So I deleted my Google+ profile last week. Big news, I know. Let's take a trip down memory lane and examine my short experience on that site:
When I first heard about it I wasn't even sure what it was. Google Plus? What the eff is that? I read a few (or 20) articles from the oh-so-enlightened tech folks who were blessed with advanced previews of the service. The Buzz (sorry Google) was building. It was going to be like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and email all rolled into one! Awesome!
Do you have social media fatigue?
Then come to Google Plus where you can park your social media-ing ass and gush about how much better you are than the Farmville hordes on Facebook and Lady Gaga sycophants on Twitter!
But I was enthralled and I wanted in. When I finally got someone I know to tag me in a post, which was delivered to my email with an enticing link to The Plus, I clicked and clicked and clicked and clicked until I was finally able to register and join the site. Success! And it was beautiful for five minutes while I set up my profile and invited all of my friends and family. Five minutes more of excitement while I scoured the site for tech writers that I follow on Twitter. Great!
Then I started posting articles I thought were interesting, just like on Twitter. Or Facebook, for that matter. And I posted some more. Occasionally I would +1 (The Plus' version of the 'Like' button) some famous person's post. Or I'd add a comment equivalent to "Awesome!" Meh. The Plus, like Twitter, has lots of interesting people on it who post interesting things. But I seem to have this aversion to wanting to dialogue with said famous people on The Plus/The Twitter (sidebar: I love it when people refer to Twitter as 'The Twitter.' It makes me giggle inside). First, I usually don't have anything worthwhile to say that someone else hasn't said a million times before. Second, said famous people don't really care what you have to say. Third, about a billion other people are blowing up the comments/+1s/reshares of these posts so I get lost in the shuffle. Fourth, I don't really feel like getting into a discussion or flame war with these strangers. Pointless.
What about family and friends? Those are the folks that I really care about communicating with on social media. They're the only ones who will reliably communicate with you, anyway. All the rest of it is just an illusion. Anyway, what about them on The Plus? Well, a few of them joined after I cajoled them. And then there was silence. Because. They. Were. All. On. Facebook.
That's my big takeaway from The Plus. Everyone is already on Facebook. Sure sure, you can join the Plus to rid yourself of the rusty anchor of Facebook that's dragging you down.
You can start over with only the people you really want to communicate with on Google Plus!
Great! You can do that on Facebook, too.
Yeah, but you can find new people to stalk on Google Plus!
That's what Twitter's for.
Mike Elgan talked about social media fatigue and ditching all of it in favor of Google Plus. He called it the Google+ diet. Mike is a huge Plus user and a respected journalist with a large following. The idea sounds great, but the problem is that if I ditched all of my social media sites except for The Plus, nobody would care. I don't have that much gravitas to get people to join me on The Plus. Emailing/blogging/twittering/ranting/checking-in-ing only from The Plus would only serve to confuse and annoy my family and friends (only people I'm really concerned with interacting with, anyway--Twitter stalking notwithstanding) who would likely then ignore the email notification they received from my post.
So, while I joined The Plus enthusiastically and spammed the hell out of my contacts to join The Plus and leave Dirty Old Facebook for good, it didn't work. What was I to do? If I wanted to converse with any of them, I had to stay on Facebook. But I still wanted to be active on The Plus, trying to post interesting things and show that I was one of the smart ones.
And it wore me the fuck out.
And the answer for me is not to ditch Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (love Foursquare), Blogger, Tumblr, ad naseum. The answer was to ditch The Plus and embrace my Facebook-folks and my celebrity stalking on Twitter.
I always felt disconnected going from Facebook to The Plus. Like I went from a warm friendly gathering at a coffee shop to a white-washed bullshit convention on how great The Plus is. I'm sure most people ignore what I post on Facebook, as they did on The Plus. But at least those who are ignoring me on Facebook actually care about me! (well, maybe they do. At least some of them do).