This post could also have been named, “Why Twitter is the Ultimate Tool for Personal Branding.” 

I’ve been on Google+ since it’s early beta days, and I like the social network very much.  It’s a fantastic system for sharing information, and connecting with people.  I am being followed by 2,400 people on G+, and although I’m being followed by 7,200+ on Twitter, it took me a lot longer to reach that level of influence on Twitter (I’ve been on Twitter since 2006).

In my opinion, Twitter is enormously valuable for personal branding because it is optimized for delivering crucial information after a brief glance, in under ten seconds.  This is why Twitter can serve as a “living resume” that constantly keeps people updated on your real priorities.  Google+ fails at this.  And it fails badly.  But all hope isn’t lost.  G+ is still useful, and if you’re interested in this topic, you should read this to the end, and I’ll make sure to explain why Google+ can help you accomplish some key branding and communications goals in the last paragraph.

Here are the three reasons why Twitter is better than Google Plus for personal branding:

  1. Twitter allows only one type of posting.  You post to your timeline on Twitter, and it doesn’t matter if you’re responding to someone else’s post, or if you want to make a comment on something you’ve already posted.  You can only post to YOUR timeline on Twitter, and you can only do so in reverse chronological order.  On Google+ it is very different.  You can post on your feed, or you can make a comment on a post that you’ve already made, or you can make a comment on someone else’s feed.  This means that a quick glance at your Google Plus profile doesn’t reveal much about you.  It doesn’t tell someone how often you post, or how often you interact with others, and it doesn’t reveal what’s most important to you.  Twitter, due to its rigid, top-line posting format, immediately reveals what you care about.  Chris Brogan cares about talking to peopleGuy Kawasaki cares about posting interesting things.
  2. Google+ let’s you hide key information about third party validation.  On Google+, you can hide how many people you’ve added to circles.  You can also hide how many people have added you to circles.  You can’t do either of those things on Twitter, which means that a quick glance at  a Twitter profile will reveal how much third-party validation the person has, based on how many people are following them.  **In fact, the only third party validation that is automatically available on G+ is the number of times people have +1’d your posts, and the number of times people have commented on your posts.  Coupled with the first point I made above about the ability to make non-top-level comments on G+, this actually creates a perverse incentive for people on Google+ to prolong stupid conversations to boost the number of comments that are made on their posts.  This incentive is absent on Twitter.
  3. On Google+, you can selectively hide your posts.  This creates a huge amount of uncertainty for anyone who takes a quick glance at your profile.  Unlike on Twitter, Google+ reveals nothing about a person’s priorities after a quick glance.  On Twitter, you can make ALL your posts private, or ALL your posts public, but there is no uncertainty about a users posting habits, because private accounts are clearly marked.

The power of Twitter is that you can get a lot of value out of it in a short amount of time, and by spending more time, you can get more and more value out of it.  This means that people have an incentive to find and follow new people on Twitter, because they feel like they can rapidly AND accurately assess a new Twitter user.  (Contrast this to the pre-Twitter world: no one wanted to sign up for E-Newsletters because they were afraid that they would be inundated by spam from the company.  The perceived cost of taking a chance on receiving information from an unknown company was much higher.)

So what’s so good about Google+?  Google+ is optimized for allowing you to share rich experiences with people, like photographs and videos, and long-format comments.  This means that Google+ can be a great supplementary social media profile.  After people get to know you elsewhere, like on Twitter, you may benefit tremendously from giving them the option to engage with you on G+, just like photographers often give people the option to engage with them on Flickr.

But don’t expect G+ to perform the revolutionary role that Twitter has performed since its creation, which is its role as the ultimate tool in personal branding.

Will Marlow is a PR specialist, blogger, and amateur photographer who lives in Northern Virginia. The dog in the photograph above does not need your pillow, just his paw.  You should follow Will Marlow on Twitter