Google+ among the social networks
Watching Google+ unfold for the past week or so, I'm starting to see a nice niche for it. I don't think it will be a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social network killer, but I think it has its place. It's starting to feel like it could be used as a midpoint between a micro-blogging platform and an actual blog, and I think that's pretty useful.
I mostly use Facebook to stay in touch with people, and it's almost entirely social. I think G+ will be very different than my Facebook network--more akin to the network I've started having on Twitter, but for longer-form content. If I have thoughts that rise to the mini-essay level, I can put them here, share them with whomever cares to read them, and track on others who do the same. I've been thinking about starting a blog, but the overhead has been a barrier--there's a certain pressure to write regularly and also edit carefully. Here I can do what I've been seeing many people do with Tumblr or Posterous, or the myriad blogs of my professional contacts, but in a more explicitly social way, with a low barrier to commenting and a very slick, well-designed UI.
I suspect I'll divide the many social networks available to me as follows:
* Facebook will continue to be a nice cross-section of the closest of my professional relationships, my family, and a lot of long-ago friends. It's a good way to stay in touch, share photos and the like, be reminded of birthdays, and plan reunions. I suspect I'll continue my love/hate relationship with Facebook, oscillating wildly between a desire to delete my account and an appreciation of its amazing ability to connect me to the friends that I'm no longer in close proximity to.
* Twitter will continue to be mostly about sharing links, finding links, and having quick, simple, short interactions with a cross-section of people that skews more on the professional side than the social. Though for me, like many, there's a pretty substantial overlap there.
* Here, I'll do what I'm doing now: I'll share thoughts that I want to expand on a bit more deeply, but don't rise to the level of more formal publishing. I'll hope that some of my professional contacts do the same, and for the others, I'll trust that Google will quickly find a way to tightly integrate my couple hundred Google Reader feeds into their new social world.
* I'll probably still start a blog some day, but for now, I think I'll share medium-length thoughts here. Folks who like them can read them, re-share them or comment on them, folks who don't want to listen to me can drop me into a circle that they rarely look at.
Thanks to +Roy Tennant, +Michael Giarlo, +Ryan Eby and +Bohyun Kim for helping shape these thoughts.