~1 month into the new social network order

By Razib Khan | July 25, 2011 2:08 am

I am only being added to Google+ “circles” at a clip of half a dozen per day. This is off the peak of nearly 20 or so per day a little over a week ago. I’m now at nearly 500 people in my Google circles, though only 5 were individuals whom I added proactively. I honestly have no idea who 2/3 of these people are, though it seems that most of them know me through my blogs. About ~75 people I know rather well, though fewer than 50 are people who I’ve met in real life (many of these only once or twice). In contrast on Facebook there are hundreds of people I’ve met and known and know in real life. Very few of my college or high school friends have “added me” to their circles. In contrast, the people who I am socially engaged with currently have added me. It’s like Google+ is a vast and shallow circle extending outward into my present social space, both explicit (people I know) and implicit (those who know me through my web presence). In contrast Facebook has more historical depth. Though it’s been around a lot longer too, so the comparison isn’t fair.

Meanwhile, Google+ has hit a major snag with their “real names” policy. If there’s one thing that Facebook has learned, it’s that you better be responsive after a major mistake. After a few weeks of Google+ I think most people agreed that Google “got” the social web. But at this point I’m not so sure. I don’t have a major opinion about their policies, but their public relations hasn’t been optimal.

Finally, I have to add that right now my Google+ “stream” is far more dynamic and value-added than my Facebook wall. There’s way more commentary and response. That’s partly a function of the excitement over the new platform, but I wonder if circles has energized many people. I’m not a major user at this point, but I have used Google+ in a way I wouldn’t have on Facebook because of the ease of narrow-casting.

MORE ABOUT: Facebook, Google
  • Justin Giancola

    I don’t have enough people in my circles to really play with the stream; it’s just everybody! And it’s mostly this one person posting mad science stuff all the time, so already more value-add than my facebook wall! I’ve even had more meaningful threads on it than with the same people I have on facebook! ha ha

  • Polynices

    Google+ is half Facebook and half Twitter. Nobody is expected to know the people that follow them on Twitter. People seem surprised when lots of folks that don’t actually know them follow them on Google+. But I think that’s how they intend it to be used. I do find it a bit odd myself.

    [I’d note that I happily comment here because I can use a consistent pseudonym and not worry about Google searches connecting stuff I say to my real name. I hardly comment on G+ because of the forced real name thing.]

  • http://www.clarksearch.com/blog Ellen Clark, Clark Executive Search

    I only have about 45 followers since most of my close family and friends are not yet on Google+. I never used Facebook before except a business page which has only a few followers. I just made the page for everyone says” you have to be on Facebook”. But back to Google+ . I follow scientists for my job and so far most of my followers are the people I interact with on twitter. I have only met a few of them in person but we know each other with our daily tweets . Now I find the stream in google + is far superior. There is a certain depth that is lacking in twitter. I also hate to have to force my thoughts to 140 characters. I am not saying posts should be very long in Google+ but a few more lines can make the difference betwen just sending a link and having an actual conversation. And the Hangout feature works very well. I am looking forward to this becoming a daily feature as it becomes more common place. I don’t have any problem with using my real name. If someone is afraid of having something found out then perhaps they shouldn’t say it. I think real names forces people be more polite and only comment when they have something worthwhile to say

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    well, spoke too soon. bumper crop of adds today on google+. might be people who read this post and decided to add me like everyone else 😉

    Google+ is half Facebook and half Twitter


  • http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/crude-matter/ EcoPhysioMichelle

    I find G+ to be fairly redundant, tbh. Most people are just reposting things I’ve already seen them say on FB or Twitter.

  • Clark

    I’m breaking down and joining. I’m just waiting for my invite. I’ll just have to live logging in and out with my two Google accounts.

  • skeptic

    Just added you after seeing this post :-). I doubt you’ll recognize my real name though. Curious why you dont have public posts?


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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