Friday, September 23, 2011

Is This Business or Pleasure?

I'm not going to fuel the debate whether the changes to Facebook are good, bad or a non event for most subscribers. I'm not going to defend Google Plus or pontificate over the impact on Twitter or the many other social networks people know and love. There are plenty of columns, articles, videos and publications waving the flag for their preferred network.

The radical changes Facebook has made and the direction Google Plus is headed with business profiles  (still in test) simply reaffirm my view that these two platforms will attract different people at different times with a very different purpose in mind and who are seeking a different kind of experience.

Facebook continues to be the preeminent social social network. Adding more ways of sharing every day life, personal interests and experiences makes it an even better place to hang out with my friends. We can trade stories, pictures and videos about our vacations or listen to some cool tunes on Spotify together. Students, housewives (and dads) and other people with free time and flexible schedules will take advantage of these and more additional features to socialize.

Google Plus integrated and used along with all of the Google applications will ultimately serve the business community. The data collected from Facebook will have enormous commercial value, while the Google platform is already being used in the workplace directly to support and enable operations. In Facebook we may write "notes" to describe a trip to wine country. In Google Apps we're collaborating on a contract document and presentation to clients.

Certainly many companies have a presence on Facebook, yet most still frown on employees accessing their accounts during the work day. Google, and soon Google Plus, is perceived as a viable set of capabilities to enable employees to do their jobs. After using Google Apps for some time and now frequenting Google Plus, it is obvious to me how this is how it is all going to play out.

This is not to suggest that Google Plus will never be used for social purposes nor will Facebook exclude business. But on balance, people will be more comfortable with personal exchanges in Facebook while Google Plus will naturally feel like a more professional environment.

This is not a winner take all contest. Neither of these networks will crush or irradiate the other. Put all the rhetoric and hyperbole aside. They offer alternative ways of interacting with family, friends, colleagues, associates and even strangers.

Step back and take an objective view of how you use Facebook or Google Plus. Then tell me if you agree or if  perhaps I missed something.

Captain Joe

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