OK, I’m going to go ahead and throw my hat into the ring of the millions of people discussing Google+. I think I may see it a bit differently than others.
I get the sense that a larger percentage of people look at G+ as the new Facebook. Maybe they’re sick of Facebook, maybe they’re mad about some of the ways Facebook does things, or maybe they just want to tinker with a new toy. Either way, I think this is a short sighted view of things.
Much in the way Google Buzz was treated, I think a lot of people say “So this is just like Facebook, right?” and then treat it that way. And, much to my chagrin, despite having made a different animal, Google goes along with it, in hopes to get more users. Buzz, while having some obvious personal info flaws in the beginning, was a pretty neat idea. I won’t go into why, since it’s pretty much dead anyways, but it’s important to my point.
In the same way, I think Google is making a new kind of social network. One that’s not based of conquering the internet, but much more on amplifying real life socialization. It’s not about broadcasting to the world (thought they allow that), it’s more about sharing and communicating with the people you already know.
A couple years ago Facebook turned it’s Status Update from a location notice, to a twitter clone. What was originally designed to be a way for people to find their friends, turned into a place to spout of random thoughts, spread religious or political propaganda, or just show pictures of your food. What it did was create an environment where people would cast their thoughts out to the masses, and then hope some people bit with a comment or a like. I myself would share videos of bands that I knew most of my friends wouldn’t actually like, but I knew some would. I would share things under the idea that SOME people would probably like it. And in turn, you’d get shared links and ideas from your “friends.” Some you’d like and agree with. Some you’d argue with, some you’d just hide.
I think Google+ takes a step back from the public internet and encourages you to not share with everyone and hope some will like, but share with those you know will like. It’s a small detail, but I think it makes big difference in what could come of the service. I imagine the most “successful” G+ circles being less than 10 people. You may have a lot of them, but instead of including your mom in your link to Mega64, you only send it to those that might actually enjoy it.
Now you may be thinking, “but who knows, my mom might enjoy Mega64″ and that could be true. But I think the ultimate success of this would come from people sharing for niche things. Instead of only posting the funny pictures of cats you know everyone will like, you may have a buddy or two who loves amazing space photography, and you two may trade things back and forth on a much deeper, finer-toothed-comb level than you would have through Facebook. Perhaps I’m being a little too utopian.
I’ll try and end this rambling…
My plans are these: I may give up Facebook altogether. My hesitation to this lies solely in the fact that I would lose a large “audience” that I enjoy pretending loves all my status updates and links to the same comic over and over again. However, I have a venue for that. This very blog. Granted, my blog doesn’t get the same amount of daily views my status updates probably do, but that may be a sacrifice I have to make. It may be something I should do just to help my own sanity.
Second, I DO have a public venue for all my stupid little thoughts. It’s Twitter. I just heard half of you scoff through the internet. I find it funny that so many people look down on Twitter, when 80% of what they do on Facebook is look at other people’s short blurbs about what they ate that night. Like I said earlier, Facebook stole Twitter a while ago. I still think Twitter is fatally flawed when it comes to conversations, but honestly, I rarely had a conversation on Facebook spurred from one of my status updates.
And then third, is using Google+ of course. My blog is for my public sharing. Twitter is for my public ranting. Google+ is for sharing with my friends. I look at Google+ kinda like “Would I email this to these people?” Just thinking that REALLY cuts down on the amount of fluff you’d put up. I find myself keep thinking, “Well, I don’t want to SEND this to these people, but I wouldn’t mind them happening upon it. In that case, it’s perfect for my blog. But for things that I know are focused, that would appeal to specific people…G+ is perfect.
All this could backfire completely though. Simple fact is, I don’t get to decide what Google+ becomes. It’s up to how the masses use it. I already have people I never met following me on G+. They’ll be pretty disappointed when I never post anything publicly. But oh well.
If nothing else, it’ll be a new toy to play with.