Photo: Flickr/Ian Burt
Social media has changed the way we live and work forever, but at some point it became a little too intrusive. The introduction of Google + (Google plus) however may just provide the opportunity many of us need for a fresh start how we interact online. No one can argue Facebook has the commanding lead in social media today and the intended use of Facebook for checking family pictures from loved ones, publishing links to your baby registry online, or reminiscing with old friends about mullet hair back in the 80’s, is something that will never go away. Some could even argue Facebook’s popularity was the biggest final step technology will ever take to embrace as many people together in a common activity online; however even with this great accomplishment Facebook has flaws.Actually let’s be fair, Facebook does not have many flaws, users do.
Friends have multiplied in the hundreds or thousands for some people, pictures go viral within seconds and we live online forgetting about the electronic resume left behind. I get the Facebook addiction thing, I even get the wanting a little bit of attention at times but what I don’t get is why people decide to post and comment private thoughts and opinions to everyone on their friends list. Why, because 99% of people could probably never be able to name all their “Facebook friends” if Bob Barker promised them $1,000,000 and a dream vacation.
Google+ is giving you a chance to start over and this time you can avoid mafia wars, cheap life insurance ads and how to get rich in a day feeds from people you don’t know. Rejecting people is hard on the human psyche and even if removing a friend from Facebook can be done without notice there is always the question, what if he/she finds out? Even the thought of having to go through your friends list and weed out the good, bad and ugly surely does not make for an enjoyable afternoon.
For some people Google+ will never catch on. After all, it’s not Facebook but that’s what I like about it.
In fact, unless you are comfortable with understanding Google settings, how your Google account applications are connected and how to navigate without the most obvious instructions, then it’s probably much more complicated for the average person to understand than Facebook and that is fine with me.
There was a great article published 10 days ago by Robert Scoble entitled “Why yo momma won’t use Google+ (and why that thrills me to no end)” on scobleizer.com and if you want to know some of the differences between Facebook and Google+ it’s a worthy read.
Personally I judge mass acceptance of new applications by a standard DMV test since no matter where you go the people in line at the DMV (sadly enough) represent the majority of people online. Not everybody has an MBA degree and the internet is not just for venture capitalists, software developers and computer scientists. The DMV test is a great judge of our population and I really can’t see many people who still have trouble renewing their driver’s licence using an automated kiosk embracing the advanced functions of Google+. Sure, they can probably poke, like and comment but throw a few circles in and life can get rough.
How Google plus ultimately reaches the mass population will be interesting to watch as it’s hard to break habits of most people, especially when an established simple and popular solution already exists with Facebook. But hey, that’s just me… maybe somewhere there is a DMV where everybody is on their laptops high fiving each other about creating the latest iPhone app.
Early adopters, technology geeks and people who just want a fresh start can take advantage of Google+ but odds are many of your Facebook friends will not make the move just yet. Many of the cool kids will switch to Google + or find time to manage both right away. Ok, maybe not those friends so cool with the girls or boys but certainly those who know how to C++ your double shot espresso – at least not yet.
Getting used to Google+ now and correcting the mistakes you made on Facebook is one step in the right direction for taking back control of your social media life. Of course, if I can buy a single day without viewings ads to compare auto insurance, how to lose weight fast or that pesky foreclosure guy it will be totally worth it also.
However this do-over is not guaranteed. Much like rehab you have to learn how to say no and remember that social media is not a popularity contest, unless all you care about is the attention. If you do, then you need more help than anybody can give you here.