I have found myself using
Facebook is primarily a way for me to see what old and truly old friends are up to. It’s nice to see news from old friends but quite a bit of what’s there is just not interesting. Out of deep paranoia I never post anything or use any applications.
Although Twitter doesn’t inspire the same paranoia as Facebook, I don’t use it much at all. I have not created a meaningful network there and find reading other people’s tweets to be just like listening to dozens of people talking on their cell phones in a train. I also think that the arbitrary character limit is an impediment to any meaningful discussion.
I use LinkedIn only for legitimate professional relationships. I also treat it as a live curriculum vitae. I don’t visit the site very often. I never use MySpace or Orkut even though I have accounts.
I have plenty of friends who clearly enjoy being socially active on the networks and there are times when I want to join in. But I won’t. I value my privacy. I see no upsides and plenty of downsides in creating a wide public trail of personal information.
And yet I find myself using Buzz. Why is that?
The functionality isn’t perfect but it hits a nice sweet spot between Facebook and Twitter. However, that’s not why I use it.
I use Buzz because of the social network. The stuff I want to write about and am willing to post publicly just happens to be of interest to the social network I have via gtalk. Posting the same things on Facebook would literally be like geeking out at a Family party with a techie in-law. It just so happens that almost all of my contacts in gtalk are technically savvy. It’s about the people.
Google has built a social networking application that is good enough but more importantly, they happened to do it on top of the network with whom I actually want to socialize. The real question is whether that’s enough to stop Facebook from turning Google into the next Microsoft prematurely.