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Google+ Tip for the day: Stop treating Google+ like Facebook.

When I got my Google+ invitation, I was already itching to shed my Facebook profile. I still feel that way, but I’m starting to realize something really surprising (at least for me): I don’t think Google is my Facebook stand-in. I think Google is far more than a measly “social network,” and that’s why some of my Facebook friends who are migrating over right now seem to be, as they say on the Internet, “doing it wrong.”

I've been a devoted Googlephile for many years, so if Google wanted me to use G+ instead of Facebook, it was gonna happen -- unless they really goofed it up, of course (I'm still not entirely over my breakup with Wave, Google -- but at least I've stopped leaving those creepy voicemails, right?). The push and pull factors were there. They were obvious: Facebook is for “moms” and spam robots -- Google was going to be my new social network.

But something didn't feel quite right about treating my Google+ profile like my Facebook profile, nor treating my Circles like the Facebook social groups I wished I'd always had. There was content everywhere, written by people I’d heard of -- and many I hadn’t. Something about this space was very different than anything Facebook has ever allowed me to experience. It felt like something else, something... bigger, maybe more important. Something collaborative, perhaps. How very Google!

My friends, however, don’t seem to be having the same Google+ experience I am. My tendency so far has been to add as many people with as many interesting views as possible to my Circles, and then to read voraciously and respond all over the place. Meanwhile, my real-life friends are complaining that there’s not enough content to appease them, and I’m the only one dominating their Streams. Why is this happening for them? I think it comes from a fundamental set of expectations about moving from Facebook to Google+. People are treating their Google+ accounts just like Facebook accounts. And I think that’s a doomed approach.

Here is how I think Google+ can be most fully enjoyed and utilized, at this early stage:

Think about what you use Facebook for. If it’s for keeping up with old friends and for keeping up with current, local friends, great. You can use Google+ for that, and it’s definitely got a leg up on Facebook for filtering content.

Interact with content created by users you don’t know personally. If you don’t follow people you don’t already know, you’re going to get bored, and not just because your friends aren’t all here yet. You’ll get bored even after they’ve all arrived. Why do you think Facebook started implementing games and applications? Well, to make money, obviously, but what was the draw for the userbase? I’m willing to bet Facebook figured out that simply reading your friends’ thoughts all day long gets old, and let’s be honest: very few of us have enough friends with enough interesting posts to keep us engaged.

If you like the social games on Facebook,’re not really my target audience. Sorry. For the rest of you -- if you don’t like how Facebook allowed third party junk to start bombarding you with game requests and access to your information, embrace its absence here so far!

I realize that at some point, developers may come up with cool ways to implement games on Google+, but I expect that Google will have learned from the clunky, disorganized, and downright invasive way developers approached this in Facebook. And the best way to keep Google+ rich in content and devoid of lame, invasive apps is to let go of your old ideas about what it means to be on a social network.
Peter Petrovski's profile photoHusain Quettawalla's profile photoLaura Gibbs's profile photoOscar Granados's profile photo
"and let’s be honest: very few of us have enough friends with enough interesting posts to keep us engaged." How dare you sir!
Kidding... I'm not quite the evangelist yet that you are (hello eager beaver) but essentially agree the points made here, based on my experience so far. It is definitely interesting and increasingly jarring to move from one to the other throughout the day.
Christina--thanks for the great post. I agree. Like you, I have tried to find as many different people from different parts of the US and world to learn from them and share in their life experiences. It is a fantastic opportunity to find new friends and enjoy their knowledge and perceptions about life. I just love G+ and it truly fills a giant void that is in Facebook. (And those games are just irritating to me, too.)
I've been on G+ for a week now and I've learned SO MUCH from following interesting people. It's nice to know too that sharing not only makes great content available to people in your 'circles' but also helps give it a better opportunity to rank organically. Would love to hear more ways that you're using G+ differently than FB. Thanks!
Love it! Well done, I couldn't agree more. PS - I don't want to bring (most) of my friends over here anyway. I'm having fun making new ones.
Agree 100%: Facebook = only people I know (or have known) in RL, all games blocked, tried to built groups, never share anything, read news-sites, use it to make sure, that my kid are still alive, post in German - Google+ = nobody from RL, no games!, have circles!, so many interesting topics an people, share, share, share, try to write in english,
My favorite feature about Google+ is I don't know anyone!
I am having the same experience with friends I convinced to come over to Google Plus. They all seem to be complaining saying "this sucks" or "I am not impressed" and then asking how I have so many people in my circles. I try to explain that when I first came on I added people based on my own interests to gather interesting streams (which seems instinctual to me) and from that action as well as engaging with people more people started to add me and I started to add yet more people. I am getting the offline and online equivalent of blank stares when I explain this.

I really like your suggestions for people to add people you don't know personally. What seems natural to me (and you and probably many of the people currently engaging with you) isn't natural to most. In fact, I would wager that this sort of behavior doesn't even occur to many people.

I have to agree with +Brandon Cook that one of my favorite aspects of Google Plus is that I don't know the majority of people I am following and yet I am having some of the most engaging and brilliant online discussions I have had in...well, ever.
Wow, having a serious "t's not just me!!!!" Moment. Thanks for this post. You got an add to my New G+ Freinds cirlce. I got here through XDA, as so many hundreds, if not thousands, of others did. One thing that happened very quickly was we set up an XDA circle...and I mean an actual Google+ account named XDA circle. Of course, we all added it. What this did was give you an instant, huge base for your stream. But it did more than that. We figured out quickly that, if we all have XDA circle in one of, then any time we post something including XDA circle as a recipient and checking extended circles, then everyone who follows XDA circle would get the post in their stream. It basically increased the circle size to several hundred without actually having to add several hundred people. Don't get me wrong, I still added tons of people...just not as many as I would have had to add otherwise. And the variety of posts is freakin awesome! I have random conversation, just like this one, with truly awesome people I might never have interacted with otherwise. Heck, I am here because another XDA member whom I did not know before last week shared this in his stream. My sincerest thanks to google for releasing this trial the way they did, and forcing people to branch out far more than they would have otherwise.

