Approximately three years ago, Google entered the social media scene with a service that many thought could be the Facebook killer. Given the name Google Plus, or G+, the service integrated the Google user ID into a social network that allows members to post text, photos, videos (ala YouTube), instant message, and participate in live video conferencing (known as Hangouts), among other things.
Along with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Google + was developed to build a mass user base of members interacting and engaging with each other’s thoughts, opinions, photos, videos and lives.
Due to my personal experience on Google +, I recently posted the following message on Facebook.
“I hereby declare Google Plus dead. You may now ignore it in good faith.”
Naively, I thought my post might get a few likes and comments. Boy, was I in for a shock.
The post became one of the hottest topics ever to grace my personal page, with over 100 likes and more than 300 comments!
The Google + post received many more responses than the Facebook post.
You can read the original post here.
My fan page on Facebook has over 37,000 likes as of this experiment. However, Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm being what it is, only 1820 people purportedly saw my post. To keep things fair and balanced (re: cheat), I posted the same message to my personal page which has approximately 7500 followers.
This was by no means a scientific study. I made an off-comment remark about Google + and the fans came out of the woodwork.
I discovered two things along the way.
1) Most of the sharing I was doing on G+, I was doing incorrectly. Some “social media expert”, huh?
I shared my content exclusively to my circle and extended circles because I didn’t realize that public sharing worked the same as it did on my Facebook page. My bad.
2) Google + is not dead. In fact, the members of the site are HIGHLY engaged with each other.
The responses and reactions you see on Google + tend to be more adamant about their platform than Facebook users are. They are more passionate about using Google +. Some even take a superior attitude about G+ over Facebook, claiming that the latter is only good for memes about cats and bacon. (That’s a running gag I never get enough of …)
As for Facebook users? They aren’t nearly as passionate about the site. Is it because of the privacy issues and bad press? Is it because the site is confusing and its features are changing more often than you change your pants? Or is it because it is SO big that there are just so many varied uses? Whatever the case, Facebook users seem to be laissez-faire and G+ users are more evangelistic about Google’s platform.
Robert Scoble made the point that most of his friends are on Facebook, but Google + seems to be a superior platform for sharing photos.
Scoble also attempts to make a case from the numbers.
Let’s look at Trey Ratcliff, though. His latest post at Facebook has 234 likes.
Same post of his over on Google+ has 232 plus ones. Pretty equal, right?
Except he has 7.7 million followers on Google+ and 619,000 followers on Facebook.
In this case, as a percentage of followers Facebook wins hands-down. But is this just a case of quantity over quality? And does it really matter?
I think what it comes down to is personal preference. Some like Facebook, others like Google +. Some people live to tweet and others Instagram their lives away.
It’s like the Mac vs. PC debate. I’ve used both platforms since the beginning of time and find each to be useful for different tasks.
I will use Google +, perhaps more often than I did. But I don’t see them taking over in the social media space and knocking Facebook off their top spot. There are too many people invested in the content and relationships they have created on Facebook.
I think I will still spend much more of my time on Facebook as I continue to build relationships through Google +. I’m glad I learned something and appreciate the passion behind those who took the time to share their opinion.