Favoring Google Plus over Facebook

While Twitter remain my social network of choice, I've struggled over the years with Facebook. For me personally, there is something about Facebook that has rubbed me the wrong way. Facebook's user interface has always felt "cluttered" to me and the addition of "social advertisement" this past year hasn't helped win me over either. More importantly, the seemingly never ending changes to both Facebook's privacy policy and privacy tools has left me very uncomfortable. These days, I'm only on Facebook because my closest friends are on Facebook. In short, with Facebook I feel like I'm a hostage as it may be the only way I keep close ties with friends unwilling to try Twitter or Google+.

Perhaps I was always vulnerable to drinking the Google Kool-Aid. Not only disillusioned with the current state of social media, but also ashamed that I didn't see the value of social media from the start. Not only does Google offer an alternative to Facebook but it also offers you an opportunity to be an "early adopter". For many the question remains, is it worth leaving or diluting your current investment in Facebook as you increasingly invest more time and content into Google+? For me, the answer was obvious as I see Google+ as a game changer for social media and quite frankly CMS Report has historically done a lousy job supporting its Facebook page. Google+ offers the opportunity to do social media well from the start and to avoid yet another missed opportunity.

Google+ is more popular than you think

In the Summer of 2011, I joined Google+ when the social network was new, still in beta, and required an invitation. Except for some of the tech leaders such as Mike Elgan,  Robert Scoble, and Guy Kawasaki already on Googel+, I didn't recognize anyone there especially those people closest to me that I would call friends and colleagues. Google+ should have been a lonely place for me. I should have been like others declaring it a "ghost town" and then moved back to my social media routine of Facebook and Twitter. However, the IT geek in me couldn't help but see the vision of what Google+ had to offer social media and it wasn't long thereafter that I declared, "Google+ makes Facebook feel like MySpace".

Long before Google+ was destined to become globally the second largest social network, I've steadily put myself on the Google diet using Google+ as my personal blog as well as pointing the domain after my namesake toward the social network as well. There is also some value in the area of search engine optimization to link your articles with Google+ as apparently Google+ can dominate the search results. However, make no mistake in understanding that the vast majority of the 343 million active Google+ users are there to social network.

The content management community on Google+

If you're interested in content management systems then you might be asking yourself, "what does Google+ have to offer me?". I can only tell you that during the past few months there has been a steady increase of participation of content management leaders using this social network. In fact, I now have over 400 people that I follow in a Google+ circle I call CMS and Technology.

Following people on Google+ isn't as efficient as Twitter (where I follow nearly 1000 accounts and 2500 follow me), but Google provides enough tools to help you better manage your various circles into your "stream". Recently, Google also introduced the concept of Google communities and I along with co-moderator Ron Miller have started experimenting with the addition of a Content Management System Community. If you have an interest in content management, please feel free to join this new Google+ community. I think in the long run joining these type of communities on Google+ will be the preferred method for sharing with like minded folks and perhaps putting the sharing of Circles by topic as a thing of the past.

CMS Report: Hello Google+ and Goodbye Facebook?

CMS Report has also steadily increased its own presence on Google+ these past few months. For the very first time, we're officially announcing via this article our Google+ page and encouraging you to follow us there if you are using Google+. We still see our Twitter account as the best method for getting our latest information and perspective out to you via social media, but our Google+ page should allow us to increasingly offer more "social depth" that isn't always possible with Twitter's 140 character limits. While we're still experimenting with how a Google page can best benefit our readers here at CMS Report, I'm pleased to say we're currently only one of a handful of CMS-centric publications you'll find with a page on Google+. As the social network continues to grow I'm also betting we will be far from one of last sites that will be promoting a page on Google+.

Finally, what about CMS Report's Facebook page? A couple months ago, I had envisioned that we would be dropping our Facebook Page. At the time, I believed we would be writing an article titled, "Leaving Facebook is Easy to Do" as a play on a similar article I recently titled, Leaving Drupal is Hard to Do. But just as it is personally difficult for me to abandon Facebook completely (for fear of alienating close friends), I've found it just as difficult to close our Facebook page (for fear of alienating Facebook fans). Acknowledging that we are all still a willing hostage to Facebook, CMS Report will continue its presence on Facebook.

Luckily there are a number of services that will mirror any post you make on Google+ and place the same post on your Facebook account. The service I have had the best luck in automatic reposts of of my Google+ activity to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is Friends+Me. For the past couple months any post we've placed on Google+ has also been posted on our Facebook page using Friends+Me. Here is the irony, because of our enthusiasm for keeping our Google+ page up to date this improved effort has also shown up with increased posts on Facebook using Friends+Me. While we still don't expect much growth for our Facebook page, even Facebook's own Insights page has shown an increase of our social media reach since we've posted. I still don't get Facebook, but we'll keep the door open to Facebook despite our enthusiasm for Google+.