I never thought I’d be writing about Google+, but here goes. You see, I’m not a huge fan of ‘social networking’, at least what I’ve experienced so far. It’s not that I’m anti-social. In fact, I’m far from that. Upon first joining Facebook, however, I had plans to use it as a way to keep in touch with friends and colleagues that I couldn’t generally keep in regular contact with. From a business perspective, there was also some potential there.
Since joining Facebook a few years ago, however, I’ve come to a point where I tend to shun it. Rather than it be a tool to exchange ideas and other cool things with each other, my Facebook feed is filled with product shills, narcissists, and an obscene number of people who like to talk about what they’re eating for lunch every day. Needless to say, I don’t use Facebook often, nor even check it often. But, it’s become an integral tool that I cannot get rid of. Some people I know don’t even use e-mail anymore… Facebook or bust.
If I dislike Facebook so much, then why did I even turn my head towards Google+? To be honest, I’m not sure. I signed up for it this weekend in what quite possibly could have been a drunken stupor, but I can admit one thing… it at least appealed to me from the get-go. Google, it seems, has acquired some GUI talent that can really impress, because I’ve been floored by its latest ‘Preview’ skin for Gmail, and now Google+. It looks extremely clean, uncluttered, and is easy to use. Kind of like Facebook in its earlier days.
What I do find nice about Google+ so far, though, and this might also be possible in Facebook, is that you can easily create ‘circles’ to put your contacts into. Family, for example is an obvious choice, as would be friends. By default there is an ‘acquantaince’ circle, and you are free to create more. What these circles allow you to do is filter out the feeds on the front page. If you click on the family option, you will only see posts made by family members.
If you really wanted to spend some time, you could fine-tune these circles to your liking, since there seems to be no limit in the number you can create. It appears that no one can tell what circle you’re in on their list, which is kind of nice. Some people might get offended to learn that you’ve put them into a ‘contact’ circle rather than a ‘friends’ circle, after all.
Also nice is the ability to ‘follow’ someone, which doesn’t add them to your list, but effectively lets you still see what they post. This would be useful for groups or people you don’t know.
There are other features as well I can’t see me ever using, but Facebook likely has similar functionality (such as hangouts, which allow you to create instant groups for people to chat via webcam).
I still have the question to answer of why am I giving Google+ attention when I dislike Facebook so much, and it’s one I just can’t answer. I’m sure Google+ is going to get just as bad for the reasons I dislike Facebook, but at least I have the super-easy option to filter what I need to. Well, except for posts involving someone’s lunch. I’m still waiting for that.
If you’re interested in a Google+ invite, post in the related thread below and I can get one sent out to you.