Last week, I cracked open the tab on my Google+ account. I’d been getting notifications and pokes from all over, so I’m there. For now.
One of the interesting things that Google has done is to neatly, and almost completely mimic some of the feel that was Jaiku. Upon getting there, it hit – “this place could be a time sink.” Jaiku was a time sink – an enjoyable one at that. And I’m careful of such things now. For as much as I’m mobile and social networking, I’m also more guarded of the value of my time. Services like these have a value when they don’t overwhelm that sense.
So when I turned it on, I did so with the knowledge of a certain fact. If I wanted to turn it off, I’d effectively be cutting myself off from every Google service. Was that a pill that I was comfortable with? Is there anything in that decision to go to G+ that I would regret later that would make such an overarching decision possible? Yes. Could I live without Google and what it enables or disables around me? Yes – but tentatively.
I could care less about the email – I’ve got my own domain and my GMail account has been basically a filter for it for sometime now. I do like Google Docs, but could get away from it for Evernote or other services if needed – or do that rash thing of building my own document collaboration space on a server I own (with the Nokia Mobile Web Server, that was a constant thought). I don’t do the photos on Google, and YouTube is merely a place to watch not upload videos. I don’t use much else from Google – and so this decision to go with Google+ has to be taken with such a weight – if I don’t like it, turning it off effects what I do like and use.
And I see it. This could literally be that unified communications channel that many types of mobilists, networks, and advertisers have looked for. Its always relevant, the person owns how they look at the channel, and their level of engagement is up to them. Basically speaking, marketers/advertisers will get a hoard of information about you – but you don’t need to get a bunch of feedback about them Oh, and it seems that you can’t take yourself out of a circle someone has put you in – that’s going to be great for targeted messages.
Given my choice of mobile device, my interaction with this service will be email and browser based. Which is ok. Its a needed layer – though I am debating killing all email notifications since my X6 just keeps going off.
And this is from a guy who’s not on Facebook. Nope. I see that as even more a time sink, despite the relationships that it could help rekindle. Which is fine, but reconnecting with folks isn’t a need of mine as much as it is making more solid the relationships that I have. FB, and to some degree G+, just don’t have the kind of content or priority to many people in my circles and so they tend to sit as a layer for me (when they might not be so much for another). Essentially, cutting off Google doesn’t necessarily cut me off from those I am closest to.
Google+ is interesting. Not much different from the time I spend on any other social network. I wonder if its a step too deep for me. And if I take that step back, would I be content with again changing how I work? For the many services and social networks we are asked to be a part of, I think these kinds of questions should drive use, not just whether we are in or not.