Thursday, July 14, 2011
Ok, this Google+ thing. I have to blog about it. I have it. I gave in. And I was curious. I’m a sucker for peer pressure when it comes to social networking. Even Twitter (though admittedly, I never use it). The great question before us now (or me, at least) is whether Google+ will become the new Facebook, or falter into MySpace status. Will it stick?
Honestly, I have a hard time imagining anything taking over Facebook, but I suppose something had to threaten it. Whether or not Google+ will make a dent, spread like wildfire, or die remains to be seen. In fact, it’s so new right now that it’s in a sort of “trial phase,” allowing curious blighters such myself in only by invitation.
It all started about two weeks ago, when rumblings of this foreign concept that was “Google+” started popping up on scattered Facebook statuses. And then the mysterious “+1” started appearing next to my Google searches.
My realization that this was an invite-only novelty just happened to coincide with a friend offering invites to anyone who so desired one. I desired. And I got. What the heck, I thought, let’s give it a shot. Besides, everyone else is doing it.
So, I launched into the uncharted waters of Google+. When the invite arrived in my Google e-mail, it sent shivers down my spine. It was new. It was exciting. It was in a trial period! It was like being a part of history!
At first glance, it appeared very similar to Facebook, only aesthetically boring by comparison. It kind of looked like the Google screen, I suppose, only with a profile picture and their own version of minifeed.
I quickly realized, however, that the claim to fame of Google+ was its friend “circles;” the ability to place different friends in different circles and share whatever you want with whomever you want, and perhaps more importantly, keep what you want from whomever you want. You no longer have to worry about Grandma and Mom seeing those party photos. And your friends don’t know who you put in what circles. So, if that friend who thinks you’re bosom buddies ends up in the “Acquaintances” circle, he'll never know.
Also, that mysterious “+1” next to Google search items is essentially, I learned, Google's equivalent of a “like” on Facebook.
I’m very new to this, obviously, so I may yet (and probably will) stumble across other novelties of the network as time goes on, but the real question will be if it stamps out Facebook. Because there really is no reason to have two social networking sites that do essentially the same thing, just in slightly different ways.
Until all is revealed, I remain a humble and ignorant explorer, learning with the rest of you noobs. It's like a great equalizer; no one knows what they're doing! I'll relish this ignorance as long as I can.
And before I close, I must throw in my philosophical slant on this new age of networking. I noticed as I was starting up my account that I used Facebook to go down my list of friends to try and think of people to look for on Google+. And in doing so, I realized I was skipping over a notably large number of them.
Google+ is like starting over. It’s a new identity in the realm of social networking. Cheesy, I know, but kind of true! I picked out the people I actually knew I would care about hearing from. I was able to reevaluate all the info I probably hadn’t changed on Facebook since I started it, my first summer before college, about six years ago! Man, have things changed.
What a nostalgia trip. And I’ll leave the rest in my head. But if anyone else has embarked on this journey, please, give me your thoughts! Obviously it’s still new and still catching on, and still has a lot coming, but the feedback at this stage is fascinating.
The way I see it, this is like any other uncertain relationship that people are either bold enough or stupid enough to jump into. You hope the initial trials and tribulations will eventually reward your trust with a worthwhile investment. It will also draw the line between bold and stupid.