Jun 29, 2011

Google Plus: The Anti Twitter

Privacy advocates have gotten Facebook users attuned to the idea that not everything should be shared with everyone. So many, if not most, Facebookers have changed their default settings to ensure that their birthday party photos are shared with their friend list rather than the (default) entire world and some have even gone the extra step of creating distinct groups of work contacts, family members and the like.

It is this desire to only share certain things with certain people appears to be one of the main drivers behind the new Google Plus

Which makes it not the anti-Facebook, but the anti-Twitter.

Because Twitter is all about sharing everything with everyone. Particularly people who don’t know you. At all. Which is one of the things that causes certain people to have such a visceral reaction to Twitter: this notion that someone would give up all notions of privacy willingly, rather than because of an easily-corrected flaw in the technology.

Now the good news for Google and Twitter is that there is likely room for both. Right now use of the various platforms is largely based on one’s degree of tech savviness and willingness to be an early adopter. But as these social platforms become even more ubiquitous, I think we’re going to start selecting them based on what fits with our own personalities.

This often overlooked fact - that we are unique beings who feel more comfortable in some situations than others - is going to be a big factor in the future of social platforms. People will start to spend more and more time on the platform that best conforms with their sense of how much a person should share with the outside world. And it seems as if there will be a continuum, with Twitter and Google Plus each grabbing one side of the privacy line and Facebook in the middle.

I’m not seeing an either/or situation: plenty of people will be active on all three. But like the old chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream dilemma, they’ll always have a favorite among the three.

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