The Great Google Plus Experiment

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011

I’ve been using Google Plus since the beginning of July. I’m a big fan of it and have decided to try to make it my main “social media” platform. To test this theory out, I am going to be taking a hiatus from Facebook for the rest of the month of September, using Google Plus for my social sharing.

Why the hiatus?

I’ve found myself still defaulting to Facebook for most of my social sharing and interaction. G+ is an afterthought, but every time I use it, I am reminded of why I like it better. As long as I let myself keep using Facebook, I won’t really be putting G+ through its paces. This hiatus will also let me see just how impactful it would be to remove myself from the Facebook ecosystem. This hiatus will go into effect starting 9/7/2011.

The rules of the game

I am not going to delete my Facebook account. The point is to push Facebook into the background.

Since a large portion of my social graph are Facebook consumers, I am going to syndicate a portion of my G+ content to Facebook. I am also going to make an exception for this hiatus for any information or media related to the birth of our new baby (currently due on Sept 9). It wouldn’t be fair to my family to keep them from seeing pictures of the new baby just because they haven’t gotten into G+ yet.

That said, here are my “rules”:

  1. No content published to Facebook only. Anything posted to my personal Facebook profile must be sourced somewhere else. Status messages must originate either via G+. All photos of Facebook will be posted to Picasa/G+ albums (or Flickr) and then simply linked to on Facebook.
  2. I will not view my Facebook stream AT ALL during this hiatus.
  3. Replying to comments left on my status or link posts will be kept to a minimum.
  4. I will not make any new Friend requests or accept any Friend requests during this time.
  5. The Facebook Page(s) for my blogs are out of scope for this hiatus, and new posts will continue to be syndicated to these pages – however, this must be done via automated tools and not via the Facebook website itself.

How I am going to do this

Sending my G+ posts to Facebook is done through a bit of a convoluted route, using a combination of ManageFlitter and Selective Tweets. Any post that I want to get onto Facebook will include the hashtag #twt, which will get that sent to Twitter. It will also include the #FB hashtag, so that the tweet itself is cross-posted to Facebook. This will only apply to posts that are Public Рand only to posts that I feel really need to go to Facebook. This will be used sparingly.

One challenge in this method is that, by default, Selective Tweets requires the #FB hashtag at the END of the tweet. I was able to override this in the settings of Selective Tweets as seen in this screenshot:

I will have to be careful to make sure to use that hashtag early in the post, however, so that it doesn’t get trimmed out when sent to Twitter.

What about pictures?

This is going to have to be somewhat manual. I am not aware of a way to automatically syndicate new Picasa uploads to Facebook. I did try out embedding the hashtags on new photo shares on Google Plus, and it does seem to work (I have to put the hashtag in on the actual sharing piece, so this won’t work if I upload new content via an iPhone app or Lightroom plugin, but then again, those things don’t do a great job of sharing to Plus either).

Other off-grid steps

I tried to set my Facebook so that nobody could comment on my posts, which would keep the conversation over at G+. However, that setting doesn’t seem to exist. I will, however, be removing the ability for people to post to my Wall. I already have all tagging set to require my approval, so this should be a non-issue. The main reason for this is that since I won’t be paying attention to Facebook, I might not notice if someone posts something that I don’t want others to see, etc. This will keep that in check.

Also, my wife is not going to stop using Facebook. If anything essential happens in our social graph, I’m sure she will let me know.

I will also remove Facebook from my default startup tabs in my browsers, and move the Facebook iPhone app from my Home screen, as well as disable all iPhone push notifications for Facebook. The idea is to get Facebook out of my everyday process and use Google Plus instead.

Get Google Plus

If you’re not already Circled up with me on Google Plus, you can find me at http://profiles.google.com/matt.stratton

“But, Matt,” you cry. “I love your social media awesomeness, but I don’t have Google Plus? Are you shutting me out?”

Of course not. If you don’t have Google Plus yet, you can get access via this hip link right here. If you’re a Google Apps user, and can’t use Google Plus…then I guess I will just see you on the Twitters.

Are you a Google Plus user? Have you eschewed the Fizzy Bizzy in favor of the G-Plus? Any tips or ideas for my experiment? Let me know in the comments!


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