Edit: Honestly, to me, the closest word that I can come up with for what this feels like is realignment. The way I interact with the web and people on it has simply changed.
+Tejas Richard - what a brilliant idea. Not that surprising, of course, since XDA folks are pretty innovative. I'm glad you're enjoying everything so far! I'm having a blast, myself. This is totally a different Internet experience for me, which is saying a lot -- I mean, I've had LiveJournal, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Foursquare, Buzz, OkCupid (don't tell anybody), and any number of other off the wall social networking memberships in the past and there has never been anything that made me want to engage like this. It's refreshing, addictive, and totally has the potential to make people start collaborating on any number of ideas.
Then why are so many people here (and I don't mean the curious ones, but the more die hard and dedicated users of G+) calling this the downfall for facebook? (and also for twitter, which is an entirely different beast) Surely they must recognize the same thing that you do? My prediction is the G+ of a year from now will make you cringe like when you checked your facebook feed.
Great post! My experience has been very similar to yours. I never really got FB, although I'm an avid tweeter. But most of the people I went to FB to follow are here and they are just posting the same status updates. They aren't exploring.

I want to kick the tires of G+ and think of doing stuff that I haven't been able to do on other platforms--blogging, tweeting, FB. So far what's new is engaged conversation. I think that's possible because of three things: current users (explorers and testers), comment length, lack of comment spam (so far). I'm hoping the latter will remain way down with the tools G+ provides.
Google+ may actually be too cerebral for me. Is there no happy medium between the Glee spoiler feed that is Facebook and the byzantine macroblog that is Google+?

Well, at least my own posts are no longer the most interesting things I read on my social network all day. That is, as I expect you to notice, a wee threshold.
Thank you, +Craig Kanalley! What a compliment.

+Aaron Wood - Two things:
1) People are calling it the downfall of Facebook because it's so much more engaging than Facebook. At least, that is my suspicion. I haven't made any claims about G+ murdering Facebook myself, but if I decided to say it, that would be my reason.
2) G+ may adopt a more Facebook-like approach, yes. I guess my point was that users who just migrated over will benefit more from this service by not treating it the way they treat Facebook. Circles allow us to keep anything private private without any headaches, so we're free to share as much as we want with as many people as we want, and that changes the game.
Keep in mind, +Aaron Wood, after experiencing the level of intellectual interaction in the G+ Beta, users may be more liberal with the 'block' button.
I'm stunned at how many of us have made this point today. It's bizarre. It hit me yesterday, that people are either using this like Facebook or more like Twitter-with-benefits. For me, there's no question. I don't want this to echo my real-world circles. I want an adventure. Everywhere's feeling claustrophobic - Facebook in particular. I want to open new doors, meet new people, re-ignite the early, heady days of the web when I thought it would open the world up, and that was exciting.
This is such an interesting point. Many people do try to "Facebook" on here. The following, meeting, and conversing aspect is new to many. Anyone that uses (reads or writes) on Twitter, micro blogs, websites, or forums is at a great advantage to jump in to +'ing.
+Rebecca Woodhead Yes, I've the same feeling - like a pioneer in the Wild West with exiting adventures and few women ;-)
True. To me this is like twitter on roids. In stead of following interesting people (famous or otherwise), I can follow AND comment on their posts, and possibly get more of an interaction with them and others leaving comments than just watching 140 characters pop up and try to interact with an "@."

It just seems so cumbersome to have to now check yet another media source for enrichment. One that actually moves at the speed of light if the size of your circles is full of unique and knowledgeable people. I can see how some might get really overloaded and overwhelmed with the amount of prospects this site offers. After years of dealing with Facebook and mostly friends only on there and the small bite sized chunks on twitter, this place would feel like a blur to the average or less than average social media user.
In short, G+ users with FB habits might be nonPlussed - at least at first. Still, G+ users with no habits might be deFaced, ref. +Rebecca Latham on "the 'block' button." ;)
This is so true... i am really enjoying the stream by users who i dont really know personally... + i'm learning alot... WTG G+
+Rebecca Latham, trust me, I've been thru many beta tests for other things. I only wish they came with a block button as well. :)
So, I decided, upon rereading all of the comments, that I would add all of you to my G+ friends circle. Do not feel pressure to add me back, I won't be offended. And if you do add me, I tend to be silly, playful, irreverent, off color, and frequently, well, blue. In other words, "If we shadows have offended..." ;)
What an extremely eloquent way to say what I've been vocalizing in a few places myself, so kudos on this entry. I agree that the key to truly enjoying G+ is to actually open yourself up to adding new people on the Internet instead of staying in the comfort zone of your friends/family (since they all might not be on G+ yet) or even your favorite bloggers. What's obviously great is that although you can have all of these new and interesting people in your circles, you can still choose what is and isn't shared with each of your circles, so you are not spamming everyone who mint not be interested in a certain fringe topic OR you're not sharing your private pics with "strangers" while still keeping these interesting strangers in your stream.

I think the problem that G+ is facing now and will face is by bringing up FB at all. People come in expecting FaceBook and treating it as such might not be having as much fun as the people on here trying to find bugs, add feedback to google, as well as follow the google staffers amongst others within the journalism, tech, and social media world (I don't think I'm ever going to respond to a Kevin Rose post, for example), and that will have to change first. I think that there is a lot of opportunity for interactivity for people who currently use things like forums, blogs, and user driven websites. It is the interaction that a user makes outside of their circle of family and friends (no puns or irony intended) that can make or break the usage of this site - especially in these early developmental stages of G+.
Me too, me too! It's like I am at Woodstock. A kid in a candy shop. Circled. +1'd. Looking forward to amusing and delighting you and vice versa.
Hehe, I will share something. As soon as I saw that I could find and follow all sorts of interesting people (Guy Kawasaki is my fave so far), I made a circle called "Super Magical Interesting People :)". The default "Following" just wasn't descriptive enough.
+Ron Smith Glad you mentioned that bit about liberality because in the very early days of G+ I was actually seeing supposedly intelligent people (frustrated FBr's?) going into why-are-you-following-me-do-I-know-you soliloquys.

As if they're obligated to encircle back (FB habit?) and as if they didn't understand that people they don't encircle back don't actually appear on their Stream.

