Monday, July 18, 2011

On not joining Google+ (UPDATED)

The advent of Google+ is going to cause some people—it’s doing this for me—to mull over just how many social networks they should be on, and how much time and energy such media merit. For now, I’m content to let Google+ go its way without me, though I’ve never been an early adopter of these things anyway.

Currently, I am on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, besides having an oar in the blogging stream here at Quicksilber as well as another at FrumForum. All of these serve distinct purposes, albeit with some fuzzy edges. For me, Twitter is primarily for communicating with people in their capacity as readers and writers; Facebook is primarily for keeping in touch with friends and relatives; and LinkedIn is for business contacts (albeit for me, in my present use, LinkedIn is pretty much for nothing).

Most of the above has had considerable benefits for me in maintaining or forming contacts I wouldn’t have done otherwise, in getting people to read my writing, and in learning things I would otherwise have missed. But there are real downsides of social media, such as being time-consuming and occasionally causing frictions such as when someone has blocked you or unfriended you, etc. If Google+ is all it’s cracked up to be, I’ll probably be there at some point, but let it not be soon.

UPDATE 7/19: Julian Sanchez has some interesting thoughts about Google+ and other networks' uses, privacy issues and the tradeoffs involved.

UPDATE 7/21: So much for that -- I'm now on it. I got an invite from someone at my current primary employer, and came to think I'm better off having some capability to use it. So much for the plan to start just in time for the election of 2028.

1 comment:

Gil Weinreich said...

All good points, Ken. There's also the matter of more tweeting, less reading. According to writer Nicholas Carr ("The Shallows"), social media is remapping our neural circuitry. Deep analysis and concentration may give way to shallower thought, though he also discusses social media's revolutionary benefits. I for one will cling to traditional forms of learning (e.g. lectures and books) while skeptically immersing in the new.