I finally got a coveted Google+ invite, but now I'm wondering what to do with it. I'm already on the usual social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed by all this "sharing." Do I really need to add another social network to my already hectic life?
Well, I'm pretty sure that any public defiance of Lord Google will get you deported, so you'd better join just to be safe.
As with any shiny new Internet toy, Google+ is giving bloggers, technophiles, and even some news outlets a collective hardon, but that doesn't mean you have to join their circle jerks. To give you a little perspective, remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was the hottest thing since Pound Puppies on eBay? It was only a few short years ago that both those sites were the Next Big Thing. And then they weren't. Also, perhaps more aptly, remember Google Buzz and Google Wave? Oh, you don't? That's because they both failed so abysmally as to barely be memorable now.
The online landscape changes constantly. It's easy to start to panic if you think you have to join every new thing that gets a good review on Mashable. But, per common sense, social networking sites primarily exist to serve
advertisers' your needs. If you find a site is lacking or bogging you down, then disengaging is just as easy as signing up.
A few reasons why some folks love Google+:
The interface is clean and minimal. There are no farm animals or daily horoscope apps mucking up your news feed (yet).
You have a lot more control over sharing and receiving information. With Circles, you can create as many different groups of people as you want, including friends, family, coworkers, awkward one-night stands, and so on. If you are very organized, Circles are a fantastic way for people to stop publicly humiliating themselves by oversharing with their whole network.
Hangouts, aka multiperson video chatting, seems wicked fun, and business practical, for obvious reasons. Plus, because I view all tech advances in terms of how it will fulfill my sexual needs, hangouts also mean you can literally have an online circle jerk! With as many as 10 people!
If, for some reason, you find yourself on a social networking site and simply don't know what to share, Google+ will recommend things for you with Sparks. This seems simultaneously cool and tacitly judgmental. Like are we all desperately searching for hilarious Tumblrs to share (have you seen this one!?) instead of finding things organically through friends or happenstance?
Lastly, Google+ has a very streamlined approach to sociability. It combines e-mail, instant messaging, video chatting, news feeds, search engine functionality/recommendations, friend management, a Twitterlike followers option, and group texting all in one place. And that's just now. Imagine the possibilities once it adds Google Maps, Google Reader, or any other number of services into the fold. You will never have to leave. This is either incredibly convenient and practical, or a George Orwell sequel waiting to happen.
If you're still on the fence, Mashable has a comprehensive Google+ guide, from setting it up to learning all of its features. It's definitely worth a read.
mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with
others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette
involving technology, shoot her a question at AskAnnaSF@gmail.com.