And that if they didn't want the general public to see their "invaluable" thoughts then they're not obligated to put it on "public".
Thanks for the great post, Christina! I love all things Google. I wish that Google would have something that auto finds all the peeps with posts on their profile that say things like: "Yeah... G+ is boring. Maybe it'll be better when it opens up" or "I really don't see how this is supposed to work...", and add them to a corporate circle called "People to Convert", and send posts to them with tips (such as yours) to help them along with their experience.

As the invite button is up, more and more peeps are showing up without the intuition to explore, and the assumption it's a country-club version of FB. The education that it is otherwise, is reliant on the hope that somehow they'll be a part of someone's circle or extended circle and get new info.

I can't even begin to imagine explaining to my mom how this works, or getting used to the open environment of G+. Of course, FB wasn't a problem for her to understand. I'm resigned, however, to the fact that I'll be sitting down with her the next time she's in town, if only so that I can formally end my FB relationship.
+Lyman A.M. I was very much doing that myself on day one and then going on about how Google+ didn't have much for me to enjoy - especially since there wasn't any 3rd party games to keep me occupied since I had only two others in my circle at the time. Now that I have other people in my circles, my stream is very much worth reading.

Also, I kind of like that some of my favorite blogs and websites aren't on G+ just yet - instead of having that crutch of my comfort zone of sites being there, I am kind of forced to explore if I'm going to make the most out of G+. I'm still excited about the opportunities this new social network has for websites as I am a forum admin by hobby myself, but this communal feel I've gotten from G+ so far is something that I haven't seen or had much of since sites like Twitter and Facebook (and MySpace before that) have gone mainstream. The old days of message boards and even newsgroups were all about connecting with new people from near and from afar, and I feel like I'm getting that here with the more people I follow whereas it isn't socially acceptable to add people that you might not personally know on Facebook.
Totally agreed! I've found lots of (interesting!) new people already and that is precisely why I like it here so far.
Facebook's initial mission was to "map the social graph", i.e. to digitize real-world connections. But a lot of people have gone beyond that and made a habit of connecting with people on FB they've never met in real life. Personally, I've never felt comfortable doing that -- precisely because FB only allows one "Circle".

G+ gets to start afresh and offers not only a, er, multi-circular solution to that problem, but I must say they've hit upon the perfect terminology as well -- "Circle" has so many relevant connotations.
One thing I would add, don't treat G+ like Twitter either. Nobody cares that you're going to bed, watching a movie, or any other mundane ritual you find yourself doing. We want comment, stories, media, you know something interesting to be able to comment on. "You're doing it wrong", think different.

I love your look on it, sharing this right away with my immediate circles, some of them need to see this!
+Christina Trapolino - I still leave creepy voicemails about Wave :( .. Should I feel ashamed? I wish Google+ would integrate Wave as a messaging system. Link to said voicemail here:

It doesn't seem like many people approve of the idea though. I won't be able to stop making creepy voicemails until Wave is actually put to rest.
word and amen. i have honestly never been a fan of facebook. after myspace, facebook seemed like a more closed off, less friendly, more fascist "social" network built on cliquiness and paranoia rather than actually being social (seriously. there's a friend cap. and it regularly reprimands you for trying to add people "you don't already know" even if you have mutual friends with the person - OH DARN! EXCUSE ME FACEBOOK FOR THINKING THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITE AND FOR SHOWING INTEREST IN PEOPLE BEYOND THE PEOPLE I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH! :SLAPS OWN WRIST:. at any rate, i love what you have to say here, and i can honestly say google+ is the first social networking website i have ever joined because i actually truly completely like it. it's designed well, it has such great opportunity for growth, and it doesn't feel cluttered or stifling. in fact it seems to be quite the opposite. it's a social networking website that actually encourages human interaction (as much as possible on the internet anyway) and actually being social. quite the concept.

as a former employee of myspace i found it interesting to read tom's thoughts on google+ actually realizing many of his initial social goals for myspace, since that is much how i felt about myspace when i started working there - and many of the reasons i ended up liking it despite it's world of design flaws. i joined myspace because i grew into it as an employee there. i joined facebook only because as a promoter, artist, and dj, i had to be up on where everyone was. i joined google+ because i actually like google+. a pretty basic reason to join a social networking site, but a far more profound reason than why i joined facebook. i felt nearly forced to join facebook simply cause it's where everyone migrated after myspace. google+ i wanted to join, and moreover, i want to tell everyone i know about it. i hope it gives facebook a serious run for it's money as competition in that end is long overdo.

as an artist, designer, and lover of human beings, google+ is shaping up to be, in my opinion, everything that a truly open social networking website should be. and i mean really it's just the internet and i don't take any of this that seriously, but i do find it just a wee bit inspiring just the same. i like things that bring people together, and google+ seems designed with the intent of doing exactly that. so here here. and i'll end my rambly response now. d-:
Facebook is where I will find old friends, google+ is where I will find cool new friends, network and actually enjoy going too....
Couldn't agree more +Brent Burzycki Am putting new people in my Following circle and will upgrade them to my Friend circle as and when. The FB/G+ comparison reminds me of the FF/Twitter thing on FF initially. Different animals.
I'm not a FB or Twitter user (beyond the occasional following someone else's link). But I'm rather intrigued by those who are providing thoughtful comparisons and contrasts. In this early stage when writers can't come to grips with G+ unless they can match it with another service [1], it's nice to see someone point out the obvious - what's here might just possibly be different than what's come before. Thanks for the insight.

i absolutely love this. adding to because of it.
+Luke Lewis Darn right this isn't twitter. Idle chitchat "I just got a new toothbrush" should not be shared "Public", or with all your followers, but only people who know you and would care. If I'm watching your feed, it's because you've had interesting things to say, and I'll uncircle you if you reduce it to spam.
I guess google+ don't go well with sns whoring, but also that's there's a new kind of cool user that is yet to be defined by this new tool.
I have a circle for idle chit chat posts it's called I do not give a crud, then I plus one all my own posts....which honestly is strange that you can plus 1 your own posts...
Excellent post! This is exactly why I love Google Plus and I hope my friends see it this way soon too!
Xin Li
The asymmetric sharing model that G+ affords you is really pretty awesome, because it completely does away with the penalty of of following/friending the "wrong" people. Just because you add someone doesn't mean they get to see all your embarrassing party photos, or does it mean you have to see a detailed list of their lunch menu.

