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I take it you had not tried FriendFeed. Because I spent so much time there over the last year+, G+ did not seem all that different to me. Yes, there are some features that are configured differently. The overall concept, though, is pretty much the same.

You know what they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Although the prevalent culture online is that social networks are free, they really aren't. People give away information in exchange for using the platform... I would venture to guess that most would pay for better features that allow them to get more done, filter out the noise, etc. Whoever invents a way to invoice the spammers has my vote.

Businesses are becoming smarter online. I see many brands doing interesting things. There's a certain maturity in the space. When the tools will truly become common place, then we'll really start realizing the value of investing in digital interactions.

I think it all comes back to why>how>what. There's still a reliance upon platform as what and how, with little consideration of why beyond shareholder returns. We're all shareholders, but we're all customers too.

Facebook hasn't become so pervasive because of the platform, but because a single place to connect with nearly everyone we've ever known answers eleventy-billion iterations of the question WHY.

- Why do I want to connect with people from high school?
- Why do do I want to consider relationships with new people met on the platform?
- Why do I want to spend time on the site?

Unfortunately, the only WHY Facebook seems to answer is why the site exists, and that's clearly to make a select few people rich(er). That can only take them so far, IMO.

G+, on the other hand, has made it possible to connect all these people (and more) in a more user-focused way. We can listen, we can share, we can collaborate, and we can be productive.

There will always be those on the platform who self-limit their potential by simply using the system to waste time. No way around that. But answering the why question - why we want to connect, how we want to interact with one another - drives what we build to serve those needs. G+ seems more prepared than most, to that end.

Finally, I'm all in favor of business profiles on G+. I just think Google should charge for that and allow users the right to 100% block any and all content from them at will. Those who do it right stand to benefit immensely, while the hacks crash and burn.

Thanks for sharing such thoughtful insight, Valeria. I appreciate the opportunity to think about this sort of thing from varied perspectives.

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