Facebook offers three different online profiles.
- Individual Profile (only one owner) with a timeline, photos and the “What’s on your mind?” status.
- Pages which may have multiple administrators are primarily meant for businesses and organizations. A Facebook Page can be viewed by the public without having a Facebook account. I maintain a Facebook page PoltrackNet.
- Facebook Groups are collections of Facebook members who share a common interest such as family, photography or community. Groups can be private or public and the content and membership can be moderated.
Google+ is the relative newcomer to the social networking scene but they have the same feature set.
- Individual Profile (only one owner) which must be your common name. Google Terms of Service requires this. The policy came under criticism by some, but not this blogger. One only has to read the rude and crude comments written under pseudo-names to appreciate the policy.
- Google+ Pages can have multiple administrator and are used by businesses and individuals. I maintain several pages such as Monadnock Region and Poltrack Garden.
One feature that was lacking in Google+ was the idea of a group based around a common interest. Discussion forums have been around since the early days of computers and haven’t changed very much. Google and Yahoo both offer threaded discussion forums.
Google has just released a Google+ version of Groups called Communities which is integrated into their Google+ infrastructure. It almost identical to the Profile and Page view with the addition of one important addition, the addition of a topic menu on the left side. The topics can selected when a member creates a post. They can form a threaded discussion on a particular sub topic of the entire community. For example a photo community can have topics on landscape, portrait, abstract photographs.