OMG I got a Google+ invite. Look, I know that it might not become that big. I got an invite to Google Wave once upon a time too. And I’ve seen what’s happened to Buzz. But even still, I do love trying out cool new technologies. As a fairly avid user of Facebook and Twitter, I question whether I really need yet another social network – My online identity is littered with the relics of failed experiments: Identica, FriendFeed, MySpace, Friendster and more. Why not try yet another one?
For some reason, I do love the perceived exclusivity of something. I love being one of the first to try something. I used to be a member of a consumer audience panel – this research company would send me surveys and sample products to try for me to give my feedback on. I got to try the Tide to Go pen before it was officially released (I know you’re jealous). I wish I had kept up with it – it was a lot of fun.
But back to Google+ – from what I’ve seen so far, it does seem true that Google+ helps to address a fundamental problem I have with Facebook – the question of how to more easily control what I share to whom.
As I’ve discussed in the past, I have a bit of a challenge. I know many people who have managed to keep their LinkedIn (professional) lives completely separate from their Facebook (personal) lives. I envy those people. For my part, there are two reasons why I haven’t done that.
1) I’m a professional communicator in the tech world. It’s my job (and usually my pleasure) to connect with people and to create relationships. But obviously there’s a risk when you allow work acquaintances to cross that line – what you say at your friend’ dinner party is often quite different than what you would say during a conference buffet. The result? It’s a lot easier to offend people and to showcase unprofessional behavior. We all should have the opportunity to let our hair down without consequence.
2) While it would be easier to just try to separate professional and personal, what do you do about the ‘tweeners? You know – the folks that if you’re in the same town at the same time you try to get dinner and several beers together. You wouldn’t necessarily call them when you’re having a fight with your spouse.
Anyway, so there’s this feature with Google+ called Google Circles, and it could potentially solve my problem. I can still accept all these friend requests and find out new and interesting reasons why I should be even closer (or more removed) to people. But I can also more easily control what I share and how. So my political commentary? Probably with my friends. Pics from my amazing dinner? With my foodies. Pictures of K? Well, sorry folks, but you’re *all* going to be subjected to that.
But of course, a social network is only as good as the people using it. So with that in mind – who wants to be in my circle?