I know, you’re probably asking yourself if someone else has already written a post comparing Google Plus to Facebook. I haven’t read any of them, but I wondered myself. So I went to Google, of course, and put in “Google Plus versus Facebook” and I came up with 30,200 results; ouch!
Since I see 50 links on page one I did a quick scan to see what I might be up against. Turns out that out of the top 50, 39 of those articles were written in 2011, and of those remaining articles only 3 have been written after September 1st. That makes me feel pretty good in thinking that my post will be fairly original, even if it ends up covering some themes others have touched upon.
Besides, this really isn’t a “versus” post as much as a comparison of the two at this point. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve written a bunch of posts lately about Facebook, but it turns out the last post I wrote about Google Plus was back in June; wow. Thus, it’s time to bring them back into the discussion and ask if maybe they’re better than Facebook.
The first question brings the wimpiest answer; what’s the criteria for determining which is best. The answer is “it depends on what you’re looking to do.” Isn’t that a horrible response? And yet, it’s the most accurate response.
Are you looking for the best one to use for business?
This is now a tougher one to respond to than in the past. With Edgerank, you’re going to have to work harder to get people to see your content on your business pages. Not only that, but your initial reach is limited to the people who have decided to “like” your page. Sure, if they like something you write it might show up in their stream, but once again that Edgerank will limit how many people actually get to see it. So those billions of people on Facebook… they ain’t seeing nothing!
What about Google Plus? Turns out you have a better opportunity to have your stuff seen by more people there than on Facebook, even if you don’t have as many people following you. There’s a setting called “public”, which I talked about in that link above, which means that if you haven’t set your privacy settings so that only people in your circles can see what you share then it’s possible for anyone to see your post. And if anyone likes your stuff, not only will it show up in some of the circles those people have, but it highlights your posts in Google’s search for those who are signed in and have any kind of connection to you or the person who +1’d your post. Whoa, talk about reach!
Are you looking to use it for personal stuff?
This one is and isn’t so easy to respond to. Facebook is presently killing it when it comes to personal use. Grandparents are signing up in droves (the fastest growing user is between 55 and 62) because they can check in on what’s happening with the family, see pictures, and connect with old friends, especially high school friends and acquaintances. It’s also easier to sign up on Facebook. And the games… tons of games to keep people entertained all day long.
Google Plus has over 100 million users, and yet it’s not the place where families have decided to sign up just yet. I don’t have a single family member using Google Plus, whereas I’m connected to at least 20 of them on Facebook. They now have some games, and you can store images on there via Picasa, but overall it’s limited in images. You can’t even say circles is a strong motivator anymore since Facebook created Lists, where a person can group all their family members and thus keep up with each other.
Having said that, I find Google Plus is a better place to share news items than Facebook, though still not as convenient as Twitter is. There are some things that I don’t necessarily want to share with friends and family only, who are more apt to see what I post than anyone else, and I don’t have that issue on Google Plus. I don’t have a place on Facebook where I’d feel comfortable posting even a link to this blog post but on Google Plus, it would go over really well and possibly find new audiences that want to comment on it. The strange thing about Google Plus is that I have 3 times more people who’ve got me in a circle than I’ve included, which is what it’s like on Twitter for me, but it doesn’t quite work that way on Facebook as easily. Just because someone’s connected with me on Facebook doesn’t mean they’ll ever see a thing, whether I’m connected back with them or they’re just following me (Stalking me? Can’t remember the real term lol).
So, is Google Plus better than Facebook? You’ll have to decide that one for yourself based on what you’re looking to do. In my opinion, I’m thinking it’s time to look at Google Plus a bit more than I have to date and possibly give it a bit more of my business time. That would be the best way to evaluate things for sure.