For G+, I encourage people to follow generously. If you think someone might be interesting, add them to a circle, give them a trial run by checking in on them once in a while to see if they live up to your expectations. If so, then promote them to a circle you check more frequently. If not, drop them. No harm no foul. No one has to know what circle you put them in.
Came here by way of Chris Prillo.
Never heard of you until Chris shared your post. Looked at some of your other posts.
You are one smart cookie and very insightful.
As we only know when someone places us in a circle but not what type of circle I'm going to tell you I put you in my Leaders, Movers and Shakers Circle.
I look forward to reading your future posts!
I wish this was an article that I could post to FB, lol. In the meantime, I'll share it with all my G+ followers.
G+ is a big pipe and that makes me happy. This is the way I've always interacted online. Usenet, IRC, Email lists, RSS, Tumblr,, Twitter, everywhere but Facebook I have a massive feed with thousands of inputs. So once I grokked this about G+, I started swimming.
I'm still trying to get used to this weird (for a Facebooker) follow-a-stranger concept.

On one hand, it feels a bit like stalking, but I guess it's just because I never think about the fact that this stranger is only pushing to me content that I might be interesting in reading (and not their doggie photos).

The other issue is posting. This is actually my first post to a stranger's post - and it also feels weird. In this case I have to realize it's like commenting on a news article on some website...I have an opinion that I want to share with people who are also interested in this topic.

Since I still refrain from adding all my Facebook friends to G+ (because I don't want to push them away - this is time for early adopters only), right now G+ feels like a news channel. But I like it
Agreed. I never liked FaceBook because to me it wasn't the kind of social network I wanted to be on. Google+ isn't the same, and that's a good thing IMHO. For instance, you're not limited to what, 400 characters, and then you have to start replying to yourself? That encourages stupidity. Here you can have your thoughts out, and so can everybody else. You can also easily discover new people/things, which on Facebook wasn't so easy. It might not replace Facebook for keeping up with Mom, but it certainly can replace it for sharing with friends on the internet, at least for me. Actually.... to me, it feels a LOT like LiveJournal used to be before all its users fled for Facebook.
Great post. G+ has been touted as a FB-killer, and that has lead a lot of people to think it's a better version of FB when it's really a different beast alltogether. If anything, I think G+ is Twitter done right.
+Nils Holmlöv You have a pretty good point. But after a few more months will there be anything that facebook does that google+ can't?
+Daniel Potter We're all early adopters here. The vast majority of FB's users aren't. For them to make the switch, G+ has to be way better in a very obvious and meaningful way. Not impossible, but it's going to take a lot longer than a few months.
Couldn't agree more, those are exactly my thoughts; +Christina Trapolino you are now circled! Google+ has brilliant future, I feel like this is truly an international social network.
I'm glad more people are down with Google+. At first there seemed to be a lot of skepticism.

I have a little speculation about the personalites of the people who loveG+. It feels like a lot, but not all, of the people who only left MySpace when their friends jumped ship to Facebook, and they were never truly happy there. What do you think?
Great read! I think to find interesting content people would have to post publicly more. Not everything needs to be a public post obviously. It can still be Facebook-like in the way that you could whisper to your friends (circles) if you wanted.

If everyone only ever posted within their circles it'd be harder to make new connections with strangers. Unless of course, your friends reposted and shared new names you may not have seen before like +Christina Trapolino. Circled!
+Morgan ABBOU yup 'Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself' :)
Tammy J
Reading these comments especially, but the original post as well, makes me think that there are a million* people out there who haven't toyed with FB's custom privacy controls and/or FB's lists, and realised that you can control exactly who sees what and when, for everything about you, including your posts. Also, that you can add heaps of people you don't know on FB, and have conversations exactly as you do here, meet new and interesting people, learn new things etc.

The entire concept that G+ is really providing something entirely different, aside from a much better, cleaner and beautifully more Google interface and a bunch of awesome tweaks, is beyond me. This is somewhat like no-one realising that Clark Kent is Superman without glasses.

To me, this doesn't detract from the yumminess that is G+.

* Okay, i'm hoping that this figure is hyperbole
I feel the same way as you. I think the audience on Google+ is way different than the Facebook audience. This community feels very much like a lot of people in the industry working collaboratively on a project - which is what I love about Google! I would rather see family and such stay over at Facebook and stay connected to those interested in proving the internet world over here on Google+!
Fundamental difference between FB privacy controls and G+ is that Circles is front and center.
I totally agree! I think we will begin to see a distinct divide over time between the people using G+ and Facebook, because they result in different types of content digestion and interaction!

Yesterday I had a little Facebook diet myself that I called #plusMonday. I intend on doing it again next week and telling friends about it, but in the mean time, I totally agree - going back to Facebook is just icky!
+Tammy J Yes, you may be able to add a number of people you want in facebook, but the major difference between the two networks right now is that it is not socially acceptable within facebook to add those you don't know. Remember, the premise of facebook was only to add people within your network - "people you might know"; it was never about adding random strangers because you found their comments interesting and the facebook culture never fostered that kind of atmosphere as Facebook was originally meant for college students (I was a Sophomore when I made my FB account in 2005). Sure, there are those people who add anyone just to bump their friend count up and feel popular, which is akin to the culture that was fostered on myspace, but the noticeable difference here is as many have pointed out - including the original poster - is having to seek out people new and interesting people and create circles for them. Whether they circle you back is absolute gravy, but the circles concept is shaping up to be more Twitter-esque with the exception being that we can add our full thoughts instead of being limited to only a certain amount of characters. I can't create a facebook friend list named "Interesting people I found via the Comments section" (which I created here as I was making this comment) if after adding them, I'm either declined or just left in pending purgatory.

