Since Google+ opened the floodgates last weekend, people have been flocking to the new social media site, either because they are tired of ads and privacy issues on Facebook, or just to try the shiny new toy.

I have used groups on Facebook since I joined, so I have already categorized my friends by interest and privacy level. This has worked well for me, so I have been resistant to moving to Google+ just to access the circles feature.

But then, all the writers in the kid lit world started forming circles, and I decided to join the fray rather than be left behind.

Here are differences in the two platforms that have mattered to me:

What Google+ Does Better

  • As of *right now*, people are sharing with their topical circles only on the subjects that they have in common. Writers talk about writing. Photographers share photographs. Very few cat posts, or where-I’m-eating posts, or general complaining.
  • No ads. (Won’t last, but nice.)
  • Ability to quickly and easily make your post have special formatting such as strikethrough (put a hyphen -on either side- of the words) or italics (put an underscore _on either side_) or bold (put an asterisk *on either side*)
  • Ability to EDIT your posts. Whew! Facebook better get on that.
  • Hangouts. Debbi Ohi and a few others are doing newbie hangouts so beginners can learn about this video chat feature.
  • Circles. Of course, the circles are the big thing. Frankly, I think they don’t work. I’m not sure why I should put someone in a circle if they may not be listening to what I’m sharing, or why they should put me in theirs if I’m not going to pay attention to their shares. It’s backwards. But at this point, most people are mutual sharing, so it’s not critical. I have only today starting paying attention to who I’m dropping into circles, rather than madly adding everyone.
  • People are creating directories of people who share specific interests. Photographer lists. Blogger lists. Librarian lists. GLBT Poets. People who create on the iPad. It’s been great finding new people who do what you do, like what you like. In fact, I started a list of Google+ members who are also part of Verla Kay’s Blue Boards for children’s writers.

What I don’t like about Google+

  • Sorting problems. If I’m not on for a little while, the “people who have added you” builds up, and I can’t find my close local friends to get them added. I’m constantly being surprised by the people I’ve missed.
  • Streams. I know sorting the streams can work, but mostly it’s too much noise. I already sorted my news feed on Facebook. I don’t find this to be any better, and I liked letting Facebook predict who I probably wanted to hear from based on my comment/like habits. I could always override that by changing my feed to “Most Recent.”

What Facebook does better:

  • I miss pages. I have several of them, for my local business, for my iPad/iPhone app coming out, and others on topics that are dear to me. We can go to the page and talk about our topic without streams or unrelated content. When we’re on the miscarriage page, we talk about miscarriage. In the Google+ streams, we can still get an unwanted message like “The baby threw carrots on me” by someone with both a loss and a baby. No one posts about their babies on a miscarriage page because that’s what the page is for, as opposed to a stream for a circle you’ve been placed in but don’t know exists.
  • I miss secret groups. I want to have a locked-down location to go and talk about a topic and know that it’s not going into unexpected streams or being reshared. People act like Facebook was evil on privacy. I’m having a much harder time with it on Google+, and so I share much less there.
  • I miss knowing general things. I do. Yes, most of my friends are authors or photographers, and we should be talking shop so as not to bore people, but I like hearing that they found the perfect latte or got roses. It’s a personal choice. Google+ might evolve to this eventually.

The Upshot:

I’m sticking to both for now, but I like Facebook more. I’m sad many people in this new romance period are not talking on Facebook at all, but I think they’ll be back.

I’ll go to Google+ once a day to see who is coming up on a book release or is having a frustrating revision, since the topics are currently so focused. But I’ll go to Facebook again and again to find the funny viral videos, the update on a friend in the hospital, and to complain about Google+. :)

 

 

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