Study: Will You Abandon Facebook in Favor of Google+?

The question seems premature or perhaps over dramatized, but I ask it with all sincerity. Whether the answer is yes or no or if the answer is not yet within grasp, think about the question at any level you wish and try to answer it. It is the process of thinking through the strengths and weaknesses of Facebook and Google Plus where you discover what each network means to you and why and how you will divide your time and focus in each. Or, you may uncover reasons to jump from one network to the other or pull the plug all together. It’s a healthy exercise to help you find balance and reconnect with your core values that drive productivity and fulfillment.

The adoption of Google+ is nothing short of astounding. comScore estimates that 25 million people have circled their friends and are sharing, +1′ing their way, and chatting their way toward social bliss. comScore visualizes the blinding velocity of Google’s growth, reaching 25 million within its first month of debut. In comparison, it took Twitter and Facebook almost three years to hit that milestone.

Now, some argue that the comparison to Twitter and Facebook is not parallel as Google is well established, for example there are an estimated 200 million users of gmail today. In the grand scheme of the discussion, the other social networks emerged as startups. On the other hand, Bradley Horowitz, VP Product at Google+ pointed out to me that network growth is purely organic without the benefit of Google’s marketing muscle-at least not yet. People can only join the network with an invitation from someone else. Imagine what the momentum will look like once users of other Google products are officially invited to join and in turn invite others.

Adoption is global…

As you can see, adoption is a global phenomenon. with the U.S., India, Canada, the U.K., Germany, Brazil, France, Taiwan, Turkey, and Spain rounding out the top 10 countries driving growth.

While women generally out number men in some of the leading networks in the social web, Google+ is another story. comScore notes that males make up 63% of all U.S. visitors.

Will You Leave Facebook for Google Plus?

As I noted in my initial analysis, Google+ is not a Facebook or Twitter killer and I don’t think that’s the right lens for which to survey the social landscape. In the U.S., we have a few top traditional TV networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC. In social networking, we now have three top social networks to compete for global online attention and interaction. In this example, none of the traditional networks successfully captured the attention of every viewer possible nor did one network kill the other. Instead, the programming of each network attracts people through content, creativity, and timing, defining, segmenting and sharing the audience around shared interests.

The same can be true in social networking. People will invest in the networks where they find value. Value is defined by the groups (or circles) of people they know, those they admire or respect, and the content and experiences they share. Personal fulfillment is also key. Social currency drives engagement as individuals must feel a sense of reciprocity, recognition and reward in each exchange.

With that said, I was fascinated by the number of passionate debates that explored whether or not people were planning on leaving Facebook in favor of Google+, those who were reluctant to embrace a new network and those who were ready to declare social media bankruptcy. I hosted a poll to surface opinions and perceptions that would bring clarity to the discussion.

I asked a simple, but leading question, “Will you abandon Facebook in favor of Google+?” I also invited participants to share their reasons why they voted yes, no, or selected any of the other options. I then shared the poll on Twitter, Facebook, and in Google+ and captured feedback in each network to contextualize each response. 1,977 people voted, with 23,000 people viewing the poll

To say that it seemed to strike a chord is an understatement. The emotion was raw. The responses were revealing.

I was surprised and not surprised to see that 23% of participants stated that they will leave Facebook in favor of Google+. 18% said “no way!” Almost half of the almost 2,000 respondents plan on using both networks to learn more. For fun, but also to take the temperature of social users, I asked if people currently suffer from social network fatigue (SNF) to which 7% responded yes.

Mashable and PC Magazine also hosted similar polls and I found the results worthy of sharing.

Mashable readers directly align with the results of this survey with 23% planning on leaving Facebook for Google+. But, PC Magazine readers are a little more ambitious with 50% claiming that they will move their social residence to Google+.

I also wanted to learn more about those who participated in this survey, so I asked respondents to indicate gender and age.

The gender divide almost matches the comScore U.S. breakdown of Google+visitors (63%), with men accounting for 60% of all respondents.

I also asked about age. As you can see, the numbers again almost match the comScore results with 24-34 and 35-44 representing the two largest demographic age groups with 36% and 28% responding respectively. The younger demographic didn’t turn out for my study, but as you can see from comScore’s report, they represent a significant user base.

Women represent the larger population in Facebook estimated at 57%. With Google+, men represent the larger percentage of inhabitant. It is how the results break down the gender lines that I find interesting. Note: these numbers are a representation of the larger dataset as pulling information out of TWTPOLL proved a bit difficult here.

23% vs 15%: The percentage of men to women explicit in their claim that they plan on abandoning Facebook in favor of Google+.

50% vs. 51%: The percentage of women to men that will equally explore both options before making a decision.

7%: The equal percentage of men and women who feel SNF.

Now let’s take a look at some of the responses…

YES!

