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Jul

24

2011

Multiplying of Social Networks

Google has recently unveiled its social network offering: Google+. (Some have interestingly pointed out it is much more than this, but that doesn't make it less than this.) I actually think Google+ is pretty cool, and see a lot of advantages it has over facebook from the get-go. (By the way, if you want an invite to Google+, let me know.)

I like the idea of "circles" rather than stuffing everybody in the "friend" category, even people that are just acquaintances. I have 500+ friends on facebook, but I honestly don't have 500 friends. I like that Google+ makes relating more meaningful and purposeful because you are sharing things with people that have specific relationships with you. I think this in general will make the communication more thoughtful. Rather than sharing it with the world, you're sharing wtih people you know--because they're really the only ones who read it anyway! (Another bonus is its integration into Gmail which makes it more accessible and useful.)

There are also things I don't like about Facebook. I don't like that they don't respect their users. They changes their interface quite often without any warning or choices from their users. Features are added and subtracted at will. I don't like that they work hard to force you to stay in Facebook. I found recently a tool to export your contact information from Facebook, but that Facebook has blocked it. Such tactics do not fare well for their future. Forcing users to keep using your platform doesn't seem like a winning strategy. 

So yes, I may be moving over to Google+ more instead of Facebook. (See this helpful startup guide.) But, there is probably more to say here. The illusion in the multiplication of social networks is that we actually have something to say. With the addition of Google+, it is tempting to think I have closer relationships with people in my "circles" than I do with my Facebook friends. That's not true...I just have a better way of communicating with them. With the little "Share" box on top of my Gmail account, it is tempting to think I have more good things to share, which is not true.

The multiplication of communication methods does not increase the quality of what is being communicated. Most of us still really don't have that much to say. Our opinions are really not as important as we think they are. If we spent all the time we do on social networks instead reading books, information important enough to be edited and published, we would have much more to say than we do, and our opinions would become more valuable. Some food for thought. (That said, I still think Google+ is much cooler and cleaner and has much more to offer than its predecessors!)

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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