This truly is a different beast, and not because Google intended it to be a different beast ironically, but because the user culture is shaping it to be such a thing. Yes, there are a lot of things that can be done on facebook that we have currently been doing on G+, particularly in the way of meeting new people - but look at the two networks as having the option of living in two towns: one town is already established in terms of both written laws as well as social constructs/unwritten "laws", the other town is a newly built community with a large number of people unfamiliar with each other thus getting to know each other via daily block parties (or Hangouts) or just visiting one's house (profile) and introducing themselves (adding you to a circle). The new town is currently building their social constructs of etiquette, acceptability, and general culture. Facebook is already defined, G+ is currently being defined as we all go along, and based on this article, we're finding that the definition of G+ is becoming majorly different from how we define and use facebook.
+Morgan ABBOU I'm not at all sure most people on FB will switch to G+ even after they "get it". If you have multiple roles that you're trying to juggle online (e.g. +Robert Scoble) G+ is a huge help of course, but for most people that's not an issue. They have professional contacts and personal contacts, and many of them manage that by simply not having any professional contacts on FB. They may not even want to communicate with their professional contacts outside of a work context.

I personally love G+ for all the reasons you mention, I'm just saying that those reasons aren't relevant for a lot of people.
I don't know... I do play games over on Facebook, but it's not why I'm on Facebook. I've found that while looking for other people to play those games with, I have done exactly what you suggest we do with G+: I've found and connected with complete strangers who I find really interesting and who I look forward to seeing new updates from. Minus the games, that's also what I do on Twitter. I'm all about "meeting" people with similar interests as me. However, I get that in truckloads between FB and Twitter. I've only been here on G+ for a few days and so far, I don't see it being more than a nifty new toy that I'll forget about in a month. =\
I agree. Very good point of view. It's not facebook, it's something different that really puts the "networking" into social networking.
+Christina Trapolino You know Google has ownership in Zynga right? You really think social games aren't coming here when there's so much money to be made??
"I remember when G+ was about the conversations, man. That was before they sold out... before Zynga got the API. Now it's all changed." "Dude - are you adding me to your farm circle or not?"
I am calling it Farmbook, cause that is the only thing I still do there.
Xin Li
You joke paul, but of course we all know gaming is definitely coming. I can't see any social service that won't get infected by Zynga at some point, and you end up having to manage some kind of collection of virtual plants and animals to the detriment of your real life.
Amen! These days I check FB once or twice a week to see what I've missed by not calling relatives. All my interesting FB folks are also on Twitter, GetGlue and Foursquare.
+Xin Li - I am expecting to create a specific Circle of Hell to relegate people who try to recruit me to their pixel cow cult.

Seriously though... I have no problem with games showing up on G+ assuming we don't sacrifice privacy and control to do it.
"And the best way to keep Google+ rich in content and devoid of lame, invasive apps is to let go of your old ideas about what it means to be on a social network."

Is it possible that some people are still shy when it comes to their digital life? You have your trolls, but I still think there is a vast majority of people who don't want to venture outside of their comfortable social circles, pun intended, to interact with new people.
Very well said!

I see myself staying connected to FB only for the couple of games I play and for the connections with people who won't migrate to G+ and essentially the same for Twitter.
One thing that I found frustrating with FB, was the inability to reach beyond the people I already knew to meet and/or listen to new and interesting perspectives. I tried using Twitter, but felt like a twit and found it to be the equivalent of using DOS.

I lasted a minute on that.

G+ seems to give me the ability for both.
Listening and sharing to close circles.
Thanks for this post.
I've recently started using Twitter and I really like it alot. My only real complaints about Twitter are:

1. Sometimes, a lot of times, 140 characters isn't enough;
2. Spammers. Please for the love of god find a solution to the spammers; and,
3. So many people only representing their brands and not being real (even I am guilty of that sometimes)

I really like Twitter a lot and will continue to engage there, but I think G+ will be a better fit for me overall.
Yes Alicia, go to the little gear in the upper right corner (options). Click on it and choose "Google+ settings." You can set things from there. :)
You're most welcome! Glad to help. :)
Xin Li
+Seth Dochter The reason why G+ is more real currently is in large part due to the closed nature of the beta. Once this opens up to the public, I wonder how big the spam problem is going to be. Of course Google has a lot of know how about spam filtering both from doing search and gmail. So I have hope that Google will do better then Twitter.
+Xin LI between the "report as spam" button right next to every post and the circles it might take a while to become a big problem.
+Xin Li I get that its a beta, but I think Google will do a much better job than twitter when it comes to fighting spam. I use my gmail accounts as a point of reference, They are really good at fighting spam.
"People are treating their Google+ accounts just like Facebook accounts. And I think that’s a doomed approach."

That is, Google+ it's perfect, too bad "people" don't get it. It reminds me of Sony Minidisc
It's people who make a social network succesful, that's why it's called "social", dude !
I hope you are wrong, otherwise Google+ is doomed to failure, not the approach.
I am thinking/hoping Google doesn't put any games on g+. What they need to do, is simply let the user allow whatever internet games people play, to feed their stream with their game crap.

Doing this will let you segment who the games spam based on circles, and hopefully even allow User B to just not see particular game feeds.

I think putting the games on the facebook site itself was the biggest mistake they did. Goto Zynga or Pogo, link your account to your g+, and allow it to feed to circle Internet Games. Much better way to handle it. Then the game makers can never get to any info outside of whatever you put on your account on their site.

