Review of Google Plus

After resisting for two weeks I have decided to write a Google Plus review. This includes both the changed designed parameters, the invite growth features and all of the main sub-items and activities you can do in the G+  Stream, Share, Hang Out, Pictures, Circles.

Since I have 2500 people in my circles and I am in 91 circles

To keep it simple – I have noted the following 6 main sub-points.

1) Content Dissemination-

 

  • Sharing Blog Articles
  • Micro-Blogging
  • Sharing Pictures

2) Online Professional Networking  and 3) Online Personal Socializing

4) Spam Control / Malware /Phishing/Porn Protection

5) Time Cost versus Networking Benefit

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1) Content Dissemination-

  • Sharing Blog Articles

 

Sharing is as simple as Facebook but the design makes it simpler.

Note G+ uses lower number of colors, bigger fonts, slightly bigger icons to reduce the appearance of clutter.

Contrast this

with this-

 

Interesting to see that G+ has four types of media to share- besides writing the status/micro-blog (unfettered by 140 characters). Note these show icons only with hover text to tell you what the icon stands for.

Photo,Video,URL,Location (which seems to be Twitter like in every share)

Facebook has 5 types of Sharing and note the slightly different order as well the fact that both icon and text make it slightly more cluttered- Status (which is redundant clearly ),Photo,Link,Video,Question

G+ thus lacks polls /questions features. It is much easier to share content on Facebook automatically as of now- but for G+ you need to share the URL privately though. There exist G+ meme-s already thanks to re-sharing in G+ plus which seems to be inspired by Tumblr (?).

In addition Google has made your Google Profile the number one SERP for searching your name, so there seem clear tied in benefits of SEO with content disseminated here.

G+ has sharing in circles whereas Facebook has only Everyone, Friends, Friends of Friends ,Customize.  This makes G+ interface slightly better in tweaking the spread of content to targeted audience esp by Bloggers.

  • For sharing Photos– G+ goes in for a whole new separate tab (one out of four) whereas Facebook treats photo sharing less prominently.
  • Google has lesser white space between photos, (The Facebook way used to be just snap photo by iPhone and send by email to auto-post), and the privacy in sharing photos is much better in G+ as the dropdowns in Facebook are not as granular and neither as nifty in icon design.
  •  
  • Also I like the hover and photo grows bigger feature and the auto import from Picassa (but I would like to auto-import into G+ from Flickr just as I can do in Facebook)
  • Google Plus also has a much more detailed version for sharing videos than photos as compared to Facebook  -upload Photo options  versus
  • G+ has much more focus on auto-sharing from mobiles

 

 

 

2) Online Professional Networking  and 3) Online Personal Socializing Organizing Contacts in Google Plus and seperate privacy controls make it easier to customize sharing without getting too complex. You can make as many circles and drag and drop very easily instead of manually clicking a dropdown box. Effectively speaking Facebook has just 4 kinds of circles and it does not distinguish between various types of friends which is great from philosophical point of view but not so goodn enforcing separateness between professional and personal networks. Note Facebook privacy settings are overwhelming despite the groovy data viz

4) Spam Control / Malware /Phishing/Porn Protection 

Spam Control in Facebook versus in Google Plus- note the different options in Google Plus (including the ability to NOT reshare). I am not aware of more enhanced protection than the ones available for Gmail already. Spam is what really killed off a lot many social networks and the ability to control or reduce spam will be a critical design choice

5) Time Cost versus Networking Benefit

Linkedin has the lowest cost in time spent and networking done. If G+ adds a resume section for jobs, recruiters, and adds in Zynga games, the benefit from G+ will expand. As of now G+ is a minimal social network with minimalism as design ethos.

(Zynga would do well to partner with G+)

 

Downloading your Facebook Photos

 

This UML diagram describes the domain of Faceb...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Here is a three step process for Downloading your entire Facebook Info-

1) Go to top right hand corner- Account.

2) Under Account- click on Account Settings

3)Under Account Settings -Click on Download Information

Facebook creates a ZIP file for downloading your information- and sends you an email when the info is ready.

Why should you download your Facebook Info-

1) As a local backup of your profile

2) To move to Orkut – or better to share Photos on Picassa or Flickr to your non Facebook friends. Note FB does have a unique URL under each Photo that you can copy and paste and share, but its not really convenient besides being huge and not a small URL at all.

3) In case you want to delete your Facebook account but dont want to lose your memories and friends.

Nice step from FB- they are taking user privacy and empowerment more seriously and at 500 Million users can afford to be a bit more generous.

