Have you seen the latest social network to arrive on the scene? It’s Google+.
I’ve been there since shortly after it started, being invited by a fellow children’s ministry friend. In fact, most of the people I have “connected” with on Google+ are people in “kidmin”.
One of the features many like about Google+ are the “circles”. You can group people on Google+ into circles (Facebook calls them groups). The main difference is that when you post something on Google+, you can select to post it publicly for everyone, or to a select circle, or circles, where only those in your circle would see the post. You can also add a person to your circles without them agreeing to be “your friend”, much like Twitter. So it has taken qualities of both Twitter and Facebook and incorporated them into one social network.
Google+ plus has many great features and as it gains popularity it should do well, so I am not saying that FaceBook is better than Google+, but there is one aspect of FaceBook that as a pastor of children and youth, I find as an asset, that Google+ takes away.
As I noted, with circles, you can opt to post only to one circle. So if you don’t want one circle to know about things you do, you simply don’t post to that circle. With FaceBook, it combines a child’s school friends, with family, with the church youth group, etc… so when you post something, everyone sees it. It lets me see the “true” nature of the youth and what influences there are in their lives. What’s truly important to them. With Google+, they can maintain their different personas among their different circles, with FaceBook, you just have one persona that everyone can see.
I can see where circles can be an asset for churches and others as Google+ is opened up to organizations, so I’m not saying they are a bad thing, just that it takes away this one tool I used as one who reaches out to youth.
So what are your thoughts?