Can Google+ replace Facebook and Twitter?

Just over a week ago, Google launched their new endeavour into the social world. Finally, Google+ saw the light of day after having been part of the rumour mill for many months. It seems Google is onto something and I am trying to replace two twitter accounts and one facebook account with Google+. Will it work? Only time can tell, but I’d like to outline my reasons for trying.

In order to deal with different areas in my life, my current setup is the following:

  1. I have a closed-off twitter account on which I tweet and share photos with only my brother, sisters and mother. This is the total “inner-circle” and it is limited to them. Here I can share all I want, as only they see it.
  2. On Facebook I have a normal account with some 100+ friends, acquaintances and colleagues. To be frank, I do not share much at all, as the audience is too disparate and 9 out of 10 times, I feel a message or photo is inappropriate for some of the people on there.
  3. I have a second twitter account that is public and here I actively share and connect with people around the topics and mobile, tech and web.
As is immediately obvious, in the past I had to use different services and accounts to create these artificial walls, and still I am not completely happy with how it works. It appears that Google+ allows you to manage this much more elegantly with the use of Circles. This doesn’t mean the complete move will be a smooth transition, and I currently foresee the following challenges:
  • I need to get the most important people on Google+, particularly those of my closed-off twitter account. These are not very tech-savvy people, so I don’t want to force them into a beta service, just for my benefit.
  • Furthermore, the people from the inner circle, all use different smartphones and everyone can connect with each other through the use of mobile twitter clients and this makes it all much more dynamic. Currently, Google+ is only on Android, and I am the only one with an Android phone.
  • The Facebook account is an easier story. I wasn’t terribly active on facebook anyway, so I am in no rush to get everyone over. Hopefully, many people will see the value of particularly Circles and make a switch.
  • Lastly, and perhaps the biggest stretch, is to try to get a twitter-like experience on Google+. In terms of sharing, it is rather simple, as you simply share “in public” and you’ll have a similar effect.
  • However, in terms of getting updates, it’ll be less straight forward.  Twitter is a chronological feed of updates and in order to quickly scan information, this is very handy. Google+ has a stream feature where interactions with updates push those updates to the top of the screen. This is similar to Google Buzz and it didn’t work so well there either, which makes me wonder why Google made this design decision.
In summary, I have already deactivated my facebook account. None of my facebook friends are on Google+ yet, but I am hopeful. I won’t be able to give up on my two twitter accounts yet, but will see whether I can at least move much of my activity to Google+. It seems feasible to move completely to Google+, but it will take time.

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