Will Facebook share the fate of MySpace?

As much as I love Facebook, it has been frustrating me lately.

Between the new “chat” (meaning one’s not able to chat at all), the sudden surge of fake, demeaning profiles due to an obvious lack of a real social life, and the constant stream of application posts on my stalker feed, I’ve become less interested in logging on and more interested in waiting for notifications. Not Facebook’s goal, I’m sure.

So, when I was invited to join Google+, I thought to myself, why not. It has been fairly hyped up, and since I’m now eighteen (Google+’s age requirement – Facebook initially had the same one), I thought I’d see what everyone has been talking about. Plus, this would mark Phase Three of my Summer of Social Networking (first Tumblr, then Twitter, now Google+).

My verdict? I still have much to explore, but so far, I like what I see.

Google+ places contacts in “circles,” convenient for both organization and privacy. Facebook’s labels serve no other purpose than to label, and their privacy settings have vanished in the past few years; while I was once able to limit what certain people saw, I can no longer. Not that I post anything inappropriate on my profile, but it was nice to know people I had met once at a party couldn’t access the same amount of personal information my best friends could.

Using these circles, I can choose whose information I see, meaning I no longer have to sift through tweets via Facebook and “LMS” posts to find information that’s worth reading. Pages people +1 (G+’s version of “like,” except with any page on the Internet) only shows up, as Google puts it, when I have a few minutes and want something to read. G+ also provides Sparks, or streams of information from trusted sources, for any topic one might be interested in. For example, the Movies feed includes celebrity interviews, YouTube videos, and movie reviews from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Kansas City Star, among others. I could then share a link I found particularly interesting with any or all of my circles – if something wouldn’t be relevant to one group of friends, they wouldn’t have to see it.

The Hangouts feature makes Facebook Chat look like two tin cans attached by a string. In fact, it even makes [the free version of] Skype obsolete. Hangouts allows up to ten users to videochat each other. I haven’t tried this yet, since I don’t really have people to try it with, but a review I read said it was awesome, and I believe it.

As for my profile, it’s fairly similar to Facebook’s basic information, except it does a much better job of privacy. Plus, you can add “links” pertaining to you, which is excellent for writing. I linked Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and my Maneater staff page (currently small, but I figure it’ll grow by the time more people join).

I’m about to upload photos, so I’ll write an additional post or update this one and let you know how that goes. But from what I’ve done, I’m liking Google+. A lot. [Edit: The pictures are with Picasa and it’s a lot like Facebook, except the pictures are the actual quality and size of the original.]

Let me know if you’d like an invite. I have hundreds I can give away 🙂

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