Google Plus is friggin' awesome -- don't you agree?
On April 24, the Google+ community lost a valuable promoter and leader. Vic Gundotra, head of Google's social media network, announced that he is stepping down and leaving the company. Mr. Gundotra deserves great applause, as he was in charge during the initial growth of the best social media network on the internet.
Yes, that's right, Google+ is the best -- it is friggin' awesome. It is better than Facebook. It is better than Twitter. Despite what the tech community may echo, the service is actually loved and adored by some, including myself. But OK, what makes Google+ so awesome? Here are some of my reasons.
Responsibility and Ownership
Many people dislike Google+ because of the tight integration with Google's other services. In other words, people feel like they are forced to join Google+. Technically, if they are a Google user in some capacity, they are correct -- you are "forced". However, you aren't forced to use Google's services, so it's a moot point.
Actually, tight Google+ integration with services like YouTube are a blessing. For example, before it was integrated, YouTube was littered with anonymous users leaving comments about horrific things -- sexual, threatening and overall stupidity. While the integration with Google+ hasn't entirely stopped the stupidity, it has definitely lessened it. After all, people are less adventurous and tough when using their real name.
Google+ is a driving force behind the non-anonymous movement and that is a good thing. People need to learn responsibility and take ownership of their commenting and actions.
This is the greatest aspect of Google+ and why I love being a member. You see, rather than being limited to nonsensical posts from friends and family, like Facebook, I can choose to see content by strangers that have similar interests.
For example, I am a big Linux user. On Google+, I have joined a few Linux communities, which allows me to share thoughts and opinions on the kernel with other people that care. It also allows me to discover new things from the posts of others. Other communities I have joined are regarding Android, video games and even a book club to name a few.
Other social media networks make it hard to meet new people. Sure, Facebook recommends people based on your existing friends list, but that is such a stupid way of matching people. I mean, just because someone is friends with my Aunt Gertrude, doesn't mean that I would be interested. Instead, Google+ enables you to find people with similar interests.
Going back to the communities, let's say I post a comment about Ritz Crackers and how I love them with both peanut butter and cheese (not together of course) in a food community. Someone else that loves Ritz Crackers may agree with that post and decide to follow me. Google+ then alerts me of their follow, and I can choose to follow them back.
True, Twitter alerts you of new "follows" as well, however, the difference is discovery. Stumbling upon a stranger you may want to follow on Twitter is maddeningly random and too few and far between.
With Google+, I have discovered new friends, movies, games, memes -- it is endless.
When you find new friends, you can choose how to categorize them too, using Circles. This was a revolutionary concept when first launched, but others such as Facebook have seemingly attempted to copy it.
The concept is simple though -- categorize people based on how you would share with them. For example, I can create a circle for "Family" where I share updates about an upcoming family event or create a "Work" category for sharing things with colleagues.
The end result is, you don't flood all your friends with the same content, knowing that some of them would be disinterested. For example, I am sure my Grandma couldn't care less about my latest computer build. I can selectively choose not to share that topic with her. I am sure we are both thankful for that.
The trouble with something like Facebook or Twitter is that you must dig through so much nonsense and noise that quality posts get lost in the shuffle. I constantly have people ask me if I saw a post on Facebook and I must say no. Circles can remedy such a dilemma.
Vic Gundotra is not Steve Jobs and Google+ is not Apple. I mean no disrespect to the former Google employee, but I can confidently say that most people in the world have no idea who he is, and that is OK. It simply means that the service is more important than any individual employee, which is how it should be. Google would be making a huge mistake to kill Google+. Any reports to the contrary are irresponsible and premature.
Rather than listen to the tech echo-chamber about how Google+ sucks and everyone hates it, I urge you to try it for yourself. You may actually like it. Try joining some communities that interest you and meet some new people. Most importantly, do it as yourself -- your name and real picture -- not a pseudonym and avatar.
Do you agree that Google+ is the best social media network? Tell me in the comments.