Earlier this semester I was asked to compare and choose between Facebook and Google+ for another class. Now, I won’t give away my bias so quickly, but there was a clear winner and it hasn’t changed a month later. But the readings for this week made that decision just a little bit tougher for me. The content algorithms and engagement levels made the social networks we all know and love into a math equation that I kind of like.
Forbes once again started their article like The New York Times did last week and I got scared that this was going to be another Facebook bashing article, and I was gladly proved wrong. I feel like a quote from this article best sums up the argument that I can make in this debate; “Facebook knows more about our relationships today than anyone, while Google knows more about what we are looking for.” Facebook ads and suggestions, at least in my experience, know who I am as a person and provide me with things before I even know I’m looking for them, while Google only provides suggestions based on search terms. What this author and I don’t agree on however is that Facebook needs to become less privatized. While putting personal information on Facebook can provide you with some personalized suggestions, if that information falls into the wrong hands it can be very dangerous. I think people need to be able to choose how private they want certain information to be, not have it all out there for everyone to see.
Do you agree or disagree with Forbes that Facebook needs to tear down the “walled garden” and become less private?
Now for the math that didn’t make my head hurt. The Facebook algorithm, as explained by Broadsword Communications, basically states that a post on Facebook will appear on your news feed based on two criteria, type of content and level of engagement. Sure we all love the old way where we see things based on the time it was posted. But if I’m posting a link to this blog post on Sunday night, which I always do, then I need something other than a time algorithm to make sure this blog post is seen by my Facebook friends. The only way something becomes viral on Facebook is if the greatest number of people see it as possible and that doesn’t happen if it gets buried in a news feed after a few hours. I like to think of this as the message board formula. Every year my dad and I play fantasy baseball and somehow we are always looking for new owners. After about an hour or so, we need to reply to that post in order to bring it back to the top of the page. That is exactly what this new formula does. Every like, comment and share moves it a little bit further up the page and lets the content have the potential to become viral.
Copyblogger‘s article on Google+, in spite of the pretentious reference to The Matrix, was actually my favorite article to read this week. Coming from a journalism background where news writers tell you to be unbiased and tell the whole story, I really enjoyed the argument he made for and against Google+. I liked thinking that he was against Google+ despite the title of the article telling me differently. He reiterated some common themes about audience and branding. He stated that it didn’t matter that the audience was smaller or slower to show up because they would be loyal to the brand. I like how everything that Google has to offer is all going to be in the same place and that it circulates around Google+. Does that mean I’m going to abandon Facebook when I’ve been an active user since 2008, no way. It’s nice to know that I have another easy option if I ever need it. I also like that Google+ is rebelling against Facebook and Twitter and being the black sheep of the social media family. I am never one to go with the status quo if it wasn’t something I truly believed in.
The Moz Blog brought these readings full circle this week, showing that Google+ is doing everything in its power to surpass Facebook in every way possible. Google+ is paying more attention to the content and engagement rather than keywords (SEO) in links. That’s another point in Google+’s favor, showing that they are willing to put the fans and customers first by giving them what they want to see. As I revealed a little prematurely, I still think Facebook is the best and cannot be beaten, but I can’t deny the abilities of Google+ for trying to take down the heavyweight.
Which format do you like better, search engine optimization (SEO) or social media optimization (SMO)?