This change, and the big emphasis on segmenting people into circles from the get-go, are more then enough for me to not touch Facebook again. I just wish Google would hurry and get Calendar integration in. Once that's fully implemented even my less tech savvy friends will be able to do everything on g+. I personally hate the facebook event setup, and even more so because its locked into facebook only.
Hmmm... I'll take your advice right now and reply to a post from somebody that I don't know at all (e.g. you!). :-) Thanks for the insight!
DJ Nash
What? No more pictures of everyone standing in front of their bathroom mirrors!
It's taken me a couple of days of kicking the G+ tires to come to this same conclusion. I've been joyfully adding folks I've never met (or some, never even heard of) and learning more in the past few hours than I thought possible. Thanks for the great post!
Great post... I see G+ as an exiting tangent to the already existing social networks out there. It's still a young service, and I'm not quite sure exactly how I'll personally use G+...But for now, I'm enjoying the ride.
Love these ideas! They're making me think and are expanding my Thoughtosphere even my thought-universe!!!! Love it.
Sam MB
Complete G+ noob here and so far liking it, thanks for this!
I too have been drinking up as much information as possible on how to make my G+ experience more meaningful. It seems to bring users together in ways FB can't. It requires a bit more personal integration especially with folks you don't know but I'm looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out. So far so good.
This is as true as it can get . yes I have added people I know but more importantly I have added people I do not know and listen to theri thoughts and ideas. I sometimes collaborate, sometimes simply comsume - and it is, by far (at least up till now) a far more fulfilling experience than FB ever was. I was drawn once to FB for (believe it or not) MafiaWars, which kept me engaged with hundreds of people I did not know but who were helping the gaming exp. Before long I have shed the game, got rid of all the people I did not know (basically 99.9% of those only added for the purpose of gamin exp) and only concentrated on the friends - as u say it's helpful to keep up with friends and remote relatives bit not more.
G+ is so much more and it seems currently to me as a very collaborative blog. Let's see if upcoming changes make it even better. I also like its openness (probably 10+ extensions for Chrome within 20 days is amazing). And maybe, just maybe, we will see FB opening up. What I am not sure of is if a 100bn $ valuation can remain...
Thanks Christina, very worthwhile read.
circle surfing is the future
Totally agree with you so I'm gonna reshare it :)
The whole post is interesting, but you haven't find the anser. ;-)
Google copies more or less the strategy of Twitter. The way you describe how to handle G+, is the way how people act on Twitter. ;-)
Great reflexion, Chistina. Congrats
Great post! I'm hopeful that I can return to using Facebook for personal stuff - keeping up to date with with friends and family through statuses, photos, etc, and maybe for playing the odd silly game if Google+ takes off for business users. I like Facebook, but have never been comfortable with building a business presence there, it's always been difficult to keep up with all the changes and rules.

I too, see myself using Twitter less in favor of Google+. So for me, the threat is bigger to Twitter, which I've been less enthused about in the past few months about anyway.
And we're all able to hang out and share ideas without booking flights and hotel rooms! Great post, Christina.
Of course it feels different in the beta time of early adopters (thinkers, web people, geeks, programmers and so on). But when the masses arrive, it WILL become the Facebook replacement. And I'm totally OK with that. Nobody is doing it wrong since there isn't and can't be a definition for doing it right. If the majority will use G+ like Facebook then you are wrong, if you are saying that's not right :)
I found this post via Huffington, and it's really inspired me to use G+ differently than I have been. I have been looking at it like Facebook 2.0, and I hate Facebook. Thanks for this!
Christina, glad we're connected here. I feel like I have 2 left feet, I'm looking forward to reading your posts so I can learn more about Google+. thx
I'll be honest, this mom was turned off by this post right around when she was lumped in with the spam bots. What exactly makes "Facebook ... for 'moms'"? And why are mothers in the derogatory company of spam robots in your mind?
Expanding beyond the people "you really know" in a neat and less creepy way...I like it
I've not been paying close enough attention to what Google has had cooking. My cousin (always on top of the Google betas) got me in to G+. I too have been struggling with the differences between Fb and G+, I just expected Fb 2.0; after reading this, I am on my way to a different social network.
I like this article, which clear lots of thing that I was puzzling. Thank you.
Very much +1ed. This is something I learned pretty quickly.
Great article. One of the best thing we early and early-ish adopters of G+ can do is click the Send Feedback button at the bottom right and tell Google that we are not interested in effbook styled games, quizzes and such rubbish. Tell them we are looking for content and produce content. The potential for producing content, the ease with which it can be done and the potential to reach and interact with new folks is so solid it even scares me a little in terms of continuing to use my own blogs.

And, you'll be happy to know I found my way here via a G+ Share on G+ and even happier to note I've added you to one of my circles for following people who are totally new to me.

Twitter, with its 140 characters, inability to generate true discussion and inherent propensity the worst kind of self-promotion (where people follow to get followed with really, for the most part, actually following anyone) was mind boggling from the start.

FB. I never "got" effbook. I know I am not even close to fully utilizing or even most properly utilizing G+ yet but unlike effbook I "got" G+ right away.

G+ has the existing potential for a much better social network platform for those that want it as well as business application. The integration with Gmail in terms of ease of use and ability to truly track discussion is so unlike anything any other SN offers that it puts G+

There, phew, I'm done.
I've never been a Facebook user, the idea of it just made me cringe.... I keep in touch with the people i want to keep in touch with and that has worked just fine for me. This feels different without even knowing why and I'm excited about it.
This article made me reevaluate my Google+ experience because till now I've been comparing it to facebook, but now I realize I need to pay attention to the "bigger, maybe more important" feeling I've been feeling recently. Good Post
I really appreciate you post you have made an excellent case for those trying to live on both sides of the fence. Thank you!
That's an amazingly helpful perspective. Thank you for spelling it out.
You hit the nail on the head. I made a similar post recently however you said it far more eloquently.
Great article about this. My friends seem to be having the same problem while I am having a blast adding nearly 10 new people an hour and reading all this awesome content practically live. G+ may have similarities in many ways but to take in the whole experience is nothing like Facebook. As you said, it's much bigger.
I really don't think its as much a facebook killer as a social network for social networks ie traditional facebook, twitter, and cosmic panda as well as not so traditional search engines, forums, news sites etc all with a googly flavor which seems to always mean less "i wish they do this" type scenarios.
K- Mall
So true. *Hand clap
soooo true- and thats what i wanna hear
roughly 10 years ago I did a project with a company able to manually scan hundreds of magazines, newspapers and other offline resource. Re-write full length stories to abstracts, tag all abstracts according to a handbook of sector/company specific tags and upload the tagged abstracts to their database. Database access was sold to information managers, lawyers, consultants and accountants in need for structured information/knowledge (with 5 years of news/knowledge history).

The last couple of years I've been thinking why they didn't take the next step (user generated content, outsourcing their labor to the masses) and last week it occurred to me: Google+ is not about information it's about knowledge. Replace tags by circles, add millions of users to your workforce and - if you are a (quality) control freak - hire a couple of people to structure and filter your circles.