Travis Wright (teedubya) - Already shut down my wall… and moved shop. Although, I will keep it open so I can “connect” with 3rd party sites easily… and comment on my high school luddite friends statuses.
Source: Google+

Steven Streight - Facebook is a cesspool of rogue apps, spammy games, phishing exploits, and disrespect for user privacy. It has very trivial content compared to Google+. I permanently deleted my account a long time ago. Twitter seems cold, lifeless, hard to manage, no Circles or ways to quickly see what my close pals are saying. Google+ is way better than both. I am spending a lot less time on Twitter now.
Source: Google+

Note: The conversation hosted on Facebook did not yield a single “yes,” but it did produce one example of SNF.

@FangFan62 – I hope to once more of my friends and family are on it.
Source: Twitter

@MiguelAngelArce - I voted Yes!, I like circles and as long as I can see, G+ is taking the best of fb and twitter, and making it better. Google absolutly are respondig to the question: How will be a social networking service if it was invented today?, using all the power, tech, tools, and apps of Google.
Source: Twitter

NO WAY!

Chad Brack - No – I believe that, over time, FB will be the primary location for sharing with family and most non-technical friends. A ‘lightweight’ sharing. G+ will be a spot for more involved dialogue and twitter/rss-style ‘following’ of topics that interest me.
Source: Google+

Jennifer Stavros - As it stands currently: no. I will use both because both serve different purposes for me. I will also not be abandoning twitter for any of these services either. For me, Google+ is a great way to moderate the various “personalities” I have on the web in one place. Its a place for me to be more serious with my colleagues and still remain the creative with those that share those interests as well. It’s for business conversations and shared innovations. Facebook stands as a platform for connections with my closer network family of sorts. These are people whom I know personally and who can understand/enjoy the dual personality of corporate & creative. Twitter is for art and free flowing thoughts. My stream is not always as business oriented as some, depending on the hour, but it is meant to be the place where my thoughts are able to spill over a bit.
Source: Google+

Bruce Scherer - No. Google+ will be a ghetto for wonks for a while, and is not tight enough to persuade regular people to stake new territory. I’ll keep feet in both places, though.
Source: Facebook

Jean Martell Ames - No..i like the separation between fb and g+…friends and family on fb…work network on g+…i know that will change when more people join g+ but it’s so refreshing to be on g+ right now
Source: Facebook

@AiDBusiness – It would be almost impossible to give up Facebook once established there. I may spend less time on FB, for a while, however.

PLANNING TO USE BOTH

BRANDInsider.tv - I think that it’ll take some time before people actually pay attention to Google+. Facebook is king and many are used to it but Google + has already been very good at sharing and their Hangouts is awesome!It’ll take some time for it to be a true competitor with Facebook
Source: Facebook

Jeremy D’Hoinne - It’s hard to tell now. None of my non-geek friends are on G+ yet. I use Facebook mostly for close friends and family.I’ll abandon it if they use Google+, otherwise I’ll keep both.But I’ll probably give up on twitter as soon as Google+ find a way to manage collapsed comment by default and smart choice for displaying shared post (no more than once per circle for example or just mention the re share)
Source: Google+

Garrett Moon – Why bother? I get tired of this idea that one network has to die for another one to come it. How about both? I think they can both provide something different, unique, and worth while. It will keep them both and use them both. Now, that doesn’t mean G+ isn’t more fun!
Source: Google+

@JudithSoto – I haven’t played with Google+ enough to commit 100%. But I’m not a fan of Facebook because of privacy issues and I often teeter on closing my personal account. Not confident that Google would respect my privacy either, though. I’ll have to explore Google+ more
Source: Twitter

@Aaron_Emig Personally I will use both. I will use FB more for the business pages and other apps like events, notes, etc. Google+ is great for most FB users who just chat, post pics, ask for recommendations, etc. because G+ is a lot more user-friendly than FB.
Source: Twitter

SNF

Niki Nikolaou - anybody else as tired as I am on sharing so much? I don’t want to add another thingee to my list of thingees. Now I know why we die.
Source: Facebook

@chrisfauch - Facebook is dead! G+ offers a quiet and cosy ONLY place where to meet people you have to meet for your job & projects. Looking like SNF
Source: Twitter

@AAARenee – I voted SNF because since 2003 I have been exploring Social Networks, building them up to make them meaningful & finding success in different ecosystems. With the promise of every new SN I am both skeptical & hopeful. Over time it is harder & harder to pack up my social friends & convince them to go West with me for bigger & better things. Google+ for now reminds me a lot of FriendFeed, an ecosystem where the innovators & early adapters meet to discuss high level content. For that reason alone I will spend time on the site. I have no doubt that Google+ will be around for some time but I think it will be a long time before it becomes mainstream & has the audience engagement that Facebook has. It’s growth will accelerate with the right apps & social tools.
Source: Twitter

A NOTE ABOUT TWITTER

It wasn’t a question that was asked, but some respondents did say that Google+ had already claimed Twitter profiles.

