
Nobody wants to be mean, that’s why you usually accept those questionable Facebook friend requests from acquaintances, your dog groomer or your mother in law. The beauty of Google+ is that you’re all connected, yet your never sure of whose circles you’re in. Thus, the only real marker of how well you’re connected to someone in Google+ is whether you see posts from them in your stream (what Facebook calls the news feed); and this is only for you, it’s very personal.
Wish you were able to download all the albums, updates, posts, profile info, your newsfeed? Google+ lets you do that. Simply click on your name in the top right hand corner of Google+ and click on Account Settings and select “Data Liberation” from the left-hand menu. Here you’ll be able to download your data into a neatly compressed file, very liberating indeed!
At the very bottom right hand corner of Google+ there’s a “send feedback” button, and it’s totally worth mentioning. It allows you to highlight areas for improvement visually and redact (black out) any personal information. It’s a feature that not only makes sending feedback easier and more accurate, but it also allows Google to better at interpret and implement user feedback. Hopefully this will lead to more feedback and in turn, a better product.
Without being a designer myself I can’t comment with too much authority on the Google+ layout, but from a user perspective it is very easy to figure out. As you can see the main navigation buttons are very clean and simple: home, photos, profile and circles.
While your Google+ stream may not be able to completely sway your attention from your Facebook news feed, give it some time. It’s not likely that one will dominate the other; remember, although there are plenty people curious to try Google+, they still have an uphill battle when it comes to generating an active user base. What’s more likely to happen is Google+ and Facebook will duel it out, making both their products better in the process. A win, win for users no matter which side you’re on.