John Jantsch

Facebook: Let's not start competing with Google+, okay?

I can honestly say I like the recent changes to Facebook. It's cool that I can subscribe to other users without friending them. Most likely, I'm going to use that to follow reporters or public figures because I'm already friends with people I know. The new functionality in lists is nice - smart lists = brilliant (less work makes me happy). I could do without notifications for every status update that my close friends do, but I'll just stop using the built-in smart list for them and make my own. I went through my privacy settings and didn't find anything yet that is terribly controversial that I was opted in to - bravo, Facebook! I commend you for learning not to do that - after how many years of updates?

I use Facebook to keep in touch with my friends and family and manage pages for my work and other Web sites and projects. This has worked well for me for over four years now that I've been using your service. There's a nice division of personal and business activity on Facebook, made even better with the subscriptions being added, even if I am unlikely to publicize posts very often myself.

I like change when it solves a problem and making something work better definitely qualifies. But if something isn't broken, I generally don't see a need to fix it. Facebook isn't broken, but you're doing some things that will make it better and solve some problems people didn't even know they had!

But, as John Jantsch said so eloquently recently, it would be foolish of Facebook to start looking at Google+ as competition. Sure, there's a few million people who have new-shiny-object-love of this network - and I'm one of them. Google+ is a great tool for me because it's a different audience. I've rarely posted anything personal there, choosing to use it to share my content that is geared toward a business audience. I follow thought leaders (and many friends too) at Google+ because their content often gets lost when I'm using Twitter or even Facebook. (Yeah, yeah - I could create a list, but I don't particularly want to do that and this has to do with how I use each of my networks for a different purpose.)

It's fine that Facebook is adding new functions because I know there are plenty of users out there who will benefit from them. I just ask that as Facebook moves forward and considers additional changes to its interface and overall functionality that they factor in what they built this network on in the first place - one-to-one connections first and foremost. I would hate to see that (increasingly unique) usage of social media lost because the other guys aren't doing it that way. When you start muddying up the water by integrating functionality that people are enjoying at Google+ to become more attractive, it leads me to think Facebook is suffering from an identity crisis.

Facebook is Facebook - different from Google+ and Twitter.
Google+ is Google+ - different from Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter is Twitter - different from Facebook and Google+.

Comparisons may be inevitable, but each of these platforms is unique in its delivery of content and user experience. Competition between these entities isn't necessary because there isn't enough similarity across any two platforms to say one will beat another. Google+ has less than 50 million users and yet, some are predicting the demise of Facebook that is up to 600 million users, often based on their personal behaviors, i.e., "I don't use Facebook anymore, ergo no one does". (These commentaries lead me to believe some users need a reality check when it comes to the major social networking sites.)

Bottom line: It's okay to be different, to be what you are and not look at what the other guy is doing.

What are your thoughts? Is Facebook scrambling to "compete" with Google+ or just making their product better for users?