Tag Archives: Google Plus

The Games we play: Google Plus versus Facebook

3 May

Games.  I must confess that I do play some games.  Not as many as I used to, but I do play games on both Facebook and Google Plus.  Or maybe I should say did play them in both locations.

I recently stopped playing actively on Google Plus.

I played some of the same games on both sites.  Some were different too.  Now while I avoid playing Zynga games, there is still a lot of others to try playing.  So what was the difference?  After all, if the games are the same, they are the same, right?


There is actually a big difference.  Facebook has already had their growing pains with the addition of the games.  Games run smoothly, on the average, and have few problems loading.  The same isn’t true for Google Plus.  Games would frequently freeze, refuse to load, or have numerous other glitches that made playing difficult at times.

Facebook games not only run smoother with fewer glitches, they often have extra features not found on the Google Plus games.  They seem more finished and less “beta” than G+ games.  It may be easier to circle other players on G+, but…adding them as “neighbors” may not be so easy, as that is a common glitch in the games.  In addition, games have been leaving the Google Plus platform.

So why is there the differences?  Only a game company insider could really answer that question, but the most obvious answer is that Facebook requires some kind of exclusive feature added to the games playing there.  Game companies are probably willing to comply with few complaints too, after all, Facebook as a portal has fewer overall problems than Google Plus does.

I really like Google Plus as a social network.  I use it often in doing research, finding interesting people and information through G+.  (That’s not to say my Facebook friends are boring though!)  It is just easier to find topic specific posts and their advocates through G+ than with Facebook.  I can then circle them or not, without worrying about whether I will offend anyone.  I don’t have to know them to do that–it’s the whole concept behind the circles that makes it so easy to use for research on a topic.  Those features are not available on Facebook at all.

At one point, I thought I may largely abandon Facebook in favor of the more dynamic interface on Google Plus, but in reality, it would be like choosing to only eat bananas rather than bananas AND strawberries!  They are different, but they both have a very useful purpose for me.  On the other hand, if merely interacting with others to play games was my goal, Google Plus wouldn’t have much of my attention.  It’s just too aggravating to try and play the games, especially knowing that many of them are fleeing as fast as they flocked on board.

So what are my favorite games? 

My long term favorite has been Hit Grab’s MouseHunt.  I love the imagery, and I love the play and go nature of the game.  I can be active without devoting hours and hours of attention to it.

Other games seem to come and go over time with me, but I do like Zuma Blitz, Bejeweled Blitz, Monster World, and Township currently.  The blitz games have been favored for some time, although the other two are relatively new to my list of games I play.  I don’t like games that require extensive “begging” from friends for bits and pieces to “build” things, and while Township has some of those features, it hasn’t annoyed me excessively yet.  I also don’t like games that require me to recruit friends to play–being a game evangelist doesn’t appeal to me!

Too many of the games on social networks seem to occupy excessive amounts of time and attention.  I want a game to play for a few minutes, and then go on to other things.  I don’t want it to take over my life–the whole point of a game is that it should be FUN, not a new occupation.  Sometimes, I enjoy competing with friends, other times, I prefer something I can just do in my solitary fashion too.

So why are social network games free?

Plain and simple, they are paid for via advertisements that players click on.  Game developers hope that players buy the extra features, whether they are special powers or game-specific “play money.”  That’s how they earn money, not by being paid by the social network to provide the games to them.  If you ever wondered why so many games have these pay-only extra features, you can stop wondering now.  One of the biggest phenomena in the modern marketplace is the amount of money traded for fictional goods in games.

That means that you can also vote with your dollars too.  Don’t spend money on games or with game companies that you dislike, and you are casting a vote that IS counted.  By spending money with your favorites, you are casting a positive vote as well.

So enjoy, and see which you prefer for your gaming entertainment.


Ron Paul, Google Plus, and uncircling

22 Feb

Google Plus has become my new favorite place to hang out and find interesting people and ideas and even websites.  It’s amazing, it’s like Twitter, it’s like Facebook, but it is also its own kettle of fish.  It’s not as sentimental & sappy as Facebook can be sometimes with its syrupy sweet sayings and quotes, it has some meat to it.  It’s also not restricted to 140 characters like Twitter, so ideas aren’t left skeletal and requiring the reader to click on a link to get the whole thing.

I like it.  Greg isn’t as fond of it as I am, but I seriously think that it is a great place to go and share ideas.  I don’t know who said it first, but it has been said that Facebook is for the people you know, and Google Plus (shortened to G+ usually) is for the people you want to know.

For some reason, just like on Twitter, it has a popularity contest facet as well.  Some people think if you don’t circle them back, you aren’t worth listening to and keeping in a circle.  I guess I’m not into that game–I failed that class in junior high.  I circle people because I think they have something interesting to share with me.  I don’t circle people thinking we are now engaged in a lifelong joined-at-the-hip relationship.

