A couple years ago, when I started a Facebook account, it was really good at prompting me to add friends. The “People you may know” tool was based on some magic algorithm that actually showed me people I knew. Lots of them. I was able to build something like 200 friends who were actually friends in some capacity.
I never went much beyond that, mostly because the tool is no longer highly visible in Facebook. It’s hidden among all the other stuff that has adhered like barnacles to the right side of the screen. Or maybe it’s only in the feed view and not my account view, or whatever.
The people appearing there nowadays are further from my friend window. Maybe people I know from business, friends of friends, wives of friends, bandmates of friends. For the business peeps, there’s LinkedIn, and for everyone else, let’s call it NothingBook.
Now about Google+. I am following several actual friends, but haven’t gone far beyond 40 or so. I’m looking at the “You May Know” box right now, and it’s filled with people I most completely do not know at all. Matt Cutts. Don’t know him. Pete Cashmore. Don’t know him. Ricki Lake. Don’t know her. Did we go to high school together? College? Spouse of a second cousin? Are these people from the gMail contact lists of people I do follow?
Yes, I know these people are famous. But they’re not friends. Are Pete Cashmore and I going on a mountain bike ride this weekend? Does Matt Cutts need directions to my daughter’s party? Do I owe Ricki Lake an updated article? If I want the Mashable feed, there’s a website for that. It’s called Mashable.
The bottom line? I’m using Google+ because A) I’m in marketing and am therefore ‘supposed’ to, and B) Google is using it for search results and that means I have to. If Google, master of the algorithm, figures out how to prompt me to add people who are actually friends, I’ll be more than happy to raise my game here.
Until then, I’m over at Facebook.