Social media has become an integral part of our society today. It’s used by everyone, from kids to grandparents, non profits and corporations. It sells, it gives, it takes, it talks…and it’s the most efficient grapevine invented too. It’s a contributing factor to the demise of newspapers, the shift in governments, and even in how we are being spied upon. We live with it, and don’t think we can live without it. It’s on our computers and on our cell phones too. It’s everywhere, and even churches will often post signs encouraging people to “like” them on Facebook. Now, we have Google Plus in the fray as well.
It’s no secret, I use Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. With the whole scene involving user privacy, marketing, and so forth…people are considering whether or not these forums are for them. Some regard it as a case of one or the other. What is it, really?
First, they aren’t the same thing, not by a long shot. So let’s define the spaces themselves.
Twitter is like a perpetually scrolling billboard, with short messages and short links. It doesn’t say a lot, and real conversations aren’t easy to have on this forum. That doesn’t mean it’s without merit either. I’ve found some web gems via Twitter postings that I would have never found otherwise. I post things to Twitter, but it’s the least used of my “Big Three”.
Facebook is a big one. Many people never leave Facebook, regarding it as the ultimate portal to the world wide web. I’m not one of those people, thank goodness, but I do use it a lot. For many people, it delivers information, entertainment, and even interaction with their families. It really IS for friends and family, and a more intimate look at who we are.
Google Plus is a different breed entirely. In talking about it with Greg today, I said it is as though they have taken Twitter and Facebook features and blended them together with Google efficiency. It is truly becoming my connection with the entire world in a very manageable way, as the ability to manage my circles and thus my feed, makes it easy to see and learn about the things that interest me, when they interest me. It also allows me to play my “silly games” without having to inflict it on everyone in my list or that is following me. I like that too. Like all social media, it takes an investment of time and attention to get it to a manageable level, as well as to learn how to tweak it to the way you want it. It’s taken me months of slowly learning how to use it, but I like it more and more over the past week. It also doesn’t have any Zynga games on G+, a feature I love! (Yes, I boycott Zynga and have for a long time.)
To regard these three social media forums as a case of you-can-only-use-one is to revert to junior high social interaction. We can have multiple “friends” in social media too. Each of these forums offers a completely different way of interacting, and yes, we’re likely to spend more time on one or the other in a given day. That doesn’t mean that the others are not worthy of our attention too, though.
Now…if I can just figure out how to get blog entries and other such things to automatically post to G+, like I do with Facebook and Twitter…I’ll be another step ahead of the manual entry of such things!