For some people, they don’t get it.  They have an idea, they cling to it with every breath they take, and they are bound and determined to share it with you…twenty seven times a day, via a personal message.  The first day of this bombardment, I tuned it out, certain that the person would get over it.  After all, they only had been circled by a handful of people.

Before long, I understood WHY only a handful of people had circled the person in question.  I was bombarded more than once an hour with a personal message via G+ about Ron Paul.

Okay, technically, I am a Republican, but only because declaring a party of some sort is a habit, I never vote straight ticket, and really don’t agree with the mainline of Republican politics a lot.  I’m actually one of those peculiar species…on even days of the month, I am a devout conservative liberal.  On the odd days of the month, I am transformed into a devout liberal conservative.

So what does that mean, really?

Not much.  It means I like to see smaller government that isn’t in the daily lives of honest, hard working, law abiding citizens.  It means that I’m pro-choice and anti-abortion too.  It means I think that marijuana should be legalized.

It means I also rarely approve of anybody who sits in the Oval Office.  It’s nothing personal, they are just easy to dislike, even though I’m completely aware that most of the bills I see in the news are an issue of our Congress.  I dislike them too, it’s practically mandatory since my dislike is totally democratic.  I honestly don’t think we have a truly honest politician in Washington D.C.

But…I’m digressing.

Poor Ron Paul…he has this fanatical supporter on his side.  He really should pay this person to support someone else, because after less than 48 hours of the spamming…I hated Ron Paul.  The G-plusser also was becoming hated.  It was annoying, since a personal message also pops into my email.  I get notified its there…every time one was sent.  It was time to uncircle someone.

Now I didn’t have anything against Ron Paul before.  I wasn’t sure I liked him either–it was a typical case of I liked some things, and was really unhappy about some others.  I’m also that way about all of the other Republican runners still in the race.  Even so, for me, Ron Paul did seem SLIGHTLY better than the others.

Until the spam.

Will I get over it?

Well, I may not like Obama, but compared to the ones running against him, he looks like a much safer bet.  It won’t be a case of voting FOR anyone in this election…as usual.  It will be a case of voting against someone worse.

It’s funny though, how passionate people can get over their favorite candidates.  I wish someone inspired me to that level of support, but most aren’t even able to inspire me to write an x in favor of them versus the other guy.  Usually the x is chosen to vote against someone when I’m actually there with my ballot.  That is sad.

We need to get big business and corporations out of the business of politics somehow.  I’m tired of corporate sponsors decided who wins by donating more money so they have a better advertising campaign.  It smacks of buying votes to me, and it sure as heck hasn’t gotten “Average Joe” or “Average Jane” good representation in Washington.  Getting elected to public office shouldn’t mean that the winner has a free lunch ticket for life, and that’s what it has boiled down to these days.

Have you ever noticed, that when it’s time to do a budget crunch, who they choose to threaten with no check?

Social security, federal workers, and our military…

It’s never Congress that is going to miss out on that check.  It’s never Congress that is looking at a pay cut.  Social security wasn’t originally even in their hands…until they started dipping into their funds to fuel congressional spending.  Now, when it has to go back to pay out for the current recipients, they are screaming like three year olds who can’t have an ice cream cone.

They are also apparently exempt from the Obamacare plan.  They are probably also the only ones happy with it, as the current plan doesn’t seem to be doing what everyone hoped it would, which was provide universal health care, and instead is looking like a logistic nightmare more intent on punishing everyone than it is in making anyone healthier.

Obama has used G+ hang outs to talk with people.  I find that amazing and somehow heart warming too.  Keep in mind, I have never been an Obama fan, but at the same time, I like seeing a president take use of modern technology to connect with the people of this country.  It’s a lot safer and less expensive than public appearances too, which makes sense in a cash strapped economy.  I don’t know about the rest of the world, but seeing national leaders spending money unnecessarily while their citizens are struggling to pay bills does not look good.  My biggest complaint about our political leaders is that they are out of touch with reality for most of us.  Granted, it’s probably a small slice of the nation that is using G+ hang outs at this point, but it IS a start.

Now if I can get up the time, energy, and motivation to try out using the hang outs.  It would be a start for me too.

If you want to circle me on G+, that’s fine…but remember, I do not automatically circle back.  It’s not out of snobbery, but out of sheer practicality.  I don’t have time to go through the list of who-has-circled-me and add them back.  I add people when they pop up when I’m searching on a topic.  I add people when I have time and they have commented on a post.  Sometimes, I’m busy or distracted…and it takes another comment or two before I get my “round tuit.”  I don’t post a LOT of stuff, especially compared to my spamming former circled person…but what I do post is mostly publicly available.  I’m not playing the popularity game…like I said…I failed that class in Junior High!

With that said…Happy Hump Day!  It’s Wednesday again, and Mardi Gras is over, and we’re officially in Lent.

Twitter versus Google Plus versus Facebook: War or apples & oranges?

3 Feb

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!