Even though I am a believer in Social Networking in the Enterprise – and I already see a lot of positive results there – I have been absent from any social networking platform like Facebook for several years now.
My main issue is and was the complete mixture of the different groups of friends, colleagues, coworkers, family and other people you might want to add to your friends list. To overcome this issue on Facebook I just quit and worked in social networking Silos (LinkedIn for my American business contacts, Xing for my European business contacts, Enterprise Networking (MySite) for anyone I am working with and actual face-to-face “networking” with friends and family).
Of course this is not a perfect solution and leads to redundant contacts on different platforms and takes away key benefits like having all your contacts in one place. And yes I know that Facebook finally admitted to the problem and that I could create lists and try to separate my diverse groups – the problem here is that Lists are added on as an afterthought – they are not obvious and hard to manage.
So in comes Google+ – which surprised me in many ways.
First of all they actually launched with much less fanfare as they did with Google Buzz or Google Wave (anyone still remembers how awesome Google Wave was supposed to be?).
Second, it looks like Facebook (at least it resembles it closely) – it’s not a weird add-on to GMail like Buzz but a simple, proven design.
Third, Circles! Circles let you cluster your contacts and keep them separated and it is “in your face” all the time – you can’t miss it and you do start organizing your contacts immediately.
This is how it looks like, simple, easy to use Drag and Drop Interface:
Everything is filtered by circles – by default you will never post anything to all of your circles – it is always a conscious decision which circle you share with, or which stream of information you are watching.
This feature is a must for a social network if you want to collect all of your contacts, friends and colleagues in one place and Google+ right now is way ahead of Facebook in this regard.
(read “Facebook is dead” here /editorial/2011/7/8/facebook-is-dead.html)
So that was my first day on Google+ and I am surprised how much I like it (and by the way – that network effect doesn’t seem to stop them – I found a lot of people on there and they are adding at the rate of 2 million users each day right now).
Let me know what you think about Google+
If you need an invite just leave a comment and I will send you one!