G+, as a new network, is free to take what appear to be the best features from both Twitter (for example, unlimited followers) and Facebook (limited following). And it can more easily change as it grows and sees what works and what doesn’t. It’s the perfect time to create a new social network, because it’s become clear on Facebook and Twitter what works and what doesn’t. Much of what constitutes good online etiquette and feature use has only become clear in the last couple of years.
They’re even learning from how the networks grew. Facebook, for example, became popular in three stages. G+ is already at the first stage:
People like you, no noise from outsiders
Facebook, limited to your local university, had most of the people early members cared about, and no noise from outsiders. It was easy to be active, because you were with people similar to yourself. People with similar rules of etiquette.
Stages two and three were to grow big by doing this at every university around the world, then to grow HUGE by allowing you to connect worldwide.
Google Plus is following a similar path.
Since Facebook began, many more people have learned online social etiquette well, and many of them are now on G+
G+ is at the “People like you, no noise from outsiders” stage. Many active tech and social early adopters are on it. They enjoy being with others of their kind. No fanpages, businesses, quizzes or games; no noise from outsiders. The noise is even less because of the limitation of the invitation system (so far).
But, G+ circles are designed so you can limit your primary activity to ONLY the people you want (best of early Facebook), while still letting unlimited others follow you (popular Twitter feature). In fact, you are limited as to how many you can follow, which prevents one of Twitter’s most annoying features: following people just to try to get them to follow you back.
Learning from Twitter and Facebook
In the last year or so, the pros and cons of main features and common etiquette practices on Twitter and Facebook have become widely agreed upon. It is as if they were a lab to learn the best and worst of how people interact online socially, and to discover the features that make things better or worse.
So it’s the perfect time to learn from Twitter and Facebook to create a new network, because it’s very clear what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard for either Twitter or Facebook to fix some of their issues, because
- Changing features people are using angers your userbase;
- Changing features for hundreds of millions of users strains infrastructure;
- Changing features drastically has effects impossible to predict.