Nonplussed by Google+

I mentioned in my reading round-up for July that a lot of the article I have read over the past month have been about Google+. There are links to the best and most useful articles at the bottom of this post.

What I want to share with you here is my first reaction to Google+ and my experience one month in. And that can be described in one word…

Meh!

I just don’t get it, or perhaps more accurately I just don’t need it. I got an invite quite early on and set about creating some circles. What I found was that I was just replicating my networks from Twitter and Facebook. But what’s the point in that?

Twitter & Facebook by ekcragg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ekcragg 

Facebook works perfectly well for me as a way to communicate online with my friends and family. Twitter works perfectly well for me as a way of sharing information and getting involved with my professional network.

Google+ by ekcragg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ekcragg 

Yes, I see that the theory behind Google+ is to bring both of those networks into one place to make it easier to share and communicate with selected groups. But at the moment it’s just not working for me, and why is that the case? I don’t want to have to specify for every single post I make who that content gets shared with. It’s as simple as that.

Julia Turner summed my feelings up perfectly in the Google+ segment on a recent edition of the Slate Culture Gabfest (which I would thoroughly recommend you listen to, it starts at around 17min):

“you can’t compartmentalise your public self from your private self with Google+”

If there is to be one social network to rule them all then that compartmentalisation needs to be doable and easy.

Further reading

The great Facebook debate

When my Facebook homepage changed last week at first I was optimistic. Amid status updates from friends calling for Facebook to revert to the old layout my status read:

Getting to grips with the new homepage. So far so good – and I’m not seeing double any more!

and then

Am I the only one who actually quite likes the new Facebook homepage? No more duplicate posts and less likelihood you’ll miss something new.

and finally

Don’t know if it’s the new homepage or my increasing interest in Twitter that means Facebook just doesn’t do it for me that much any more.

When the changes happened I was very keen to give them a chance, not to just subscribe to the campaign of hate immediately. However, as time has gone on I really feel that I was completely wrong in my second update when I said “less likelihood you’ll miss something”. These days I’m finding more and more things that I haven’t seen.

I think my last update is the most telling though – I’m definitely using Facebook less since the changes but I honestly can’t tell if that’s because I’ve started using Twitter or because of my dissatisfaction with Facebook. I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter as for me Twitter and Facebook serve completely different purposes and I interact with different groups on each.

So where next for Facebook. There was a great uproar when the new tab layout was introduced to the profile page but that all seemed to die down and everyone just gets on with it now. Will this happen in this case? I think it’s very unlikely that Facebook will completely revert to the old style and I’m worried by the final choice suggested by Ben Parr on Mashable. The one and only thing I like about the new homepage layout is its simplicity. Please don’t bring back more stuff and clutter it up again.

Facebook updates

Yesterday Facebook announced a couple of major changes. Most notable are a new design for Pages and a real-time News Feed.

I am quite excited about the changes to the News Feed. Basically, instead of your News Feed updating every 10-15 minutes, it will update automatically. I’m hoping that this will stop updates from weeks ago randomly appearing on my feed (a problem which seems to be happening more and more frequently for me).

You can watch a video of the announcements at AllFacebook