07 June, 2013

Comparing: Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook

For the last one month or so, for the first time ever, I have spent much time trying and testing out the different social networking services. As averse as I am, I have been mainly trying and comparing four of these services:  Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I am very surprised at how it has turned out. I didn't realize that these services are very similar in many ways, but, when you use each - the experience from/of each is different. Here is a short summary of how these four compare according to me:

Google Plus: Incidentally, a few days ago, one morning during my trying and testing it - I logged in to Google+ and found a complete, new, very refreshing page. It had changed, and I have come to like and appreciate the new, fresh very clean, minimal design which allows you have up to three columns. And still there is no single advert on it. Although the new Google+ looks strikingly like Pinterest, it is completely different from it. I understand the new Google+ has about 41 new features, the ones I can easily notice are the allowing of multiple columns, it being very clean and the very easy way to manage and share photos online. On its 'Hangouts' it is now very easy to chat, or audio and video talk; and it's very easy to have a video conference - all these on one site: Google+. One thing I noticed right from its inception, is that Google Plus members are mainly men, older, mature and tend to be more informed and knowledgeable than those of other social networking sites. Because it is still new, very few people around the world use Google+. But, as I see it, it won't take long before Google+ goes to the top; what makes Google Plus so useful, attractive and powerful, is that it integrates almost all Google's services on one site, including two of their supreme, must have, unique, one of a kind services - New Google Maps and Google Glass.

Twitter: with its continuously, fast streaming 'tweets' of not more than 140 characters, which can be messages, updates, news streams - is truly ingenious. Twitter's interface also has no adverts, and is neat and minimal. Another unique feature of Twitter from the other three, is that users can change the look of their templates. For any one looking for a quick, no-nonsense way to communicate or read news or be informed, then Twitter is the social networking service to use.  Most of what streams on your Twitter page depends on or is related to who/what you 'follow' on it. Most of Twitter users, seem to be women or young people and brands and organizations. Many leaders, politicians and organizations use it too; and there is a great deal of marketing and campaigning tweets going on. Although the streams may seem too short and brief, Twitter offers fast messages or information or news at the time it is happening. It is also the social networking service that you can easily have a live, direct communication exchange with almost any one, including presidents, prime ministers, kings etc.

Pinterest: Pictures or images speak louder than words - that's the central core of this social networking service. Using pictures or images, users try to get their information across to people. Each picture or image is supposed to 'say' some thing. What words are supposed to do on Twitter, images are used here to convey messages or ideas. Very colorful, with photos all over it, most of Pinterest users seem to be women; in fact, it is very feminine. I believe most women would find the service attractive. Women and the young in particular, love colors; and Pinterest offers much of that. It is also very easy to use - all you have to do, is post an image and if you prefer, with a link or some notes to it and let the image say or make a statement on what you intend. Reportedly, Pinterest is planning to have ads.

Facebook: now here is the one social networking service that almost every one I meet seems to be using. From every part of the world and from all walks of life, they are on Facebook. Leaders, politicians, organizations, brands, music and film stars, all kinds of preachers, pimps, hookers are on it. Depending on the 'streets' you follow and use on Facebook, you may never meet any of these. Although it has many adverts and is very cluttered, the main reason why most people prefer Facebook, is because almost every one seems to be using it. Most of its users are young and from developing countries; most, too, seem to be women. I know of many people and have met many - especially in/from the Middle East, Africa and developing countries, who have never heard of Google+ or, in particular, Pinterest; or even Twitter. But, almost everyone who uses the Internet knows of Facebook. This is its main attraction and power. And this will most likely be its main undoing. Facebook can easily fall, if people start loosing interest in its sameness and commonness.

My final rating of the four - 10 is the highest and 0 is the lowest:

On popularity: Google+ = 5, Twitter = 9, Pinterest = 6, Facebook = 10
On international users: Google+ = 5, Twitter = 8, Pinterest = 5, Facebook = 10
On look, feel and clutter:  Google+ = 10, Twitter = 10, Pinterest = 7, Facebook = 6
On user experience:  Google+ = 10, Twitter = 10, Pinterest = 5, Facebook = 5
On which is most user friendly: Google+ = 8, Twitter = 10, Pinterest = 7, Facebook = 5
On how creative it is:  Google+ = 9, Twitter = 8, Pinterest = 8, Facebook = 6
On which is best to use to get informed:  Google+ = 10, Twitter = 9, Pinterest = 5, Facebook = 7
On how easy to interact with other users: Google+ = 10, Twitter = 9, Pinterest = 7, Facebook = 10
On how easy it is to get followers:  Google+ = 10, Twitter = 8, Pinterest = 7, Facebook = 5
On finding most people you may know:  Google+ = 5, Twitter = 8, Pinterest = 4, Facebook = 10
On which I found most boring:  Google+ = 8, Twitter = 10, Pinterest = 5, Facebook = 5

Overall score in percentage:  Google+ = 83%, Twitter = 90%, Pinterest = 60%, Facebook =74%

Note: there are many other popular, social networking services but because they are localized, few people, worldwide get to know or use them - Qzone, V Kontakte, Odnoklassniki, Cloob and many others. Due to my testing these four services for the last one month, I have come to appreciate Twitter and Google Plus.

+ World Map of Social Networks
+ Pew Internet
+ Is Google+ number 2 now?
+ The best social networking sites