Why Google+ is minus me

I surfed the Wave.

I got a Buzz.

However, I positively refuse to add myself to Google+. #punsmoke

You can see from my profile in the right hand column of STweM that I’m not exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to joining social networks, trying new social platforms, or incorporating social tools into my workflow whenever I can see a clear, demonstrable benefit in doing so.

However, I’m resolutely not going to be an early adopter of Google+.

The principal reason for this is that Google+ seems to want to supplant all the other platforms and tools that I have evaluated, seen benefit in, and consequently adopted over the past couple of years for no reason other than they claim to have <cue elevator music> ‘rethought real life sharing’ for me and are now earnestly propounding in that gratingly anodyne, vanilla-flavoured way of theirs that my online life will somehow be lacking without it.

I fail to see how.

I have Twitter lists. I don’t need ‘Circles’

I have a variety of tools that stream tailored content my way, including a finely-tuned RSS feed. I don’t need ‘Sparks’

‘Hangouts’, quite apart from the hideous down-with-the-kids name (how on earth did that make the cut?) is a ghastly mess of video conferencing (which I do in a platform-agnostic way via Skype) and ‘watching YouTube’ which – you may recoil in shock to hear – I tend to do on YouTube, or via embeds on other sites.

And ‘Photos’. Thank goodness! After all, we’re pretty strapped for means of sharing images on the social web, aren’t we? If you don’t personally call a ‘Photos’-like function ‘my Flickr account‘ then you’ll unquestionably already have found a means of sharing and curating digital images that suits you.

In short, there is literally nothing on Google+ I want that I don’t already have.

I can publish, curate, and share everything I need, wherever I need to, whenever I need to, however I need to.

Thanks for the offer, Google+, but I’m sorted.

This pandering to the upgrade paranoia that darkens the hinterlands of our technological utopia is a mere quibble compared to the main thing that is wrong with Google+, however: it’s a pointless time-sink.

How are all those endless hours you’re going to spend filling Circles and sticking your virtual fingers in the Sparks sockets going to advance What You Do?

How will one more platform help you refine, augment and improve What You Do in order to do What You Do better?

More important still: how is Google+ connecting you with your community in a richer or more significant way than any of the other platforms and tools that you already use?

Are your funky new Circles just better filter bubbles?

Did Google+ help you get more done today? Or did you end up doing less? Today, just like yesterday, isn’t coming back.

If you spend a lot of time in the conversations that I do, remember that health is social.

Don’t be a digital zombie.

I appreciate that I’m making these assertions from the informed perspective of someone who doesn’t even have a Google+ account, but if you see this differently, be sure to tell me. I know you will.

Google+ is an addition I don’t need.

21 thoughts on “Why Google+ is minus me

  1. Twitter lists help to “pull” the information selectively but there isn’t a way to “push” the information selectively.Even in face face book I have to make extra effort to “pull” &”push” information selectively.

    Circle help me to achieve this.It is a wonderful idea.

    • Hi Vel

      That’s interesting; thanks for the information regarding Google+ functionality that isn’t necessarily clear to the uninitiated 🙂

      I ‘push’ Twitter lists, and other curated and/or collated information and content manually from time to time via messages with links that I usually publish in response to a question or request.

      I’ve considered the question of whether automating push content – even if it is of potential value to the recipient – is spam or not.

      I’m still mulling this over; my interim thoughts are: the first time it is received, possibly not. It could be one of those magical moments of serendipity that we’ve all experienced. The second time it is received, it probably is. It may also serve to diminish the perceived value of the content retrospectively. The third occasion and beyond: it’s spam in my opinion, without a doubt.

      I rather not take the chance of alienating the people I like to spend time with, so elect to shoulder the time-burden of pushing content manually when and where I feel it will add value in some way.

      That won’t scale, of course, so I may end up sharing less than I could. However, I’m OK with that. 🙂

    • Hi Colleen

      Hey, what do I know?

      Having backed numerous non-starters, my decision not to participate at this point almost guarantees that Google+ will be the next platform to go mainstream.

      This is why you seldom find me at racecourses. 😉

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I’m with you on this one.
    Investing time in another beta product from Google is a huge risk.

    I can see the great ideas behind Google+, but I also appreciated the great ideas behind Google Wave and Google Buss, which utterly failed.

    This is Google’s third try on social. “Wait and see” is good enough for me right now.

  3. I’ve been trying for some days now and I already wish I had been as wise as you in the first place. Actually the mix-up of the concept of Twitter and Facebook is just irritating. Circles or not I just don’t now what to post to whom when or let alone in which language…

  4. “In short, there is literally nothing on Google+ I want that I don’t already have.

    I can publish, curate, and share everything I need, wherever I need to, whenever I need to, however I need to.”

    Nicely said, Andrew.

