As some of you may know Google recently opened up a new social networking site called Google+ (G+). I joined the site and started using it. So far I'm enjoying the experience but as with all social networks it requires that the people that you want to socialize with have to belong. Well G+ actually allows someone to interact with it via email but I'm trying not to spam my friends and family so I typically don't use that option.
Anyway, the reason that I'm writing this post is because I recently read a blog post by Chris Marquardt where he stated his reasons for totally abandoning Facebook(FB) for G+. I found the article enlightening and I wish I could make the switch completely so that I could drop Facebook but I currently have a lot invested in the FB site. Here are the reasons that I can't quite leave FB yet:
Friends and Family
Ok, this is by far the most important aspect of why I can't completely move yet. My friends and family aren't over there yet. Quite a few of my more technologically adept friends have accounts on G+ but the majority of the people that I stay in contact with through in meatspace or social networks do not. Frankly I don't quite understand the best uses for G+ yet so I couldn't espouse the virtues of switching. And this is at the heart of it. How do I convince people like my parents (I'm not singling them out, I'm just using them as an easy example) to switch over when I have a hard enough time trying to convince them on anything computer related? Even worse than that is that I have to convince them so well that not only do they convert but they also become advocates to convert their own social networks. Without that last point it will be difficult to get anyone to move because FB is where there "friends" are.
It also doesn't help that there are new concepts to learn, the product is really a beta, and it's invite only. I'm not certain if you are still required to have a gmail account or not but that may be another limitation on getting my friends and family to move over.
Birthdays and Events
I have gotten so used to being able to have FB remind me of someone's birthday that I should be ashamed. But I'm not. For the majority of my life I have been horrible with birthdays and other personally special dates that having this feature of FB is a miracle.
I also really like organizing events through FB's events. Whether I create the event or not I really like having that ability built in. It's so easy to invite people without having to use another site (ex eVite).
I used to have an FB app that would routinely download the birthdays and events from FB and dump them into Google calendars which were then automatically synched with my phone. But that app went defunct and although FB has the ability to export that data, it isn't automatic. When G+ finally figures out how to gatherings (I'm not talking about huddles or hangouts) and integrates that directly with Google Calendar then I will be extremely happy.
Groups of semi-strangers
Another aspect of FB that I have used and am hesitant to relinquish is the fact that I'm part of some groups that are interest based and typically are made up of people that I am only partially acquainted with. I really enjoy this aspect that there is a group of people that exist as an organic entity that I discover and join or leave at will. Years ago I joined meetup.com for this exact purpose and I am still part of many of those groups. Some of those groups moved to FB as 1. everyone involved in those groups interacted on FB and 2. there are no fees to run a group on FB. So in order to move the group once again but over to G+ there has to be 1. enough of the group's membership on G+ (see the first section for why this is difficult) and 2. some impetus beyond the fact that G+ is "new".
I guess with that said I will have to stay on both G+ and FB and hope for a major exodus in the near future. I will attempt to keep updating as I see these challenges getting met.