All of the hype around Google+ seems to have put me me into a social networking depression. Until recently I really liked Twitter but I know that it will become more advertising-centric as time goes on. Where Facebook is, Twitter will be. Along comes Google+ and it seems to address many of the issues of those who use several social platforms; a unified dashboard, coupled with the promise of Google Takeout. Of course the price for Google+ is free, so who’s really the customer? Not me; not you.
For several years, I have seen my blog as my central point on the Web, with peripheral platforms coming and going. I’d like to keep it that way and own my data. What happens if I don’t participate in Google+? Will I miss out on an increasing number of learning and business opportunities?
Stephen Downes has a good criticism of Google+ and what its dominance could mean: a data black hole:
Of course, Google+ is already a great source of connecting with more wonderful people and ideas. Dave Gray posted a detailed analysis of Google+ and how he uses his public and private social networks, with this graphic:
So I am going to lurk for a while and see what is happening. I don’t want to jump on any bandwagon but I have a responsibility to my clients and myself to understand this stuff. I’d like to just avoid it for a few weeks and see what transpires. Not sure if I’ll be able to do that, especially when I read comments, from people I respect, that Google+ “hangouts” enable people to learn more easily than any other medium. That’s pretty powerful.
For now, I’m going to try to not get rolled-over by the Google juggernaut and keep maintaining my little piece of the open Web. In the meantime, you may be seeing less of me on Twitter as I take more time for reflection on this potential social media inflection point. I also belong to several private networks that still need my attention and I may discuss some of my concerns there. My blog will continue to be where I post my half-baked ideas and air them in public.