    Given all the tools out there to discover, share and save for later (for my workflow: Twitter favs, RSS reader saves, Instapaper and Evernote), I think we need tools to better (and faster) filter and organize information, so there’s more time to read and think!

  5. After an initial foray into Google+ I’m inclined to agree with you. I find it too cluttered, too noisy, too much. I like the succinctness of Twitter and the choice to click the link. The only thing Google+ will have over the other platforms is search power which may push it as the best platform for business, by default.

    • Thanks Susan.

      Keep me posted if you find anything genuinely useful to do with Google+. I’m really not knocking it out of a sense of malicious glee, and if Google had rolled out Google Apps interoperability at launch, I’d already be a member.

      My point is: I don’t see the point 😉

  6. Some interesting comments here. As a non expert (I don’t work in the fields of journalism, marketing, social media or technology), I am an early adapter of Google+ and quite enjoy it. I use twitter, facebook, flickr, and blogger (likely going to end up as part of Google+ I would think). What I like about Google+ is it allows me to “tweet”, “facebook” post photo’s, search news, etc all in one place. To a certain extent, it seems to me as a catch all of social media. I guess the big questions will be does it do twitter better than twitter? And does it do facebook better than facebook? Personally I think it will out facebook facebook, but I have my doubts about twitter. Twitter has found this really incredible market for people who can become part of a community without knowing anything about anyone else in the community. I have very few real life friends on twitter, and yet I still follow 200 people and have 100 people follow me. I have essentially become part of a community of strangers who I can converse with on a variety of topics. I am not 100% sure how Google+ will tackle that or if it will be successful.

    The biggest problem for me is Google+’s lack of people (friends, people I actually know) to connect with.

    In response to the individual who found it cluttered, I find it much less cluttered than facebook, which is just getting ridiculous in my opinion.

    • Hi Aaron

      Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate your having taken the time to comment.

      Really, if I could find a single use for Google+ that

      a) is an additional piece of functionality or service that I see value in and *need* rather than merely want or considerable desirable for some intangible reason, or

      b) has the potential to supplant an existing solution that I use by making it simpler/better (I’m not sure how sharing can be ‘better’ though, as I say above. Shared is shared, or it isn’t shared)

      …then I wouldn’t be taking the position I am.

      For example, I share content through the platforms you describe above at a keystroke using the embedded share functionality and auto-syncing that my Android-powered HTC phone offers.

      Still, it’s early days for Google+. It could be something. It could be nothing. One to watch.

    • Hi João

      It’s kind of you to leave a comment. Thanks!

      I agree; but then if we already have an efficient service that sits on top of these individual services that works for us (see my comment re. HTC’s embedded sharing above) then Google+ isn’t bringing anything to the party.

      I’m also concerned that the benefits that the asymmetry of the different follower/followed groups that I am part of on different platforms would be lost. I enjoy having my perceptions skewed; I prefer not to have my communities homogenised by a single app.

  7. Andrew, nice written 🙂

    I miss two points:
    1. Pro Google+: What happens if all your friends went to Google+?
    2. Con: I would still hesitate using it because then Google would know too much about me

    rg, Oliver

    • Hi Oliver

      I’m liking your pros and cons approach 🙂

      Your first point summarizes why the second (arguably third) generation of social technologies aren’t as important as the first.

      Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn and the rest have made finding and connecting with peers (relatively) easy. We will follow our communities. If a critical mass (or our critical connections) migrate from the platform, we’ll be swept along in the exodus. If they don’t, we’ll probably stay put.

      Google+ shares data out like all the other tools we use, so I have been exposed to some of what is happening on the platform by default. I’m not seeing content I’m not seeing elsewhere. I’m sure you’ve often seen the same content shared on Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, Storify, facebook and the rest over the course of a working day. It doesn’t really matter where we see it; it doesn’t matter if we don’t participate in all the conversations about it.

      None of them will be definitive; all of them will be interesting.

      It’s this ‘quest for supremacy’ that seems to lurk in the background of the Google+ project that I find a little unnerving. Is there such as thing as ‘better sharing?’ Shared is shared. Seen is seen. Commented is commented.

      There are doubtless interesting conversations that I’m not aware of, but so what? We’ve never felt we have to read everything on every platform, and many of us (myself included) over participate at the potential expense (unless we’re careful) of our productivity – unless our participation is *part of* our productivity. That’s another disucssion though 😉

  8. I am totally with you Andrew! I have a few tried and tested social tools that I love – I adore Facebook for social (even my cat has a Facebook page), Twitter for business chats and information sharing, Linkedin for business contacts and smugmug for my photos. Besides being very brand loyal I find that these tools fullfil all my needs, I know how they work and most people I know use some or all of the them – so why should I move? I have to admit that I was also put off Google+ very early on when I got added to someone’s circle and started getting bombarded with emails from their Google+ – I never asked to join and certainly never agreed to an influx of “update” emails. Maybe I will change my mind in the future but right now I will stick to my current tools.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s