Google+ vs. Facebook in Public Libraries

Many public libraries are delving into the social media world. In an ideal world, public libraries would have as many social media accounts as they could possible manage. Obviously, this is a pipe dream for perennially understaffed public libraries. Therefore, public libraries must make some choices. Google+ and Facebook are both great options for library social media, but are both really necessary?

Running social media, particularly for smaller organizations like public libraries, is mostly an investment of time. For each social media account that the library has, the library must do a variety of things. The page, comments, shares, likes, etc. must be monitored. Content, postings, and photos must be created and posted. The page must be created, and it must be designed well. Friends must be made, and circles joined. All of this takes valuable staff hours, which is something many public libraries must cut back on.

It’s clear that it’s not practical, for small public libraries at least, to join as many social media websites as possible. Libraries must choose how to reach as many people as possible. After all, how many people do you know who use Google+ but NOT Facebook? If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, perhaps Facebook is the way to go.


3 thoughts on “Google+ vs. Facebook in Public Libraries

  1. kallierees

    With popularity of items I really believe the one that gets to the market first oftentimes gains a foothold that is hard to shake. We’ve seen it with the iPhone vs. Droid; Kindle vs. Nook and Facebook vs. Google Plus. Facebook has a much stronger name brand recognition than Google Plus, but as the article “Is Google+ a Plus for Business Information Pros” pointed out, Google Plus has some advantages over Facebook – having different categories for different types of contacts, privacy settings that the user actively sets, and the fact that if you’re using other Google tools you have everything in one place. While Facebook can’t really do much about the last feature, I’m sure they can address the categorizing of friends and privacy settings. Just as Windows copied the Apple interface and Droid watches iPhone (and vice versa), Facebook most definitely is watching GooglePlus. With 750 million users, Facebook is established as a brand whereas, I think people are still waiting to see what happens with Google Plus. But I think it’s important to remember that 10 years ago Facebook didn’t exist; and who knows what will come down the line in the next 10.

    1. tnixey

      Because “the page, comments, shares, likes, etc. must be monitored,” I wonder about how this monitoring can affect the work-life balance of those people responsible for a social media tool. It seems like it would be important to monitor a social media site outside of library hours. Individuals can post comments or links at any time that could negatively affect how a patron community views their library. It is probably not a problem for someone to monitor the site outside of work but is it a fair expectation? Maybe sharing this responsibility among the members of a library team could alleviate any potential work-life unbalance due to the always on nature of social media tools.

      ToeKnee .

  2. Nomi

    You asked, “After all, how many people do you know who use Google+ but NOT Facebook?” I do! I have a Facebook account because I needed it for a course, but I use Google+ because it allows me to do some video chatting beyond the capabilities of the free version of Skype. This isn’t as valuable for most libraries, but when you are on different continents than your siblings and closest friends, video chat is a prime tool!


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