I have been using google+ for a few weeks now. It is yet another social networking tool...this one, however, is comparable to Facebook. For me, that was a big deal: I like Facebook and I certainly dont want to invest anytime in ramping up on another tool.
But I am liking this idea of circles. Basically, it's a management of your friends. This was originally a design that Paul Adams helped developed when he worked for google.
His research indicated that most people only deal with 4-6 friends at a time, in varying circles of friends. Think your book club, which is different than the people you meet with to play poker, who are not part of your kid's kindergarten class. So why would you want to share the fact that you loved how the guy from American Gods (novel) beat the crap out of someone with your daycare playgroup? But if you did post it on Facebook, everyone would see it. Or maybe you won't post it, no matter how much you'd love to share this with people from your book club, because you don't want to offend the 400 other friends that are not your book club friends.
While technically, I don't care who reads my stuff or who I may offend, I appreciate the ability to control who can see what. My blog posts? I am OK with publicly posting everything. But some of my twitter posts? I'd prefer to keep them in context. Meaning, if I tried out a new restaurant in Raleigh, then I'd rather post how much I loved it and have my Raleigh-area friends got 'hmmm...that sounds good', or 'that placed sucked for me'. But I doubt that my family in London care to read about the fabulous chopped BBQ I had.
Paul's presentation was pretty cool. You can see his slide deck here, sans his amazing personality at presenting it. The irony about this? Not only did Paul Adams help develop the concept of circles for google, he also came up with a critical assessment of Facebook's way of dealing with social networks, which I just summarized for you above. Guess where he works now? Facebook.
We're a long way away from seeing how G+ will fare. So far, I am over there with a handful of people and it certainly isn't as busy as FB is. I am limited to what I can post to G+ while mobile because I don't have a smartphone and the technology I do have: xoom, iPad, and itouch, are limited to whatever wifi I come across (no 3G for me). The only way I can post while away from computerized devices, as far as I know - and technology changes fairly quickly - is to send a text message to twitter, which I can then choose to send straight to FB too. That's disappointing...it's like G+ refuses to acknowledge a more basic way of communication - text messaging, which is still hugely popular - which lends me to take 100 points away from Gryffin...um, I mean, Google.