Saturday, 19 May 2012

The End of Facebook?

The social networking giant, Facebook, just went public. It's currently trading around $38, although it opened for nice healthy $42. I'm not a stock market pro, but I can tell you this: this most recent week probably marked the beginning of my leaving Facebook.

It will take months probably, since I still need to pop in here every now and again to pick up mail and look at some old pictures. But each time I log on, its usually a boring and annoying experience, littered with ads that are completely irrelevant to me, and a strong feeling that this just isn't as useful as perhaps it once was.

Enter Google+. I have been working at Google for around 9 months now, and since the start it was clear that G+ is really important to the company. They have recognized that social platforms are really engaging for users and that the Google products needed some kind of cohesive front page. Google+ is to be the platform that harnesses all the powerful Google products under a singular account. A social boost to Search. Its not been a hit with the masses yet.

But for the last week or so, I've started leaving Facebook, and found myself more engaged on Google+. I'd like for you to join me. I thought Facebook had it clinched (and I think everyone thinks Facebook has it clinched). Their valuable advantage is in the fact that all your friends are already here, and most of them are not on Google+. I am astonished to find that this actually wasn't a problem over the last week. Until you get down and make some circles you want to follow, its hard to get this. For instance, I've got a "News" circle. I'm effectively treating my stream as an RSS reader, but with the added social benefits: +1s and comments. This is cool, and this is not as great on Facebook. its about social, but social on the broader web.

The biggest reason to start engaging more with Google+ is probably Hangouts. Thing is, there is a social network in there for us to use, and Hangouts are the reason to use it. It's crazy how much we use these at work, and just how brilliant it is. There isn't any other way as accessible to have so many of your friends or coworkers come together at the same time to either have a giggle, some banter, or work on a project together. Hangouts are the real future of VC, and they are the real future of hanging out online.

So yeah, let's leave Facebook guys! You should try Google+ a little more this week. Add some websites you read (Lifehacker is a great one to follow), perhaps some celebrities that you like to follow on Twitter (Richard Branson posts good stuff), and maybe even some companies or sports teams you are into (I have a circle called Ad Agencies that includes companies I have dealt with at work. It's interesting to see what they are working on and what new ideas they are working on with their clients). See if you don't like the simplicity, the Circles, which are much more effective than Groups, and maybe start a Hangout with me.