Like everyone else, Convions are chomping at the bit for the coveted Google + invite…and to actually get in once we get that invite. Client Support Manager Cynthia Balusek was one of the first to get past the virtual bouncer and through the Google + door. Now she’s making a cameo appearance here on Connection Cafe to share her initial impressions with you.
Many thanks to my friend Betsy, I did get an invite to Google +! And I’m lonely. I have less than 10 friends. But looking at what this could be, I’m pretty impressed.
First, the Circle concept. Early on in my Facebook history, I decided that I would accept any friend request that came from actual people I know. I’m quite the Facebook woman of ill repute – I’ll friend anybody. That has brought me to a place where I have more than 500 friends, and I really can’t say anything. I’m friends with family, coworkers, clients, neighbors, people who were jerks to me in high school – anyone that asks. That also means that I really inhibit what I post. I had a bad day at work – probably not going to mention that since the CEO is one of my friends. Annoyed at the neighborhood kids because they keep playing in the street and I nearly ran over one again – probably not going to mention it because the neighbors are my friends. Having separate circles would give me the freedom to actually share my real thoughts.
And I guess that I could have not friended anyone I wasn’t actually besties with, but the fact is that Facebook and it’s social sharing has been extremely helpful. Convio has a D.C. office and being Facebook friends with my coworkers in D.C. (like Betsy) makes me feel closer to them – I can’t see them daily, but I get to see what funny and awesome people they are daily on Facebook. I know my neighbors better because I can see what they are up to. I’m a terrible, terrible correspondent – I hate personal email and so infrequently respond – but Facebook allows me to but tidbits of my life up and keep people that I don’t see as often as I would like close to me.
The second thing is the blending of private and personal, which could be a bad thing. To me, Google + combines the best things of Facebook (possible exclusivity) and the best things of Twitter (it’s all out there, all the time.)
I was a Twitter user about two years ago, and I still have an account. (Follow @cbalusek.) But I don’t do much with it. I use it some most recently for work and that’s about it. Oh, and I tweeted to unlock some Angry Birds levels. A large part of why I don’t use it is because I’m so freaking overwhelmed by it. When I go look at my Twitter feed, I get about 20 updates an hour. And I’ve reduced the number of people I follow down from 200 to 123. Still, these people are chatty! And I know Twitter has lists now, but since I can’t see who isn’t in a list, I can’t easily sort people. I think that Google + starting with Circles will make this easier.
However, there is still a main feed that shows everyone. And this is where I could get back to Twitterville. I almost starting following an industry expert for the portion of the software industry in which I work. And I noticed she’s posting 5-6 times a day. If I started Circling her and anyone else I don’t have a personal relationship with, this could become Twitter 2.0 for me.
And finally, Google + is just beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. I mean, look at my Facebook profile:
And look at my Google + profile:
I’m assuming some Google ads will appear at some point, but so far the base is so nice. I’m so relaxed looking at.
So, I guess the question is, will everyone join in? Will my 500+ friends migrate to Google + even though I can’t even get my husband an invite today? Will I maintain statuses on both until they do? Will Google + go the way of De Lorean – beautiful, but doesn’t catch on?
My gut feel is Google + is a De Lorean, but then again, I told my boss in 2001 that I didn’t want to attend Mac training because that technology would not be transferable in my career, and here I am typing this on a MacBook Pro I can barely use.