You know what Google Plus really needs? Public Circles. Like Twitter lists – but for Google Plus.
I say so because this morning I read a piece about Google Plus that made me twitch. Over at Forbes of all places. Titled “A Eulogy for Google Plus” (http://goo.gl/4a8Zr) the expectation of balance was low – but the level of misunderstanding in the piece was quite staggering.
In the author Paul Tassi’s estimation, G+ has failed because people are still using Facebook. Um… yeah? And?
Dunno about Mr. Tassi (actually, I do, because he describes in detail his failure to engage with G+), but I use Facebook and G+ in very different ways. Facebook is for friends and frivolity. For casual commenting and keeping in touch.
More than that, Facebook places you at the centre of your social universe. It’s for broadcasting first. It encourages a view of social networks as platforms for dissemination, rather than consumption, with you in the middle.
On G+, the balance is a bit different.
I use G+ to interact with people I don’t really know and follow content I’m interested in – a bit like Twitter, but with more depth. For me, it’s the Twitter of blogging. The balance is tipped in favour of consumption.
Facebook is for broadcasting first, following second.
G+ is for following first, broadcasting second.
Which brings me back to my original idea. Public Circles. If G+ had curated lists of people – like Twitter – then perhaps that difference would be more explicit to those who are trying to use G+ like Facebook, looking at a stream full of tumbleweed… It would go BOOM.
By the way, I am aware of a fast and dirty hack at www.plus-lists.com that enables you to do something like this. It’s a tool to export your circle data and convert it to V-Cards. Too many stages, too techie and too clunky. But this is the feature we need…