Google+, Day 26: Comparing Google+ with Twitter

30 Days With Google+: Day 26

I have spent most of the 30 Days With Google+ series examining Google+ on its own merits as much as possible. When all is said and done, though, Google+ is a social network competing with other social networks, so I would be remiss if I didn't spend some time comparing and contrasting them. So, today I am going to examine how Google+ matches up with Twitter.

Google+ and Twitter are very different social networks, yet they are still alike in some ways. Google has managed to roll aspects of both a Twitter-style social network and a Facebook-style social network into one.

Twitter logo
Google+ is very different from Twitter, but it competes directly with Twitter in a number of ways.
How They're Alike

Both Google+ and Twitter enable a form of virtual stalking called "following". Basically, I can add people to follow who are not really a part of my social network at all, but whose updates and comments are of interest to me. For example, on Twitter I follow accounts like @BillGates and @BarackObama although I am quite sure they are not reciprocating.

The same scenario is possible in Google+. In fact, "Following" is one of the default Circles in Google+ that was there before I even started building my social network. This Circle is specifically intended as a placeholder for users I want to follow, but who I don't necessarily want in any of the more intimate Circles of my Google+ network.

So, on Google+ I have people like +Mark Zuckerberg and +Sergey Brin in my "Following" Circle. Likewise, I only have 129 people in my Circles on Google+, but there are 929 people who have me in Circles. That means there are 800 people who I may or may not know who are ostensibly interested in what I share with the Public even though they are not in my social network per se.

The benefit of this set up is that it provides a platform for broadcasting information and sharing with a much wider audience that goes beyond just family and close friends. Contrast that with Facebook, where I either must add someone as a "Friend" into my social network, or set up a separate Facebook Page that lets strangers stay informed without being in my network, but that requires me to maintain two separate Facebook personas.

How They're Different

While both Google+ and Twitter allow anonymous others to follow someone that isn't really part of their social network, there are some significant differences as well. Specifically, I have noted differences in length, privacy, and audience.

Length. Twitter is infamous for its 140-character max. That includes the names of any Twitter users I want to specifically direct the message to, the spaces between the words, and any URLs I might link to. 140 characters does not go very far.

The limitation of only having 140 characters to work with has led to an explosion of URL-shortening services like TinyURL and Bit.ly, and to very creative adaptations of the English language in order to shorten things to accommodate the restriction.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments