Google+: It’s all Swings and Circles…

Several people have asked me why I haven’t mentioned Google + on my blog yet. I guess ‘time, time, time’ is the main reason. I also have a few reservations having hyped up Google Buzz in various places a few years back. Alongside this I’m not entirely sure how it fits in with remote working, though there is an argument to be made that all social networking tools have a role to play in keeping those working out of (and in) the office connected.

Anyway I now feel I’ve left it so late that most people have already done a good job of introducing it. According to BNET in the first week since launch 35% of all news links shared on Twitter were about Google+. Never the less I wanted to share a few of my (and other people’s) thoughts on things.

What is Google+?

There are quite a few reviews of Google+ out there already:

The BNET site carries a very comprehensive feature on Google+ which includes both the basics (“It’s a new social networking service that allows you to share either with people you actually know (sort of like Facebook), or with anyone in the world who wants to follow you (sort of like Twitter“) and more indepth analysis (“Why would anyone join Google+ when there already is Facebook? – The key “Circles” feature allows you to categorize the people that you know –so you can share a thought, link, or photo with your grandmother, your boss, or your girlfriend, without having to share it with all three.”)

What’s the Point of Google+?

The BNET article also considers the big questions for me which are “Will Google+ Kill Facebook? and Will it kill anything else?“. The short answer seems to be “no…not at the moment“. Although there is a small group of people who trail blaze and tend to use whatever the latest service is (these are the people who live and breathe technology…I’m saying no more…) many of us who use a lot of social networking tools will often ask ourselves if we are using the ‘right ones’ and if we aren’t then how do we drop the ones that aren’t ‘right’ and use the ones that are. The key with social networking has always been that it works if it’s where the people you want to be with are. I guess it’s just like a trip to the pub, it’s a great night out if your friends are there, no matter what the pub is like, but then it’s an even better night if they sell the beer you like, the right music is playing and the seats are comfy. OK, maybe an analogy too far, but the truth is it will only really take off if it goes beyond the geek and a lot of people use it.

As BNET explains: “In order to get real traction, it will have to prove it can draw fans from many other circles besides the “tech geek” crowd predominating (and seeming to love it) in the early trial.

In an attempt to eat my own dog food (or be postmodern – or something like that?!) I asked for thoughts on Google+ actually on Google+.

Here’s a few comments or posts in my stream:

Stu Owen: I hope you touch on the potential for collaboration using Google+, I see this as a great potential G+ has over “the others”. Especially once G+ finally becomes the hub that joins all its other services together, something Google has stuggled to do so far.

Richard Davis: The G+ messaging paradigm seems breathtakingly bold: a single multi-dimensional hyper pinboard where we can attach notes to ourselves, to one or more friends, or any subset of the whole world we can define with Circles.

Shirley Pickford: Gender – why does it matter? Why does g+ ask? Will I be targeted with adverts for pink accessories? Dates with geeks? Is it significant that I might think differently from men? Wouldn’t it be safer for women in technology if they could not be easily identified by gender? Do I care? In response to this: Google says that about 75% of G+ members are male.

Mike Elgan: Here’s what I love about Google+ in general and the Google+ Diet in particular:
Instead of saying, “I’m going to write a blog post now,” or “I’m going to send an e-mail” or “I think I’ll tweet something” you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.
If you address it to “Public,” it’s a blog post.
If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s a tweet.
If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it’s a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.
I’d say this is pretty revolutionary

Ed Bremner
: So, was it all just a one-day wonder? The party seems to have gone very flat…

Mike Ellis: Google+ profile search. Very powerful, lots of data in here, including profile locations etc: http://www.findpeopleonplus.com/

My personal feeling is that there is definitely something there, I just don’t know whether I’m going to have the time to explore it all. Of course if all my friends and colleagues decide it’s the ‘right’ pub then I’ll be there. What’s the point of drinking alone?

What’s the relevance to Remote Workers?

Shirley Pickford (current title holder of the Remote Employment Remote Worker Award) actually posted an interesting reply to a comment I made. She said “Perhaps g+ offers a better place for us to communicate. I wonder if I should start a circle for remote working academics in HE … and whether there would be many of us.” I said “yes please!”. This would potentially be a great way for us to experiment and suddenly Google+ becomes very relevant to this blog. Aaahh, it’s all swings and circles…

I’m sure these won’t my last words on Google+.

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4 thoughts on “Google+: It’s all Swings and Circles…

  1. I like the pub analogy; most of my non-tech friends are likely to stay with FaceBook, as they have invested a lot of personal time there – posting and tagging photos, for example. This week, g+ has been the new venue for work-oriented gatherings. No idea why I chose to comment here on your blog rather than g+ but it feels right.

  2. When you said you were doing a blog post on Google+ my first thought was that you were going to do it on Google+. What difference would it make if, instead of publishing the post here, you wrote it as a status update on G+, with visibility set to ‘Public’?

  3. Hi Richard,

    Yes, maybe I should have done that.

    I’m still getting a feel for how Google+ works and opted for the ‘security blanket’ of my blog. Writing something solely on Google+ rings a number of alarm bells for me – how long will the data be available for? How public is public? Who owns copyright? What licence is data published on there under? Could I assimilate content from it into my blog?

    I’m hoping to experiment more with Google+ at this year’s Institutional Web Management workshop and have just downloaded the iPhone app – though the Twitterati doesn’t seem to rate it… :-(

    Marieke

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