Trying to work out or understand why I and 40 Million others remain avid users of Google+ whilst Millions of others also came across to it, fiddled about for a while and the disappeared back to the safety of Facebook is a sociologist’s dream. Or nightmare. Or is it?
It’s extremely interesting to see how the two social media platforms have developed alongside each other, each with a different user agenda. In the beginning of course, those who hated the changes in Facebook, thought that Google+ would be a refuge to the sameness that they’d lost as Facebook fiddled with itself.
They soon discovered that Google+ wasn’t Facebook, and so fucked back off to Facebook, tails between their legs. In most cases, they’d turned up at Google+ and just sat there expecting something to happen that was similar to the Facebook experience. They’d totally forgotten that when they first turned up on Facebook all those years ago they were met with exactly the same nothing happening and had to work at it. It took years for their closed user communities to start bubbling away with each other to make Facebook the always simmering experience they enjoy today. With no bubbling on Google+ and no ability to work at it to make it bubble, Facebook drew them back. Quite rightly. Google+ doesn’t need them, and is probably never going to be for those who want a cosy life.
In the same way that a person who has no real interest in anything but music from years ago will have no idea about the differences between Grime and Garage and will ignorantly dismiss both as ‘the same’, so too will some dismiss Google+ as in some way being ‘the same’ as Facebook. It isn’t.
I read somebody very succinctly describe how both services now have a specific type of usage by a specific type of person.
“Facebook is a way of safely keeping in touch with the past, whilst Google+ is an adventurous way of glancing into the future.”
It does seem to be true that items, discussions, funnies, pictures, and, well, ‘content’ that’s on Google+ today will find its way onto Facebook tomorrow. It does seem to be that exploration into future technology, early adoption and advancement is so rife on Google+ that I find myself having to dump (not read) so much of it because there is just so much of it. That same type of content is nowhere to be found on Facebook.
Meanwhile there’s not a lot about yesterday and nostalgia to be found on Google+. Guess where one has to go to find that sort of thing? Yep, Facebook.
So, by itself, Google+ seems to have developed an identity and purpose that is radically different to that of Facebook. With Google itself, generally speaking, being a company interested in future technologies, I suspect they are rather pleased about this (assuming they didn’t engineer it in the first place), and this is how and why the two will continue to co-exist without either giving a serious beating to the other.
Whilst I can (sometimes) respect the past, I have always had a tendency to not live in it. However, tomorrow excites me just as it always has far much more than yesterday. Without previously understanding it, this is the explanation as to why Google+ occupies so much of my time compared to Facebook. Equally, there are people I used to know who babble away on Facebook because it suits their needs to live in the past or share their private lives only with the people they know or once knew, rather than the new people accessible via Google+. It all makes sense now as to why they ‘gave up’ on Google+. It has nothing for them. Hey, horses for courses.
Now that the penny has finally dropped, and I’ve even found myself using Facebook for keeping in touch with the past, whilst using Google+ to plug in to the future, I am using them alongside each other, rather than trying to justify approaching them as if they were both the same, but rivals, rather than each being perfectly fit for purpose as described.