Let me be honest here. Can’t say honestly that I’ve made a concerted effort to use Google+. I jumped in immediately. Not excited to adopt yet another social media platform, but in my line of business was duty bound to explore its advantages and abilities. The buzz over this new environment is incredible. All the signs of a good product are there. A constant stream of ‘Facebook killer’ messages, the blazing fast adoption, from what I read over ten million new users in its short existence. [ mashable ] The kool-aid has been ingested and many are drunk.
But here I am, bewildered. I keep coming back to the same thought. What is the point? In this world of ‘Social media experts’ [groan] , a statement of dissent or even worse admitting a lack of understanding of Google+ could be akin to ‘social media expert suicide’. So here I am happily standing on the cliff edge.
Google+. I see it as a massive warehouse party, where millions of people attend but everyone is wearing headphones and singing out loud to themselves, all feel cool for being allowed in to this ‘exclusive’ event yet no one is communicating
My first task I attempted was to simply communicate with another user. A basic task. Or at least what I assume would be. So I click on a user. Dead end. I click on another, this time I am presented with a button, “Send an email”. Obviously different users have different permissions for communication. OK. But I don’t want to email anyone I just want to strike up a conversation. Back to my profile page. Ahah! A chat area. No one is there. Strange because I know for a fact, that my buddy is using Google+ right this minute. I type in his name. “Oops, [name] looked invalid. Double check the address and try again.” Wait. So I can’t just add someone who is already my friend? Would it not make complete sense for this to just work? What is the point of arranging friends if not to be able to just quickly chat with them. Dead end. I commit no more time to this action.
Every day I receive at least three notifications from users to add me. Sounds exciting. I know what you are thinking. “This guy is popular and sexy, everyone wants to be his friend, maybe I could be too!”. You’d be correct about the sexy part. However, I don’t know ANY of these people. 1 in 10 are complete strangers. Many have profiles in languages I do not understand. My thought that there is a huge need to ‘collect people’. Those who we know of who see the value in maxing out the number of friends they have. Fine. I indulge them, after all we are part of this social community, we at least have this in common perhaps a dialog with strangers will unite this cold planet. So, I add them to my ‘Acquaintance’ group. No one ever calls, or is available for chat. Where is the social interaction? There is none that I am aware of. Dead end. I commit no more time to this action.
The one thing that sticks out in my mind was the ease in which I was sucked into Facebook. It wasn’t the user interface, it wasn’t the games or apps, it was the fact that everyone I knew was there. And I was able to just connect with them with very little thought and effort. Simple. But that ease is not present with Google+. That community is not apparent to me. I see it as a massive warehouse party, where millions of people attend but everyone is wearing headphones and singing out loud to themselves, yet all feel cool for being allowed in to this ‘exclusive’ event.
Perhaps it’s too early to tell, too green, too young for it to yet have its’ identity. To me Google+ needs time to mature. And for the time being I will hang in the club, not wearing headphones and looking for someone to dance with.