Facebook changes may not be enough for students to switch to Google+

By Andrea Azzo

The newest social network site officially launched to the public two weeks ago, but some students say they won’t make the switch.

Google+ officially launched Sept. 20 as Facebook’s newest rival. Holly Nicholson, NIU social media specialist, said Google+ has no ads, a simplistic design and less marketing noise than Facebook.

There are more than 25 million users on Google+, according to the website. The website also states it took Facebook three years to reach the same number.

Nicholson said recent changes to Facebook resulted in an increase in Google+ users, including a ticker that shows what friends are doing in real time.

Sophomore fashion major Krystyn Sayre said she hated the changes at first, but has gotten used to it. Junior English major Alexander Lempke said people complain every time Facebook makes changes, but they continue to use the site anyway.

“[People] complain every time, but they still use it,” Lempke said. “The site still does what it’s meant to do; changes never impair that.”

Lempke said he has a Google+ account, but does not visit the site regularly because none of his friends use it.

“These sites exist to keep you in contact with other people,” Lempke said. “Their value lies entirely in how much people are using it.”

Nicholson said this problem may be due to the uncertainty of how to come up with new content when users already have a Facebook and Twitter account.

“Also, it may be that the students not yet on Google+ have not had many of their friends migrate over,” she said. “If there is no established social circle to interact with, there isn’t much motivation to interact and there is nothing to engage with.”

Google+ has many of the same features as Facebook, including the ability to sort friends into groups and share photos.

Users can also chat with other users. Unlike Facebook, however, there is no wall to write on for Google+, Nicholson said.

“To send a message or comment to someone you must tag them in a post,” she said. “Private messages are sent by tagging someone in a post and then setting the privacy of the post to only be shared with that person.”

Lempke said it’s possible Google+ can overtake Facebook in the future, but he doesn’t think people will make the move because they don’t like Facebook changes.