More Social Media Profile Changes

April 30, 2012
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                                 return to JayVee Media Link LLC

The dust has barely settled after the major revisions Facebook recently implemented; now another social media platform has rolled out some big changes:  Google Plus.  Unlike those of the former, I believe many of these modifications are inviting enough to warrant a reassessment of the time that we spend on this steadily growing platform.  Let’s take a look:

google and facebook arm wrestling

Changes we can live with

One of the changes made by Google Plus is suggestive of Facebook’s Timeline; namely, the option to upload a cover photo (at 940 by 180 pixels, a bit longer and shallower than Facebook’s).  But that appears to be where the similarity ends.  For one thing, users are free to design their cover images to include contact info/web addresses, advertising, calls to action, and other things prohibited by Facebook’s Terms of Service.  And unlike Facebook, users have an option to NOT use a large cover picture.  If they prefer, they can choose to display five smaller individual photos (110 x 110 pixels) instead.  Google Plus also has enlarged the size of its actual profile picture to 250 by 250 pixels; interestingly, Facebook is planning to offer larger profile picture dimensions as well (160 by 160 pixels, up from 125 x 125).

Many people still don’t like Facebook’s Timeline layout. Even though it offers some really neat features, the overall look is disorienting and confusing to follow.  In contrast, Google Plus has adopted a cleaner, fresher looking design.  Some of the newer features include:

  1. a single column for reading/writing posts;
  2. drag-and-drop configurable menu options in column format down the left side of the page;
  3. larger viewing area for posted pictures and videos;
  4. easy targeting of posts to specified circles via tabs across the top of the profile.  The middle two of these tabs can be effortlessly customized to display our most important circles for quick access to them.  When on our “profile” pages, the tabs across the top allow for easily accessing their different features (posts, about, photos, videos), including an archive of the posts we have “+1-ed.”
  5. Chat and hangout features now appear on the right side of the profile; hangout can also be accessed via one of the tabs in the left column of the page.
  6. Chat can now be used across all of Google’s different services, including gmail.  And we can now chat across those services with anyone in our circles, regardless of whether or not we have his/her email address.
  7. As of Tuesday, April 24th, Google also rolled out a share button, which can be added to our websites. Now, in addition to allowing visitors to “+1” our posts, they can share our content directly with their Google Plus followers.

Circling back (if you’ll excuse the pun) to Facebook, my thoughts are:

  1. The platform forced changes upon its users that most did not want or like, and that many still don’t;
  2. other than slightly enlarging its profile picture dimensions, the only other more recent change for Facebook users is that we can now download an app to make our profiles appear for our own viewing pleasure as they would on the Pinterest platform.  I find that a curious offering, particularly as it doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose.
My concluding thoughts

The conclusion I draw from all of this is that Facebook’s “powers that be” have either lost sight of what is important to their users, or they have become too arrogant to care.  The changes effected by Google Plus, along with the choices afforded its users, have created a ripple of excitement about possibilities and potentials that is quickly spreading throughout the online world.  As Google Plus continues to give its users more positive changes and features, it is going to see continued growth.  Right now that growth isn’t expansive enough to threaten Facebook.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean things will always be that way.  Just saying…

Will the changes and choices now offered by Google Plus make you consider setting up or spending more time cultivating your presence on that platform?  What are your thoughts on how they compare/contrast with Facebook’s recent changes – and the way those changes were implemented?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

google gets more positive attention than facebook

For more information, see 8 New Google Changes and How They Impact Your Business, by Mike Delgado of Social Media Examiner

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