When I first heard about Google+, my first response was “Oh great, something else to learn, another social animal that needed regular care and feeding.” After all, I just started my blog, Facebook fan page, a bit.ly account, and tweeting on Twitter this month. I was already following on Twitter, using Linkedin for my professional contacts, and connecting with my family and close friends with Facebook. Well, I think I have it sorted out for now. So let me share a little about Google+, and how I have arranged the other social animals that I am currently caring for in the Zunker Zoo.
What I like about Google+:
Following: You can follow anyone on Google+ just like Twitter. This is awesome for someone like me looking at photos quickly from a range of photographers in which I am interested. No one has to accept you as a friend like Facebook for you to see their “Public” feed.
Circles: Circles are how you organize who you follow. This is really cool. The default includes Friends/Family/Acquaintances/Following. You can add as many circles as you want, and can include people in more than one circle. You can use the circles to filter on the feed similar to Facebook’s list functionality. But it does something else: It allows you to publish your post to specific circles, all circles, or publicly.
Uploading photos: The mobile app on my android will automatically upload ALL of the photos I take on my phone to a private gallery on Google+. I then get a notification in Google+ that the photos are ready to publish. This definitely saves a step in the sharing process, but I do not think I want to upload all of the pics with my finger over the lens.
Editing posts: You can edit your posts on Google+. This is great for my occasional misspellings. If I published the post to a circle, versus to Public, it seems I cannot go back and change the post to public, and this is where I goof up the most.
The Photo Thumbnails: The photo thumbnails are larger than Facebook. I am using Google+ to follow photographers, so this is a great feature for me…assuming the photos are uploaded to Picasa. Currently, I have no interest in posting my photos to Picasa. I prefer SmugMug as my online photo repository, and link from there, but the thumbnails are not much larger than the standard Facebook size.
Lack of Facebook/Twitter integration in everything: Obviously, Google+ is still in early release, so it lacks the internet integration as of yet. This will change soon, I am sure.
Things I hope Google+ will do in the near future.
1. Large thumbnails for linked images.
2. Easy integration to Smugmug and Blogger.
3. Branding pages for my business, and better than the Facebook solution.
4. An automated multi-feed to other social media like Facebook Personal/Fan page and Twitter.
So where does Google+ fit for me? Right now, I am using it similar to Twitter. I am following photography related folks for inspiration and news. I am sharing my blogs and photographic related links.
But what about the rest? Here is how they fall in the order of how long I have used them.
LinkedIn This is where I manage my professional profile, and keep up with contacts related to my engineering career. I exchange networking emails, manage the Women in Operations group at my company, but do little posting.
Facebook Personal Page I have been feeding my Facebook feed for about 1 year. Initially, I reserved Facebook for ONLY my family. Recently, I have started friending a larger circle. I do follow some photographic related fan pages, but this site is mostly used for close family and friends.
Twitter I am focused on news related to my photographic passion. I follow photographers, websites, and equipment suppliers. I just started retweeting and tweeting my own photography related content this month.
Facebook Fan Page I just started this page last month. I am using this page for my photography business which I started this year. I really do not like the Facebook page overlap between the personal account and the fan page. They are too linked in Facebook, but I cannot post something from my Fan Page and my Personal Page at the same time. This is a bit silly. So friends of my personal page and fan page get the post twice. This drives me nuts! I hope Google+ does something better.
The DZ Blog I started my blog a couple of weeks ago. It is focused on my photographic interests. I will use it to highlight my photography and communicate interesting things about travel. I just started this journey, so I will have to see where it will take me.
So, I really do not see any one of these social media animals going extinct, and after a couple of weeks on Google+, I am feeling a little less overwhelmed with another animal to train. While Google+ has had great acceptance so far with reaching 2 million users in 24 days, there is just not enough to pull the Facebook entrenched mainstream. I still plan on feeding all of these social media animals for slightly different purposes, and I am sure I am not alone.