Tag Archives: social networking

Google+ What?

When a friend sent me the invite for Google+ the other week, I was ecstatic. I saw the email on my handheld as I walked to my car, and as soon as I entered my apartment, I set up an account, friended a couple of fellow early adopters, spent some time browsing the site, and then went back to skimming Facebook.

Since then, I have checked back once or twice, like tonight, but I really cannot find a use for it.

Honestly, I like Google+ much more than Twitter. The only people who follow my tweets these days aren’t even people, they’re businesses, or towns. I count @Koreatown as one of my top followers. Sometimes I put up links to my articles, even more occasionally I interact with someone I have not seen since college, but most of the time, the site bores me.

And Google+ feels better than Facebook. With all of the friends I have accumulated, I don’t feel that the relationships are meaningful anymore. I can’t be friends with four hundred people, I have trouble enough keeping up with the ten or so friends I do try to stay in touch with. I am stuck with several hundred “friends” who I know a little too much about but can’t avoid checking up on.

Google+ modifies social networking nicely. I can choose whether my friends are part of “family,” “friends,” or “acquaintance” circles, which makes it less of a hassle to pick apart a news feed for content I really want to read. And these circles are a little easier to set up than lists on Twitter. I like that unlike Buzz it is opt in only. And unlike Facebook, I feel much safer sharing information on Google+, maybe because their sharing options are more straightforward.

Yet I haven’t really used it for anything. If no one updates, then that motivates me even less to try. My theory is that during this extended roll-out, the people who want to be on the site are on it, and sick of talking to other early adopters, and have signed off prematurely. Google+ needs to either open up to everyone or do a better job advertising itself. As of now, only one of my six friends uses the site on a more than weekly basis.

Like the forward-thinking Google Wave, if the company simply sits on this project, it will fail. Even if it is objectively a better social networking program, if no one uses it, then it’s no longer social. It will take much more than a beta test to determine whether people will switch networks to Google+. And at the rate people are using it, I don’t think they will.