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scott penton
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What will you miss when you quit Facebook?

(I'm linking to this from both Facebook and Twitter, so if you accuse me of pushing Facebook here I'll look at you strange).

+Chuq Von Rospach says in a few days he'll be leaving Facebook in a post on Facebook. Of course you have to be on Facebook to read this post: https://www.facebook.com/chuqui/posts/10152117353196881

I almost want to argue with him and get him not to leave, but I really won't lose that much. I'll still have him on Google+ and on Twitter, so I won't miss his bird photos anyway.

Instead, it made me think about what you WILL miss when you leave Facebook. So, let's go at it.

1. Filtered feed. Truth is this is a mixed bag. For me it's a HUGE deal because I have put thousands of hours into tuning my feed and I have many of the world's top technologists on Facebook. Even built a list of them on Facebook (VIPs): https://www.facebook.com/lists/10150693687489655 and (Startup Entrepreneurs): https://www.facebook.com/lists/10151307880744655 and (Startup Investors): https://www.facebook.com/lists/10150896117899655 

Now, you can get many of the same folks elsewhere, particularly on Twitter, where I have similar lists: (Tech VIPs): https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/most-influential-in-tech (Tech Execs): https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/tech-company-executives (Tech Investors): https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/tech-investors (Tech Company Founders): https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/tech-company-founders.

But the feeds on Google+ and Twitter -- once you put in the work -- aren't even close to as good. Yes, you can minimize the noise by following a smaller number of people, but then you won't have completeness. If anything, if I quit Facebook I'd spend more time on Twitter, because the search and small size of messages, makes noise somewhat better. But not much. Today +Redgie Snodgrass announced he's quitting Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/redgsnodgrass/posts/10154323906030615

2. Facebook Messages. For me this would be the hardest part of quitting Facebook. Since nearly everyone in the industry is on Facebook, this is -- by far -- the most useful part of Facebook. Yeah, we could use other messengers, but here kicks in the network effect. Most of my friends don't regularly use Google Hangouts. So getting them to Google Hangouts would be very tough. My personal opinion is Messenger is better, too, particularly on mobile, but that's an opinion and one that could change, the same way I changed from being a Windows fan to being a Macintosh one. That said, I've gotten a LOT of business for Rackspace from Messenger messages, so that won't be easy to leave. Just seeing the thousands of friends who are online every day (they have a green dot next to them) demonstrates just how hard this would be to leave.

3. Facebook Events. Here, too, is a network effect lock in. I get TONS of personal event invites on Facebook (and have planned quite a few events here too). I have this integrated with my Google Calendar, as well. I find it to be the best place to plan the personal side of my life (and many professional events too). Could we replace this with Eventbrite or Google+ events? Yes, but again, those two aren't nearly as popular as Facebook. 

4. Family. Almost my entire family is on Facebook. 30 people in all. Only one isn't. Google+? Exactly the opposite. Until I can convince them all to use Google+ or some other service (nearly none are on Twitter) then it's gonna be very hard to leave Facebook. 

5a. Photos. Here is something I really wouldn't miss much about Facebook -- if everyone were to leave and go to Google+. Photos on Google+ look better, are sharper, and are bigger because Google+ optimizes for the large screens I use. Facebook optimizes for mobile screens everywhere, and photos look weak and anemic. Since Chuq's value mostly is posting bird photos (and automatically bringing Tweets into his Facebook, which REALLY SUCKS) he will really like this aspect of Google+. I'm shocked I haven't convinced my wife of this, though, yet, despite her loving sharing photos nearly every day at https://www.facebook.com/maryamie

5b. Photo tagging. On the other hand, I greatly will miss Facebook's photo tags. Why? Network effect again. Since nearly everyone is on Facebook, it's a LOT easier to tag people in photos. 

6. Notifications. I like Facebook's notifications better than Google+'s. I don't know why, gotta think about this more. Probably because the people I follow have a deeper emotional tie to me than those I have circled on Google+. UPDATE: Just took another look at this. Facebook has more content in its notifications, like photos, etc. More useful.

7. Groups. Facebook's groups have more people, more engagement, and overall better content in them. Now, that's a subjective judgment and I'm sure I will have hundreds of Google+'ers (not to mention people who use LinkedIn) commenting that that's not true. It is in the groups I'm most interested in, though, like autism support.

8. Search. Google+ and Twitter are way better here. I wouldn't miss Facebook's search at all. Well, except for one thing. When I meet people at conferences I ask for their Facebook name. Almost always I can find that on Facebook. Often I try on Google+ and Twitter and there it gets harder because often they aren't on those two services.

9. Publicness. Hey, if you are trying to build an audience and serve them, you better care about this. Google+ and Twitter can be viewed without logging in. Facebook? Nope. I won't miss that part of Facebook. Although the complaints have largely calmed down since nearly everyone is on Facebook. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'll get thousands of Google+ comments saying "I'm not on Facebook." Hi +Ryan Block !

10. Social hints. I find out about tons of things that are important to my closest friends because Facebook, on my Close Friends list, shows me stuff like "Ben Metcalfe liked this" or "Francine Hardaway commented on." Plus I get that kind of stuff from calendar events, etc. Not the same on Twitter or Google+, although Google+, over last year, has added some of that.

11. Privacy. Generally Google+ is better. The things I've tested, like messages to family group, or private messages to people on Messenger, have remained private. But Facebook changes its privacy often and people still don't understand when something is public or private (often they mark messages as private that they meant for public and I'm sure the reverse happens). Google+ is generally easier to figure out because of its Circle metaphor and because Google+ doesn't do social hints nearly as much (Facebook messages can "leak" to others due to engagement on those messages).

12. Completeness of profile. I like my Facebook profile better https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble because of app integration. You can see my Spotify, Quora, and other app usage, for instance. On the other hand, Google+ is easier to search.

13. Finding friends. Easier on Facebook both because nearly everyone is on it (Maryam's entire elementary school class from Tel Aviv in the 1970s is on Facebook, for instance) as well as most people give Facebook more data to find them. Things like schools and jobs, etc. 

14. Ads. I won't miss those, but I'm not adverse to ads. They help pay for the services I use. That said, I see LOTS of complaints that Facebook shows too many ads on feeds, etc. Google+ has none. Twitter has some here and there, like promoted tweets. Funny, someone complained to my boss about Rackspace's Public Tweets and he said "we're helping to pay for a service you love." Answer? "Oh, you got a point there."

15. Brands. I have a list of 2,811 startups on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/lists/10151131074469655 I doubt I'd build that list on Twitter, the displays on Facebook are simply better. There's no way in hell I could do that on Google+ or LinkedIn, though. I have a similar list of big companies at https://www.facebook.com/lists/10151139643144655

Since there's lots of people on Google+ that have left Facebook, is there anything I missed? Or things I got wrong? (Even I can't keep up with all the changes on these social networks, when Google+ released three years ago Facebook didn't have some of these things, for instance).
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