So if I weren’t a vegan, I might consider eating some crow after writing this post. The fact is, I’m no longer going to be putting in any time on the Google+ stream. There are a few reasons and I will outline them here. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, but especially since the kerfuffle with Vic Gundotra leaving Google+. On top of that, App.net is probably shutting down, and that is what pushed me over the edge. Here is why:
1. Being Late Is Too Big a Hindrance for Google+
Facebook and Twitter both have a big first mover advantage when it comes to mind share for social networking. Because of that, all my friends are already on Facebook and Twitter, and new friends I make are also on Facebook and Twitter already. That’s not the case with Google+, where only some of my friends are. In fact, over time, less of my friends are on Google+, so I’ve been following strangers, trying to convert it more of a news source. That has worked out well, but it’s not social. I could just as easily use Feedly. Google+ the stream was simply too late for me.
2. Google+ Personal Brands From First Movers
A lot of people became popular early on with Google+ and launched themselves as personal brands. That has great value. In fact, for brands, Google+ is a must and for my start up I will still be using Google+ to promote our product. For me the individual, I’m never going to be a personal brand. I don’t even like the idea of becoming a personal brand, and I certainly don’t have the personality for it. If you moved early on and built up a nice brand, Google+ is great. Big fish in smaller ponds.
3. Managing Three Social Networks Is Too Much
While I don’t have to manage any social network, I do want to maintain some social presence. Twitter is a must, as is Facebook if I want to keep up to date with my friends in skepticism and TAM. Twitter by itself is awesome for baseball coverage. Keith Law is one of the best baseball writers, tweets a lot, and occasionally Google+’s. His posts on Google+ rarely get comments or +1’s, because the baseball community is so big on Twitter. So if I “have” to be on Facebook and Twitter anyway, it’s hard to find the time to maintain a whole other network.
4. I Don’t Really Like Social Media Anyway
I like to keep in touch with my friends, I like the smart links they post, but that’s about it. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook seem to be striving to be more. For those people that also embrace that, that’s great for them. For me, it’s too much. Bring back the blogs, bring back the RSS feeds, bring back the IRC channels!
These are the four primary reasons you’ll no longer see me on the Google+ stream. It’s not because Google+ is a ghost town, because G+ is not a ghost town. It’s a vibrant community with a different take on social media. Google+ is a really good social networking site too. It’s a way better than Facebook or Twitter. You can’t knock Google for the quality of the product. Hangouts and the Google+ Photos are amazing, and are the bits of Google+ that I will remain using.
I don’t want to be grouped together with lazy tech writers who never liked Google+ and who would love to dance on its grave. I’m not one of these lazy commentators who think Google+ is a failure that’s being “shoved down everyone’s throat.” It’s none of those. It’s a really great product that works really well. If you’re on Google+ and love it, that’s awesome.
Except, I wasn’t having as much fun with it and it wasn’t awesome. That’s just me. I couldn’t make it work for me, and I don’t want to put in anymore time to try and make it work. I just want to share some links with people I know, and maybe leave a comment or two. That’s all. Twitter will do just fine for that. Facebook is a necessary evil, but even on there I stick mainly to a highly curated list of people.
So that’s it. This will be the last link I expect to share on Google+ manually. I will still use Hangouts and Photos, but share those to other networks. I reserve the right to use things like IFTTT and Google+ to distribute content to other places, but it won’t be me on the stream. I might get into Instagram, I might look at building out a tumblr for myself. Feedly will replace Google+ in my browser tags. It’s been a good two and a half years, but times change.