Heather White-Laird - Never been a fan of facebook..too many pets and babies. But the sad part is i’m leaving twitter behind which I do love. G+ has almost my full attention these days.
Source: Google+

Dana Severson - No, but I’m considering Twitter.

Bill Hewson - no, but i have already kind of abandoned twitter

@HLeichsenring – I am thinking about changing FB to a purely private usage. In any case I am going to use my FB Page even more. G+ is right now an interesting SM experiment. I am using it besides my FB FP. Let’s see, were it will end One of the more interesting things is: will G+ be able to attack twitter… Kind regards from Germany Hansjörg
Source: Twitter

barry brown – Facebook will be how I stay in touch with family and close friends until or if they move elsewhere. My Facebook page is where my customers live and I truly don’t see that changing any time soon, but will be trying to create a community of new customers on Google+ when business profiles are introduced. I am already spending less time on Twitter and believe that platform has more to worry about than Facebook.
Source: Twitter

If you can make the time, I suggest that you read some of the other responses. They really steer the discussion in interesting directions.

Google+ 1 (Poll Round 1)

Google+ 2 (Poll Round 2)

Facebook

Twitter

Social OS

At the heart of the matter is the either or nature of Google vs. Facebook and to some extent vs. Twitter. The numbers and the supporting responses reflect passionate, frustrated and also practical views of a multifaceted discussion. Personally, I don’t believe this is an either or discussion however, at least not yet. It’s far too complex to pick up and move completely away from a social or interest graph. Investing countless hours assembling personal, professional, and also emotional pieces of who you are in real life to build a semblance of you in the digital egosystem plus the valuable relationships forged over time equates to a tangible value measured in social capital. What I do believe is worthy of exploration is a conversation that’s less about social networking and more about the notion of a social OS.

Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about the idea of social networks as hubs for the digital version of “you.” The idea was that Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+, become your attention dashboard. And through the cultivation of your social and interest graphs, the apps that further personalize the experience, and those that plug into other applications such as Web sites, documents, collaboration tools or those that translate into the real world, essentially create a social OS. Ideally, this platform eventually connects the online with the offline, creating a complete experience drive though one integrated dashboard.

If you wonder how I voted, I side with the majority of respondents. I plan on using both, learning about the cultures, dynamics, and opportunities in each to gain personal and professional value in each.

Where do you stand in this discussion. Have you made up your mind or are you planning on experimenting to see where the social tide takes you?

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+


___
The New ENGAGE!: If you’re looking to FIND answers in social media and not short cuts, consider either the Deluxe or Paperback edition


___
Click here for the Conversation Prism, Twitterverse, Behaviorgraphics, and Social Compass posters…

___
Image Credit: Shutterstock (Modified for this post)

Share
  • Pingback: Thoughts on Google Plus | David A. Kennedy

  • http://x0.lv Roberts

    Abandon Facebook. 

  • http://twitter.com/mpace101 Michael Pace

    I didnt throw away my screwdrivers when I bough a cordless, electric drill.  Why would I do something different with these tools?

  • Rebecca

    The dramatic early adoption of Google+ over Facebook and Twitter has less to do with how much better it is or how well estabished the Google brand is than with the simple fact that ALL of us are much more into social media now than we were when Facebook and Twitter (not to mention MySpace) emerged. The analogue of social media is now well entrenched so the choice is not whether to use social media or not, but whether to engage what is arguably the next wave in it. We all have a phone and getting to that level of ubiquity was the hardest part – then it becomes an issue of of which phone is best in the marketplace.  

  • Mendeil

    It’s hard to say. New channels always seem to step into the place of old ones, e.g. MySpace. Anyone using it any longer? I like the circles concept. It is something FB is lacking and I often wished for. On the downside, no business use as of yet. 

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Nice write up Brian!

  • http://fbadservices.com/ Justin Dupre

    I’d rather keep tabs with both social networks than leave Facebook for Google+. The reason? both are free to use and are great tools in social marketing.

  • Anonymous

    As you say, I don’t think it’s a case of “either/or,” as I believe each network is used for different things. Twitter is specific information in short bursts. Facebook and now Google+ are more generalized information that may or may not be relevant to you.

  • Anonymous

    As you say, I don’t think it’s a case of “either/or,” as I believe each network is used for different things. Twitter is specific information in short bursts. Facebook and now Google+ are more generalized information that may or may not be relevant to you.

  • Anonymous

    As you say, I don’t think it’s a case of “either/or,” as I believe each network is used for different things. Twitter is specific information in short bursts. Facebook and now Google+ are more generalized information that may or may not be relevant to you.

