Why you should give Google Plus a try
Not just another Facebook
Since joining Google + I’ve invited quite a few people – family, friends and work colleagues – and talked to a few of them about it too. So far the take up hasn’t been great, the overwhelming response being, “why should I bother?” and “well I’m on Facebook so that is enough for me”. The problem with that response is that most people I talk to seem to think Google Plus is just a ‘Google does Facebook’ when in fact it is so much more than that. So I thought I’d write down the top 10 reasons why you should try Facebook.
10 Reasons to Try Google Plus
1. Circles. This is the idea that you can choose who amongst your family, friends and other contacts you want to share status updates, comments, photos or other content with. I know my family and a couple of close friends would be interested in any photos or videos of my two year old daughter that I post or hearing what she’s been up to today, but most of friends and work colleagues wouldn’t be interested, and I’m not sure I’d want to share these things with them.
2. You can choose whose posts you see. This is the flip side of Circles. On Facebook you just get everyone’s status updates and posts on your page, there’s no easy way to separate them. I may have wanted to add that old school friend so I could keep in contact with them, but that doesn’t mean I want to hear about what shoes they bought today, or see photos of them and their mates drunk when out clubbing last Friday night. With Google Plus, I can choose never to see these things.
3. Privacy – Facebook has a shocking approach to privacy, it opts people in automatically to changes to privacy, and the privacy settings it does offer are so complicated and difficult to find that very few people ever change them, or even know what their privacy settings are. Which means that for most people, anything they post can be viewed by anyone anywhere. On Google Plus, unless you specifically choose to make content public, only people you choose to share with will be able see it, and you can even prevent them from sharing with anyone else if you want.
4. Keep your different interests separate. I read recently that according to Mark Zuckerberg, everyone has one identity and they are happy to share everything about themselves with all of their other ‘friends’. I disagree. I like playing board games and occasionally might want to share some posts with like-minded friends but don’t want to bore my other friends with it. With Google Plus that’s easy – the same cannot be said for Facebook or Twitter. Similarly I’m not interested in my friend Jess, who is a lovely lady but whose hobby of collecting knitting needles bores me to tears (okay I admit it, I made this one up).
5. Hangout with some people. Hangouts is a new feature in social networking. The idea is that you aren’t that likely to just say with a friend, “hey let’s have a video chat session”. Instead, you start a ‘Hangout’ and then friends can just drop in if they want. At the moment up to 10 people can Hangout at once. Only time will tell if this idea takes off, but I can see many situations in which it might be useful and fun: politicians talking to voters (in the US, Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has already done this), companies customer services using to talk to customers (Dell are planning this), authors talking to fans about their latest books, teachers holding tutorials with students, the list is endless.
6. A new clean slate. The chances are you’ve got a few people as Facebook friends who you invited in a momentary lapse of judgement and feel you can’t remove them. Well now you don’t need to add them to Google Plus, or just add them and stick them in a circle called ‘annoying people’ that you never look at or share anything with. They’ll never know! Also there won’t be any of those annoying game invites that clutter up your Facebook feed.
8. Some of Google Plus is like Twitter but much, much better. For a start off it doesn’t have the pointless 140 character limit. Some people would argue that a 140 character limit forces people to be creative and succinct, but I’m certainly not one of them. Twitter is mostly good for sharing links and short snappy comments. It’s got no meat to it, it’s all bread and no filling. With Google Plus, you can follow people in just the same way you can on Twitter, but people can write as much as they like, post photos and any other content they choose. I’ve started following +Trey Ratcliff. He’s a photographer/traveller; his posts are really interesting and he posts amazing photos. He’s on Twitter too, but links and 140 character posts can’t begin to compare. You can also split the people you follow into different groups on Google Plus, one for friends, one for celebrities you are interested in, one about a particular interest or hobby and so on…
9. Personalised search results - You probably already use Google Search. It generally serves up very useful, relevant and accurate results, but sign up to Google Plus and it could give you even more. When you search for something, it will flag up if one of your friends on Google Plus previously shared it, rated it, your own personal recommendations!
10. Communities - Ever since it launced there's been great conversations to be had on G+, but this often revolved around a celebrity of some sort with similar interests to you who had lots of followers. They'd post something and hundreds of followers would discuss it. Now however there is a new feature, 'communities' that revolve around particular interests. Anyone can start a community, and anyone can join. It's a place where like minded people can chat, discuss and share with other people with similar interests. Neither Facebook or Twitter have anything quite like it, and while it has only been going a few months, I think this could be a killer feature of Google Plus.
Open to Join Now
Google Plus is open for anyone to join, and if you've got an Android Phone or use You Tube a lot, you may already have a Google Plus account and not even know it!