So, Google Plus is currently not available to the public but is already causing quite a stir. Nobody likes change, especially when it means changing the social network habits you are now comfortably ensconced in. A good verdict, and one which I can’t really confer with (as I am not part of the select few using Google Plus right now), is that of Neil Gaiman, taken from his blog.
I joined Google+ and decided that I didn’t want another public platform yet.
I like Twitter. I tolerate Facebook. Google+ seemed (for me) like an awkward mash-up of the two. I found the continual stream of notifications telling me that another 500 people I did not know had put me into circles and that lots of other people I didn’t know had mentioned me really irritating and distracting, and I couldn’t turn them off or easily find the signal in the noise (or find my friends in the flood of people putting me into circles), and when I grumbled about it mildly (agreeing with Warren Ellis that I couldn’t find friends I’d actually want to put in circles among the thousands of people who I was being told were putting me in circles) a couple of hundred people explained to me that I was Doing It Wrong.
It was the “You’re Doing It Wrong” messages that were my personal tipping point. As far as I’m concerned, the mark of a good social network is that it either does what it was made to do easily and cleanly, or it’s bendy enough that you can make it do what you want. And being told “you’re trying to use it like Facebook but really it’s like Twitter!” just made me strangely nostalgic for Twitter. And as Twitter was still there, I cancelled my Google+ account, feeling at this point that I didn’t need another time sink, another place to check, another distraction from work or from life.
(If you cancel your Google+ account, Google+ will then start helpfully emailing you notifications every time someone puts you in a circle or mentions you, even if you had all of the “Email notifications” options previously turned off. This is fixable when you discover the “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of the emails that wasn’t visible when they came in on your phone, but you shouldn’t have to unsubscribe from something you didn’t subscribe to.)
Anyway, I wish Google+ all the best. I’ll probably check it out again in a year or so, if I’m still on the Internet, or sooner than that if they make things so I can’t blog without it. And it may well be an excellent Social Network eventually. It’s still in Beta, after all, and most users aren’t going to get a huge instant flood of followers (circlers?).
So that’s a social network I said goodbye to.
I said hello to Turntable.fm, however, a service (currently US only, alas) that lets you make a room, or join a room, and DJ in it. You and four other people can DJ at a time, sharing music you’ve taken from Turntable’s extensive databases or uploaded. I loved DJing, especially once I decided that there should be more spoken-word stuff out there, and that people might like it, and created http://turntable.fm/neilhimselfs_house_of_poetry and have slipped in there from time to time and just played poetry, and been delighted as other people DJ poetry too.