  • Anonymous

    As you say, I don’t think it’s a case of “either/or,” as I believe each network is used for different things. Twitter is specific information in short bursts. Facebook and now Google+ are more generalized information that may or may not be relevant to you.

  • Lana

    I wouldn’t abandon facebook to use any other application, even if it was google app. For many reasons, first and foremost, facebook privacy is excellent, i like that you or anyone else cannot know who is viewing their own page, this way even if I’m unable to see who is viewing my page, but also I’m protecting myself from being caught viewing someone else’s page. Also it is so spread that you hardly find someone not using facebook, I don’t think that I have time to have two pages, two applications, one is enough for me, i have a busy life and have no time to discover new application. If Facebook was not enough, i would discover other applications, but facebook is very enough, it is connecting me to all my friends, games, pages, and groups, it is satisfying and i have no intentions to switch.

  • http://twitter.com/mightiermouse Lyndon Lawrence

    Premature. Google has their brand behind them. Does anyone honestly think that Facebook does not have a response to Google+? They know that Google wants to compete with them. They’ve known this for a long time. Google cannot be all things to all people. They should not be expected to be a competitor. They do search and advertising. That’s their core business. Okay, so mobile, let’s not forget Android. I agree with Peter Venero when he states; “- they should focus on new innovative products and services, which we’ve yet to see.” Quite right. 

  • Pingback: Google + for Social Change Activists: Dive in Early or Wait? | Make a difference : Make a difference

  • http://twitter.com/simon_jeremy Jeremy Simon

    I think people that have never been able to be “early adopters” are excited that there’s a new social network out, Google+, so they are jumping on the bandwagon so that they can say they were a part of the early days.  The same way all the tech geeks get to say Twitter and all the Ivy League students get to say Facebook.  Google+ is the early adopter social network for the everyman/woman!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    I will believe it when I see it.

    • http://twitter.com/mary_Linda16 Mary Linda

      Good

  • Pingback: L'essentiel des médias sociaux du 7 août 2011 | News-Community

  • Daire Hooper

    Interesting study.  Just wondering where the survey was posted and how you recruited respondents? Was it hosted on your website? Just interested to know how representative it is of the wider population.  I’m not convinced the wider public are going to be willing to move to Plus.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Hello Daire, I talk about it in the post a bit. I manually took the link to the poll to Twitter, Facebook, and  Google+ and let people share it with their respective social graphs in each network to expand the reach and diversity of participants.

  • Pingback: 5 Challenges for Google+ Business | Geoff Livingston's Blog

  • Steven Swimmer

    I will continue to use Facebook, Google+ & Twitter with only partial cross-posting for now.  Whether G+ gains enough of a critical mass to supplant FB as the operating system for our social lives, will depend in part on the existence of killer apps on G+ that non-techie users can understand and want to use.  The photo tool on G+ is promising, but still needs work. Hangouts (up to 10-person video conferences) could be that killer app that draws families over to G+, unless FB and Skype can reasonably match the functions. G+ will have to add good event tools, APIs, birthdays and other things that are central to FB.  The adoption cycle will have to be followed by some pressure to join. Until there is a critical mass, G+ will be a great alternative for conversations and extended interaction, but not the center of our online social lives that FB has become.  

  • D J Austin

    very simple. I don’t want to use my complete name. For 40 years I’ve used my initials at work and online (I have an exceptionally common name) and Facebutt won’t let me. Google+, no problem. End of story.

  • Pingback: Let's Go Social » Blog Archive » Google+ gaat hard. Toch wel handig?

  • http://www.myfloridaprobate.com fl probate attorneys

    I think by looking at the statistics we can easily say that Google Plus might going to dominate in very near future and other Social sites like Facebook and Twitter might not be able to gain that much traffic/members. Although this is new for everyone and people are still joining it, but the hopes are quite high that it will become popular among internet users. Thanks for posting. 

  • http://www.myfloridaprobate.com fl probate attorneys

    I think by looking at the statistics we can easily say that Google Plus might going to dominate in very near future and other Social sites like Facebook and Twitter might not be able to gain that much traffic/members. Although this is new for everyone and people are still joining it, but the hopes are quite high that it will become popular among internet users. Thanks for posting. 

  • Anonymous

    On the particular last statement about a “Social OS”, I think that’s where mobile phone OSes are heading. If Google gets Google Profiles and Google+ tightly integrated with the basic contacts, messaging and calendaring functions of Android, this would form a good basis for a social OS that underwrites people-to-people activity.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

Contact Brian

RECENT TWEETS

FLICKR FEED

  • Nasdaq Closing Bell (@Pivotcon)
  • Nasdaq Closing Bell (@Pivotcon)
  • Nasdaq Closing Bell (@Pivotcon)
  • Nasdaq Closing Bell (@Pivotcon)

ARCHIVE