Google+ is / can be the 2.0 (corporate) knowledge management infrastructure with access to unlimited items and workforce.
Totally agree, I go on Facebook and people are just writing statuses that I can't imagine even they find interesting. And I come on here and I read pretty much everything.
A google fan myself, but I'd to to comment that what I use FB is mostly arranging, or taking part in, events, in various sports and social clubs. This ability to coordinate sporting events online saves us lots of time! So, I could never ditch facebook before the day g+ would offer an alternative to this... In addition to this, I use it for news (Economist and the alike) in a twitter-like fashion, but AFAIK there is a business platform to g+ not rolled out yet...
Great approach. Great tip, in a nutshell: Google+ is not the new FB - it's Google+.
It is very different from Facebook - but pleasantly so.
Great post about the difference between Google + and Facebook. I'm pretty new around here, but already like Google + more than Facebook. It's like you say much more than Facebook. I'm curious how long it will take to have more users then Facebook.
It's a Twitter / Facebook hybrid, but better than both!
I see Google+ as really what you would get if Twitter and Facebook had a baby, Google+can be used in may ways, that is what I find so cool about.
Nice, it seems we are making revarly to blogs. Great post. Lets try this not cool functions
As much as the "facebook is for moms" thing smarts, that's what I am going to use FB for going forward. G+ will be my one stop shop, a kid free zone.

Will my G+ profile self-destruct because I am someone's mom, GASP?!?
That's something to think about!!!
My take EXACTLY! Just expressed far better :)
So basically you're saying that the way I should use it differently from Facebook is that I should add people I don't know? I have that option in FB and I don't want that.
Facebook is for Kids, that is the way I see this split, Facebook becomes the new Myspace with your bands and brands. Everyone keeps the Facebook account to keep in touch with friends from waaay back as everyone is on it.

Older users gradually drift away, or log in less often, purely to keep tabs on the occasional random characters we all have in our lives.

Google becomes the new place for grown-ups, for sharing and positive interaction with people who you want to follow. I am new to this so have been handing out the invites and have helped friends get up and running.

If I was to guess the future Google will buy twitter, then your following feed will merge with your twitter feed those that like interaction can then tweet and engage in conversation via this format we are on now.

So far for me the killer feature is the picassa interface all my photos have been uploaded to the service and I pay for the extra storage (no brainer when they threw in the eye fi card) now I never have to reupload to facebook ever again and because of the easy separation in circles only my family ever get to see the photos of my travels.

Thank you google.
Excelente Post!!! Muchas gracias por los consejos!
Great post Cristina! Most of my friends who don't get Twitter will likely have the same experience with Google+. I'm a mid-westerner and people seem to have a guard up about interacting with 'strangers'. I think part of the crunch will be getting non-techny nerds over the uneasiness of following someone they don't know in real life.
Thanks for the nurturing insight. If Google+ is the love child of other social networking sites, then these genes were very carefully selected. Am I actually observing discussion ... using coherent sentences and paragraphs ... on topics of actual interest?! Inconceivable.

Science quote of the day:
When asked (after demonstrating electromagnetism) 'What good is it?', Faraday replied, 'What good is a new-born baby?'
This is worth a lot more than just +1. Try +infinity! :)
I wish we could link to comments. Ron Francis' comment is also worth preserving.
I agree - the potential of circles is completely lost if you only add people you know - the beauty of it all is that you can add strangers and hey! that guy from google doesn't have to see your post about the underwear you just got on sale at Victoria Secret ................... unless you want him to ;)
The 2nd person I added to a circle (after the guy who invited me) was an author/artist I like. Reading my following stream is what I want twitter to be like.
Great post! I have also been trying to figure out what G+ was all about. At first, I thought it was just another Facebook. Then I got an invite, and thought "WOW...this is how FB should have been!" Now, I'm not so sure what it is, but I like it. I have all but stopped posting on Twitter and FB. G+ seems to be the "One network to rule them all". I can follow people (Twitter), have conversations with friends (FB), and even write my long rambling thoughts for others to read (blog).

G+ is what it is for each and every individual. If they want a FB clone, it can do that. If they want a Twitter clone, it can do that too. I love the fact that there are so many ways built into G+ to engage each other. I really hope this project takes off, and I am excited to see what Google does next with it!
Totally agree. Facebook I'll keep around when I'm feeling nostalgic or wanna catch up with past folks I knew in the real world. G+ a bit of that plus get to use it as a super-deluxe version of Twitter where I meet incredible new people stretching my head in all kind of ways. Plus nifty features to boot!
It's like Stumbleupon with much more opportunity for commenting and tangential conversation.
Ok you conviced me. I'll start following Linus.
I think my head is about to explode - this all of this (non) social networking is a full-time job - whew! Thank you for helping to make it a little less confusing.
Great Post.. Am going to repost this to my stream. .Hope you dont mind
Great article. I will share it with the rest of my team as I have been trying to explain this very thing to them. Now hopefully MarkZuck understands this and allows FB to play with G+ more.
Thank you, +Christina Trapolino for this insightful post. Reading posts like yours and following the great tips on it has greatly enhanced my Google + experience. Keep them coming.
I'm a small business owner: I run an elopement service and am a wedding officiant. I want to find people who are in similar small businesses, who are doing things a certain way... How do I find these people so I can learn things from them and discuss topics that affect our industry? Google+ makes it easy to communicate with them once you find them, but finding them seems to be the big challenge.
Thank you for this post. I started adding people who had keywords relevant to my interests in their profiles and I was starting to feel creepy by adding people to circles I dont know. Ive added other performers in hooping, contact juggling, poi and searched for other couchsurfers as well. Some of them added me back and I was delighted to see some of the content they posted because I felt like i found my people even if I dont know them yet. This is a social network right? Lets be social!
Also..... I used this to search for people and make new connections I found more jugglers and fire performers on there to add. I am still looking for my couchsurfing globe trotting buddies. :)
Really helpful post. I definitely believe that this social network is geared towards immersing one's self in interesting information. I'm so glad that third party apps don't exist here, finally I feel like I am in control.
I've just seen this post shared by a friend of mine, I had to come over and say thank you. It is so well written and says exactly how I feel about Google+ too.
Perfect summation of the differences between the two systems.
The "Nearby" feature is great for those of us living in large cities. It's terrific to stumble across someone you don't know and have a common place to interact. It isn't all about keeping up with the old gang, but in reaching out and sharing meaningful content and comments. I don't play FB games, and if they come here, I doubt I'll be playing them here, either. I am treasuring the quality human interaction to date, and hope it continues long enough to become something of a community standard.
+1 and shared. I completely agree with you. G+ is definitely not FB.
I don't have a Facebook account, so I was unsure what to expect from G+. When I added only my friends to the circles it was a bit stagnant, but when started to search for people who do have interesting things to say... I think You're right G+ is much more than Facebook, the flow of information both interesting and useless is amazing even with this limited userbase. And it feels really nice to share stuff this way.

