Photo: Robert Scoble
This post originally appear on Robert Scoble’s Google+ stream.I read the results over on +Marshall Kirkpatrick‘s poll: about why Twitter users aren’t using Google+.
Even at my most evangelistic Google+ moments, I have NOT left Twitter or Facebook. Why not?
Well, Twitter continues to be THE PLACE to get signals about the news. When Steve Jobs died it was the first place I posted. Why? Because I knew that would be the best place to “signal” to other people that something important had just happened. I don’t see Facebook or Google+ replacing this. Why not?
1. Forced 140 characters. This continues to be the best way to reach the most humans on the earth. Many people have crappy cell phones with small screens. Twitter is — by far — better for reaching these people than Facebook or Google+. Also, Tweets are very portable. They work well in a variety of clients and displays. Even on my iPhones and Android phones I greatly prefer to read the news on Twitter than on Google+. The format here just isn’t very fast, or the information density tight enough to make it best for reading news. For instance, if I wanted to see what 1,000 people thought about Steve Jobs’ death, it took a lot less time to do it on Twitter than to do it here.
2. The most news, important people, and brands are on Twitter. You might not think this matters, but I’ve been asking lately at the end of my interviews what social networks people are on. Twitter? Always. Facebook? Almost always. Google+? More than half, but not always. So, if I want to see what someone thought about an event I have to go to Twitter. If I want to read a business’s output, I have to go to Twitter. If I want to see what a news organisation is saying, I have to go to Twitter. For instance, here’s a list of world news brands on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/scoblemedia/world-news-brands Nothing like this exists on either Facebook or Google+.
While I’m thinking of other services, I can never see a way for my real-life family and friends to move off of Facebook (most of them aren’t on Twitter OR Google+). So, Facebook will continue to be dominant in what it does.
So, Scoble, why are you still on Google+?
For several reasons:
1. The length here means I can have a complete thought. I can’t DO what you are reading now on Twitter and, while I could do this on Facebook, it just isn’t as nice or as expected there.
2. I can have a REAL conversation THAT STAYS BUNDLED TOGETHER here. Yeah, over on Twitter you can try to have a conversation with me. But I find that I’m unwilling to invest much in those conversations. Why not? Because they aren’t bundled together. Things we each say there lose their context VERY QUICKLY. And finding things in the search engine later is very difficult, if possible at all. (Here, though, the search is very good, oh, wait, that’s a new point).
3. The search here is very good. Facebook doesn’t even try to have search. Twitter’s search sucks, especially for posts older than a few months. Here, though, I can find posts I made in July. I can also find most of the associated posts on the same topic. Here, look for yourself. These are the posts about the final Space Shuttle flight: https://plus.google.com/s/STS-135
4. Photos and videos are MUCH BETTER displayed here. Twitter will struggle with this for a while, even though it has a photo service of its own now. I will probably never use Twitter as a photo service now that Google+ is here. Heck, look at my photo of Evan Williams and Biz Stone, cofounders of Twitter. I can’t ever see that in Twitter unless I click on a link.
So, this is all to say that, while I wish I didn’t have to use Twitter (I don’t like the leadership of the company, I think they’ve become uninnovative and non-responsive to user needs) Twitter is going to be important to be on for quite some time.
Facebook’s leadership has a different problem: they freak me out with their expansive vision (which is to build a new media company, one where the media comes to you. The thing they don’t tell you is they need to know everything about you in order to do that). That said, I’m not leaving Facebook either, because I quite like their vision, even after it freaks me out, and because all my friends and family are there.
That’s a whole lot of words to say you’re gonna need at least three social networks now and you’ll just have to deal with it (and we haven’t even talked about LinkedIn here, or the niche social networks like Foodspotting or Foursquare). I dealt with it by getting three huge monitors at home.
What do you think? Are you able to get rid of any one of these three services?