Interview John F Moore CEO The Lab

Social Media Landscape

Here is an interview with John F Moore, social media adviser,technologist and founder and CEO of The Lab.

Ajay-  The internet seems to be crowded by social media experts with everyone who spends a lot of time on the internet claiming to be one? How  does a small business owner on a budget distinguish for the correct value proposition that social media can give them. 

John- You’re right.  It seems like everytime I turn around I bump into more social media “experts”.  The majority of these self-proclaimed experts are not adding a great deal of value.  When looking to spend money for help ask the person a few questions about their approach. Things you should be hearing include:

  • The expert should be seeking to fully understand your business, your goals, your available resources, etc..
  • The expert should be seeking to understand current management thinking about social media and related technologies.

If the expert is purely focused on tools they are the wrong person.  Your solution may require tools alone but they cannot know this without first understanding your business.

Ajay- Facebook has 600 million people, with people preferring to play games and connect to old acquaintances rather than use social media for tangible career or business benefit..

John- People are definitely spending time playing games, looking at photos, and catching up with old friends.  However, there are many businesses seeing real value from Facebook (primarily by tying it into their e-mail marketing and using coupons and other incentives).  For example, I recently shared a small case study (http://thejohnfmoore.com/2010/10/07/email-social-media-and-coupons-makes-the-cfo-smile/) where a small pet product company achieved a 22% bump in monthly revenue by combining Facebook and coupons together.  In fact,45% of this bump in revenue came from new clients.  Customer acquisition and increased revenue were accomplished by using Facebook for their business.
Ajay-  How does a new social media convert (individual) go on selecting communities to join (Facebook,Twitter,Linkedin,Ning, Ping,Orkut, Empire Avenue etc etc.
How does a small business owner take the same decision.

John- It always starts with taking the time to define your goals and then determine how much time and effort you are willing to invest.  For example:
  • LinkedIn. A must have for individuals as it is one of the key social networking communities for professional networking.  Individuals should join groups that are relevant to their career and invest an hour a week.  Businesses should ensure they have a business profile completed and up to date.
  • Facebook can be a challenge for anyone trying to walk the personal/professional line.  However, from a business standpoint you should be creating a Facebook page that you can use to compliment your other marketing channels.
  • Twitter.  It is a great network to learn of, to meet, and to interact with people from around the world.  I have met thousands of interesting people, many of which I have had the pleasure to meet with in real life.  Businesses need to invest in listening on twitter to determine if their customers (current or potential) or competitors are already there discussing them, their marketplace, or their offerings.
In all cases I would encourage businesses to setup social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.  You want to ensure your brand is protected by owning these accounts and ensuring at least the base information is accurate.
Ajay- Name the top 5 points that you think make a social media community successful.  What are the top 5 points for a business to succeed in their social media strategy.

John-
  • Define your goals up front.  Understand why you are building a community and keep this goal in mind.
  • Provide education.  Ideally you want to become a thought leader in your space, the trusted resource that people can turn to even if they are not using your product or services today.
  • Be honest.  We all make mistakes.  When you do, be honest with your community and engage them in any fall-out that may be coming out of your mistake.
  • Listen to them.  Use platforms like BubbleIdeas to gather feedback on what your community is looking for from the relationship.
  • Measure.  Are you on track with your goals?  Do your goals need to change?
Ajay- What is the unique value proposition that “The Lab” offers

John- The Lab understands the strategic importance of leveraging social media, management and leadership best practices, and our understanding of local government and small and medium business to help people in these areas achieve their goals.  Too many consultants come to the table with a predefined solution that really misses the mark as it lacks understanding of the client’s goals.
Ajay-  What is “CityCamp in Boston” all about.

John- CityCamp is a FREE unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations (http://www.citycampboston.org/what-is-citycamp-boston/).  It brings together politicians, local municipal employees, citizens, vendors, developers, and journalist to build a common understanding of local government challenges and then works to deliver measurable outcomes following the event.  The key is the focus on change management, driving change as opposed to just in the moment education.
Biography-

John F Moore is the Founder and CEO of The Lab (http://thelabinboston.com).  John has experience working with local governments and small and medium business owners to achieve their goals.  His experience with social media strategies, CRM, and a plethora of other solutions provides immense value to all of our clients.   He has built engineering organizations, learned sales and marketing, run customer service teams, and built and executed strategies for social media thought leadership and branding.  He is also a prolific blogger as you can see by checking out his blog at http://thejohnfmoore.com.