Well I gave it a shot.
But Google’s ambitious re-invention of Facebook is, in the end, just not for me.
G+ may be the unfacebook, but to be perfectly honest, I never knew call for such a product even existed. The people I know personally who avoid Facebook don’t do it out of some kind of moral or philosophical objection to its offerings or practices; they do it because they either don’t spend a lot of time online in the first place, are just not that interested in the inane goings-on of the people in their lives, or just find the whole thing stupid or pointless. These are not people in the market for a competing social network.
What really bothers me, though, is how G+ shares information. With Facebook, the barrier to entry is your permission. With G+, the only barrier is that someone else has your email address. Think about it. You’re not on G+ and are not interested in doing so. However your friend, who has your email address, adds you on G+. Now, whenever your friend posts, shares, or comments on anything…ANYTHING…you get an email about it (Ed Note: the G+ user has to specifically add you to said post if you’re not a G+ user, though Google includes this by default if that contact isn’t on G+). And what’s worse, this applies to anyone who adds your email address to one of their posts. Which means that if 50 people post about that video of Rebecca Black’s next big hit and want you to know it, your inbox fills up pretty damn quick.
This, along with word of mouth, appears to be Google’s marketing plan: user-generated Spam. In the FacebookVerse, the only people who see what you post are other Facebook users. The only email anyone gets is the account holder, in the form of notifications whenever someone responds to one of your own posts. And at least this irritating feature can be turned off. I have had no less than 8 people ask me to remove them G+ mentions as they are sick of getting so many emails from it. And I oblige. Immediately.
Facebook may be imperfect, and it may have grown up to become the thing it hates most: uncool. But at least on Facebook I’ve never been worried about spamming my friends, colleagues, family and acquaintances, as it’s enclosed in the Facebook system. On Google+, it’s the thing I worry about most. I consider this to be a fatal flaw, but because this system will G+’s core means of attracting new users after the ‘new tech smell’ wears out, I don’t see it changing any time soon.
I’m speaking with a touch of hyperbole when I say I’m quitting Google+; it’s the biggest, and potentially most important, social solution to come along since Facebook, and it would behoove me (and really anyone else) to follow along and see where it goes. But as for any commentary I might post, any parties I might plan, or any videos of animals doing people things i might want to share…well, if you want to see those, you’ll have to “Like” my page instead of “+”ing it.
Ed. Comment: Some points have been clarified regarding sharing since the initial post. Sharing outside of G+ would be much less annoying if it actually emailed the content instead of a link that looks like one step up from a “Someone at Classmates.com was looking for you” style breadcrumb email.