google+: a review (or more accurately, a comparison to facebook)…

Somebody recently asked me if I liked Google+ and what I felt made it worth using instead of facebook. My answer, “It’s like Facebook for grownups”. After saying that, I promptly realized that I had classified myself as a grown up and experienced a shudder from the tip of my head all the way down through my toes. However, the statement is true.

When I signed up for Facebook, my college had just been added to their list of worthy institutions. I could only connect with people on my campus and it seemed like a safe, easy, and non confusing way to keep in touch with people I had projects to do with or just to see what my friends were up to for the weekend. It was basic and I enjoyed it. I can vividly remember saying, “I love how much safer this is than myspace because only people that go to my college can see it”. Well, those safety feature decreased over the years. Soon you could connect with anyone not just in your college, but also in your city. Then they added work, connecting with people in other schools, and finally they just said, “Screw security, we shall invite EVERYONE”, and with that they put a nail in their coffin. I’m sure they felt safe, there was no real competition for them in social networking. However, Google has now presented the internet crowd with something else.

Why do I love Google+? Let me count the ways… First, you can easily divide the group of people that you are acquainted with into different circles. Facebook has presented an unhealthy view of the word friend. I know a lot of people that I do not mind sharing quite a bit with, but the truth is that I have a few people close to me that know every detail of my life and feelings. On Facebook, dividing all of those people into different groups is a complicated mess. On G+ I have no problem. I can create as many groups as I want. What I share with my boss does not have to be what I share with my mom does not have to be what I share with my dearest friends. I simply drag and drop people into different categories, and then when I make a post I can decide which category or categories see it. That alone sold me on the new social networking site. On top of that, G+ allows you to view what different groups are saying in the same way. If I want to follow celebrities or others that I think are interesting but do not personally know, I can, but I can completely ignore them if I just want to see what my buddies are up to.

On top of that fantastic feature, the security on the site is much stronger and their policies are easy to understand. There isn’t a lot of double talk, they simply state that you own your materiel and that is that. Your pictures are yours, your posts are yours, and you don’t have to worry about them misusing it. That there, my friends, is bliss. My pictures of my kids are actually mine. My intellectual property remains mine. There is very little shady going on there.

Now, let’s talk about simplicity. I won’t say that G+ will never turn into the convoluted mess that facebook has become, because it might, but for now, it is very basic. The thing I love most? I do not have to make sure I block every flash game that shows up on my “wall” to make sure that I am not flooded with news about a pretend village that I have no interest in. Don’t get me wrong, I think flash games are a blast. I am the kind of person that can get lost in them for weeks, but I only care about the games I play. If I am not a part of it, then I am completely and totally disinterested.

Switching or adding G+ is an easy change to make. They make it painless. There isn’t anything complicated or hard to understand, you can just sign up and go. I really hope you take the time to check it out when it goes mainstream or when someone offers you on of their coveted invites. I think this is going to be a very good thing.

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