So nobody’s using Google+ eh?

I keep being told that nobody is using Google+.  I keep being told this by people who, for some obscure reason, seem to think that Google+ is a replacement or in some way ‘identical’ to Facebook, and that we have an either/or situation.  I keep being told this by people who signed up for Google+, sat there, nothing happened, and so went back to Facebook to their long established group of several hundred ‘Friends’ wailing that nothing happens at Google+.

Strangely, a lot of the people saying these things first joined Facebook 5 or 6 years ago and had identical experiences of nothing happening.  How quickly they’ve forgotten that they had to work on building a set of ‘Friends’ before Facebook had things ‘happening’ for them.

Now, there’s something not quite right about all this negativity surrounding Google+, and although I am a bit of an all things Google anorak in the first place, I’ll try to be objective about this.

What’s been happening is that, just like Blackberry users have an exclusive huge social network that outsiders can’t populate, something similar has been happening for Android users.  For Blackberry users it’s BBM, for Android users it’s Google+.  I’m guessing that those on the outside of either don’t realise how thriving the communities within them are.

Here’s the thing.  When the guy I wrote about here was looking for his missing daughter, most of the interactivity about it was on Google+, not on Facebook (or Twitter).

Also, I recently stumbled across a Google+ page via the ‘Explore’ function, and it surprised me how many others were there too.  I also found the identical page on Facebook, and so did a compare and contrast.

Now then, there are subtle differences between Google+ and Facebook, but realistically some things are exactly the same but with different naming conventions.

On Facebook, when you mutually follow each other, you are ‘Friends’.  You can also subscribe to somebody without being a mutual ‘Friend’.  The latter figure isn’t public, so I can only look at ‘Friends’ when doing a compare and contrast.

The equivalent on Google+ is to ‘circle’ somebody. This is like ‘subscribing’, and nothing special happens if you mutually ‘circle’ each other.  This is a tad incompatible with Facebook’s ‘Friends’ statistic.

However, in other respects, I can compare and contrast more effectively.

Facebook has the ‘Like’ approval system, whilst Google+ has the ‘+1’.

Both allow ‘comments’ to posts.

Both allow ‘sharing’ (copying something from somebody else’s timeline and plonking it onto your own).

So, let’s compare and contrast.  The page I’m speaking of that I found via the Google+ ‘explore’ function was Did You Know? (here).  It is also on Facebook here.

The first thing that’s interesting is how the Google+ search function will easily find it on Google+.  The Facebook search function can’t find it on Facebook.  As with so many things within Facebook, you have to know the exact location, it just won’t appear if you search for it.

If you’ve checked out the Did You Know? page from either of those links you will see it is a place full of fascinating facts and cool photos, plus links to their Youtube channel.

So, let’s compare and contrast.

The overall page has 4,644 Facebook ‘likes’ versus 19,973 Google+ ‘+1’s.  When you ‘Like’ something on Facebook it automatically sends stuff to your feed thereafter. To allow this to happen on Google+ you have to put the page in a ‘circle’. 19,134 have done this on Google+.

Let’s pick a particular story from 24 hours ago (at the time of writing this) so it’s had time to be seen and reacted to.

Here’s one about a frozen river that people are skating on.  It’s mainly just a spectacular photo.  On Google+ it’s here and on Facebook it’s here.

On Facebook this has only 1 comment.  On Google+ it has 500 comments (the maximum allowed for one post).

On Facebook it has 22 ‘likes’.  On Google+ it has 2,861 ‘+1’s.

On Facebook it has been ‘shared’ 27 times.  On Google+ it has been ‘shared’ 941 times.

Now then, stop me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that Google+ is the far better place for the guy behind ‘Did you Know?’ to be posting stuff, yes?  And it definitely shows that people are using Google+.  Indeed, they are using it far much more than Facebook.

Shouldn’t the broadcasters already using Facebook and Twitter now start using this obviously thriving social network as well?