I’ve experienced a diverse range of reactions from friends when I mention Google+.

Some are enthusiastic and excited. Some confused. Skeptical. Some are completely dismissive. Some are scornful.

I think the most compelling reaction I’ve seen was from my friend Jodi, who made a statement that more poetically echoes a sentiment that I feel myself: “I can honestly say that I have never felt the dread or the threat of emotional stress or the overwhelming and heavy presence here at Google+ that I get when I visit Facebook every single time.”

I know that feeling.

As you may have guessed, I’m of the “enthusiastic and excited” persuasion, when it comes to Google+ (and shiny objects, for that matter).

So, briefly (as briefly as possible – it is me writing this, after all), I want to explain why I prefer Google+ over Facebook, and why I hope to eventually migrate to + exclusively.

First, why I don’t like Facebook – Really, 10 great reasons are detailed rather well here, in a blog on Gizmodo. But some of my own thoughts:

  • Facebook owns your data. You can play with how much they get by tweaking your privacy settings, but they ultimately own yo’ shit. Uncool.
  • Apps. I have hundreds of apps blocked on Facebook, including all variations of Farmtownlandville, ANYTHING that lets my “friends” ask (or answer) a question about me/tell a secret/have a crush on me, and certainly any app that is obviously designed to steal info/spam/etc.
  • Speaking of stealing info – doesn’t it seem odd how frequently people’s accounts are compromised? Doesn’t it seem odd that this happens largely due to Apps that are available through Facebook? Wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook would check those out before approving them?

Really, that list could go on and on. But that stuff isn’t the main reason I dislike Facebook.

It’s the people.

Sure, there are plenty of great, fantastic, wonderful people on Facebook. And having a large audience for whatever it is I feel like posting (like this blog) is a great thing. But the problem is… I don’t necessarily want to have a two-way relationship with everyone I’m “friends” with on Facebook.

Now I’m sure I could be more selective in my friend-approval process, but that can be difficult. It’s awkward, for me at least, to deny a friend request. It seems rude, but there are also certain situations that make me hesitant to click that Ignore button.

Last October, after I spearheaded the effort to organize a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the LGBT youths who had recently committed suicide, I received a huge surge of friend requests. The vigil attracted hundreds of people, and some of them wanted to connect with me – which is totally great. But without making myself a “Dan Lang” page, which would seem more than a little presumptuous, I’m forced to a sort of all or nothing situation.

Now, I’m not talking specifically about the people from the vigil – that’s just an example.

Think about it like this. There are all kinds of people in the world – far too many for each of us to interact with. So, we have to choose who we want to know, who we want to spend time with, and who we want to be friends with.

The very name of a connection between people on Facebook suggests the problem: Friend.

There are a lot of people I’d call friend in this world. Even people I’ve lost touch with, or don’t know well, or don’t see often. Obviously, I am closer to some than others – but still, I feel that I have a lot of friends.

But I also have a lot of acquaintances. That distinction does not mean I do not like my acquaintances, but, as possibly distasteful as this depiction might seem, it is a hierarchical distinction. I do not have time (or the desire, frankly) to be friends with everyone I meet.

That distinction is the problem with that two way relationship – that two-way Facebook-Friendship.

Yes, I can hide certain people from my newsfeed. Yes, I can change the privacy settings on specific posts, if I feel I want it to be restricted to certain people. Yes, I can block certain individuals from posting comments.

But I don’t want to do all that. If someone wants to follow me, that is spectacular. I love sharing information with people. I love talking with people (notice – not acquaintance, not friend, just people). I just don’t have time to converse with everyone.

Google+ doesn’t force me to converse. My posting experience is specific, tailored, and reaches exactly who I want it to reach – with very little effort on my end. If someone Circles me, I do not have to Circle them in return. If I do Circle them, I can select an appropriate group – and share information/posts with said group as I desire (or not).

It’s simple, easy, and noninvasive.

I’m glad that Mark Zuckerberg wants us all to be Friends. It’s a really warm and fuzzy thought. But… I don’t want to be friends with everyone. I don’t even want to Circle everyone. Maybe that puts me in your Jerk Circle (pun extremely not intended, but hilariously accidental anyway), but I’m only being realistic, and honest.

Do I think Google+ will last? Absolutely. There are already millions of users, and growing.

Do I think it will replace Facebook? Maybe. But really, I don’t want everyone from Facebook on Google+. When I say I want to migrate to +, I mean myself, and the people I care about. There are still a few holdouts that I’ll keep working on, because I think this is our chance to get out of the crowd, and to have a more meaningful and relevant social experience.

If that sounds like something you’d like – Circle me. I just can’t promise I’ll Circle you.

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3 comments
Josh
Josh

You left out the extremely handy option to set up millions of circles for the express purpose of your own posts. I have a nerdy board game circle, so if I have something to post about a game I played, I don't bother the people I know aren't interested in it. It's nice to have things like that set up if you have diverse interests, and you know everyone in your "friend" circle isn't interested in that particular aspect of your life. I also like Google Plus because I don't have to exclude anyone. Yes, I'll definitely still exclude people, but I don't have to look like I am. I, in fact, have a circle called "hated folk" which only has one person in it right now. It's not like I plan on ever actually talking to them, but it's nice to keep tabs on them. Also, importantly, I never have my google plus page set on stream. It's always on friends or something closer to relevance to my life, as otherwise it will just become another Facebook.