A Social Media Neophyte Learns to Love Google+

Last Updated Jul 19, 2011 12:18 PM EDT

I never really liked Facebook.

I signed up late and by the time I thought I was the last person on earth not using Facebook, my friends started complaining about Facebook's near-constant privacy setting changes. I did start a Facebook account and "fan page" for my book but, with all of the negative privacy buzz, I never really felt comfortable with sharing anything on Facebook.

When Google -- a company I've trusted to host my email for a while -- came along with Google+, I decided to drop my focus on Facebook and make Google+ my social network of choice. Here are four things I noticed in the process:

1. The switch was easy.
The switch from Facebook to Google+ was way easier than I thought it would be. While Facebook doesn't allow you to download your friend list to Google+, it does allow you to pull it into a Yahoo account where you can export your contacts to a CSV file and then upload them to Gmail. From there, Google+ will take care of the rest. It worked the same way for exporting my LinkedIn connections.

In the space of about an hour, I had migrated all of my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to Google+.

2. Google+ triggered other purchases.
Early Google+ adopters are using a lot of photos and visuals to make their content more interesting. I decided I wanted to make pictures a key part of my Google+ stream. The problem was, I was using a crappy old Blackberry as my mobile phone. The Blackberry had such a horrible user interface that I could never figure out how to take pictures and upload them to my computer (again, I'm a technological loser).

I do have a big clunky Canon camera but I didn't like the idea of carting that thing around with me and then having the manual process of ejecting the data card and uploading photos to iPhoto and then over to Google+.

So the day I starting using Google+, I went and bought a new mobile phone from Samsung which runs Google's "Android" software. Now I can share eight mega pixel photos as I take them on my mobile with my Google+ contacts. Even I could figure it out.

3. Circles allow you to filter your headspace.
With Google+, you put all of your contacts into "Circles" you define. I made circles for "friends" "family" and "business." So when I was walking around with my new phone this weekend, I opted to look at updates from my family and friends circles and de-selected my business circle. That way, I could stay on weekend mode and avoid messages from people that would make me start thinking of work. I liked that.

4. Goodbye, Twitter. It was fun while it lasted.
Despite my status as a technology neophyte, I did start using Twitter to promote my book a year ago. Since then, I've started to get more into Twitter, "tweeting my columns," occasionally interacting with people directly on Twitter, and gradually getting more and more of my news from people I follow.

That all changed when I started using Google+ this weekend.

I can do everything I want -- get news from people I trust and push out content to people important to me -- all in one platform. No more toggling between Twitter and Facebook and CNN.com.

I've only been playing with Google+ for a few days but those are my early impressions. How about you? Are you migrating to Google+ or sticking with Facebook. How about Twitter? Or LinkedIn?

You can download a free chapter of John Warrillow's new book, "Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can

  • John Warrillow

    John Warrillow is the author of Built to Sell: Turn Your Business into One You Can Sell. He has started and exited four companies. Most recently, he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which was acquired by The Corporate Executive Board. Watch this video to hear John's thoughts on starting and growing a business you can sell.

    John and his book "Built to Sell" have been featured in CNN, MSNBC, Time magazine and ABC News. John was recognized by BtoB Magazine's "Who's Who" list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.

    John now divides his time between homes in Toronto, Canada, and Aix-en-Provence, France. He is a husband and father of two rambunctious boys.