Although I don't totally agree with gaming part :P I'm really eager to see when some 3rd party apps and games arrive here. Hell, I'll be trying write something for G+ as soon as it's possible :)
So true I'm starting to see that Google+ for me at least is what Facebook should have been all along...I love catching up with friends and family but it's getting harder to get through the game/app requests and advertisements to the stuff I really want to know about.
God forbid Google+ apps ever exist.. ever. Nice post!
So... "use it a lot and it'll work good?" OK, I guess. Still seems a bit 'rah rah" to me.
This is so true. If more people start using it this way, too, I think it'll stick (and it'd be nice if they incorporated Wave features).
Wow fantastic article. Really helps a newbie like me get some perspective on what to use G+ for. PS. Someone please get me in your circles!
So well said. Thanks a bunch. Best part... I added 70 "interesting people" to a circle by that same name. Can't wait to see what you all share.
Google+ will have app and game before the end of September. What should they do differently to avoid the "clunky, disorganized and downright invasive" experience you got at Facebook?
Also, is it easier or better in your opinion to share content and ideas on Google+? How is it different? it seems like the same experience to me?
I'm going to add links to this and a few other "intro" articles to my G+ invites from now on.
I can see where you are coming from. I guess I am right now one of the people who is slowly taking all the information in right now, and will slowly be finding my niche in this community. I'm not as vocal right now, but I am personally really glad to be interacting with people I normally wouldn't be. I currently have a circle labeled interesting people that I put anybody who at interests me. After reading some of their other work I can then move them into a more focused circle.
The fact that my company can't block it yet is great for me since it's linked to gmail which I use often they can't get rid of it just yet.
My biggest single complaint about fb being unable to block stuff like all games or just bothering you with the ones you actually play. Same for many stupid apps. Block all but the ones I use including any new crap. The circles are great too, since they let me do things like add customers who are on back order on a product to a circle.
Interesting reading. What I don't understand though is how you discover new people who post interesting stuff? For instance, how did this post get so much attention at first (despite that this is a good post, there's got be something more to it that made it widely seen..?).
This is the explanation of G+ I've had in my head for all of my whiny FB "friends," but have been wholly uncreative enough to actually dictate. Well said, indeed!
Great read, I will be using this along with some of the other interesting articles I have read to point "Friends" toward the G+ light.
<3 Thanks!! I haven't been sure what to do with Google+ and this helps.
This is a great post! I decided that today was my day to explore and learn to utilize G+, but I am so in the Facebook mentality that I haven't been sure where to start...until now.
Nice post. Also I just wanted to be the 3000th +1 :)
Zi W
Congrats on the featured post, you bring some interesting points to the table. Nice post.
"so if Google wanted me to use G+ instead of Facebook, it was gonna happen"

It's a bit like me and honey: If honey wanted me to eat more honey, I would. Which makes me feel hungry. I love honey!
This was a lightbulb moment for me thanks Christina.

Basically if apply a Venn diagram to the quotation "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people" then G+ is over the former two and Facebook more firmly in the later or does that say something about my Facebook friends?
You've just articulated everything I've tried to say to my friends, yet far more eloquently. Nice one!
Will be interesting to see how Google deals with commercial profiles though.
I consider myself a fairly hard-core Google-phile / early adopter. My current (and early) thoughts so far about G+, is that Google continues to EXCEL at giving the user the experience they desire by giving the user the majority of the control over how they use it. If you want only RL friends, that's fine, but it's also easy to experiment by having a "G+" circle, so you can meet strangers like you used to with Myspace. If you're uncomfortable about it, keep it separate. If you like to follow famous people, like users do on Twitter, you can have a following circle. You can choose what you do and how you do it. So far, I think that G+ offers some features in a better manner than some competitors. Will it replace facebook? Not for a while... if I'm looking for my long lost 5th grade teacher, FB is so ubiquitous that my odds would be better there. But then, I'd send her an invite to G+!
facebook is everywhere and it may take a while for people to get used to doing things a bit diffreent on google+, I'm slowly starting to see the benefits of google over facebook. great article.
Thanks for a great post! I have also been looking forward to Google+ as a welcome alternative to FB.
+Christina Trapolino Thanks for writing exactly how I feel about G+ and saving me the hassle of writing something similar but less eloquent. I can just share yours!
I agree whole heartily! Now can you guys add me so I can have more friends on here? :)
Thanks!! lol
precisely why I'm gonna add you into my circle! I love this post!
I love your view about the Facebook gaming, that's what made me use Google+ more. As a result, i barely check Facebook anymore.
It's nice that the games on Google+ are separate, +Jorre Van Munster - I think that goes a long way in maintaining quality. On Facebook, I have to block apps (or people who won't stop sharing them!) frequently in order to get them the heck outta my news feed. It's a real pain, that's for sure.
Great post Christina. I sooo hate having to sift through FB BS to get to the stuff I want to read and share. I never really cared that my sister's kids baked a pie today :) G+ will allow me to add and share my blog with likeminded people in a way I could never do with FB. Love it, and thanks for your inspiration.
Jon L
love this thanks so much for helping me see this!
+Christina Trapolino These are great points that you have posted here.  I am just now taking Google + seriously and I don't really use facebook.
Jon L
Wow I had forgotten all about this ! 
lulz @ my comments from almost 2 years ago. ;)
Jon L
I'm kinda glad I never mute this. It's refreshing:-) thanks for the bump +Aaron Wood & +William Zaney!! I am going to re share this now lol.
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