Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To Google+ Or Not to Google+? That Is the Question

Social media: can’t live without it, can’t get anything done with it. Anyway, I ventured into Google+ last night, and I’m still getting organized, but feel free to circle me—I see we need a new verb here—or tell me you want to be circled and invited. I don’t think I like it as much as Facebook, but then I’ve always been incredibly resistant to change (I was born an old crank).

What I realize I do like about Facebook is the odd, swarming mess of it—that people are posting about their lunch next to people who are bemoaning the bankruptcy of Borders bookstores next to someone talking about losing power during a thunderstorm in Chicago next to someone advocating a new book by a Polish-American author. That there’s a tiny group of people who respond to something I write about hockey and there’s a different tiny group of people who respond when I write about Iowa City. The mess isn’t as messy as it might seem, since anyone I friend needs some sort of connection to one of my interests (i.e. it’s doubtful that I’ll learn much about cage-fighting through my Facebook friends).

But Google+ seems to me (so far) just a little too organized and sanitized, cordoning everyone off into their relevant “circles.” Is this a "friend" or a "writer friend"?  A "student" or a "writer friend"?  Too much thinking, evaluating, and ranking. And maybe it’s true that no one will ever know which “circle” you’ve lumped them in, but just from the limited time I was on the site, I noticed that you do see that some posts are “public” and others are for “limited circles” (or some such phrase) so if you’re not getting any “limited circle” info from your so-called friend, you’re going to know you’ve been dumped into the outer rings.

Anyway, I was late to Facebook, I’m still not on Twitter, and I vowed I would move early into the next new New Thing. So…circle me. And if you’d like a friendly guide to the whole thing and why a writer might jump into this new way of wasting time—I mean, new way of promoting and connecting, I thought writer Paula Whyman’s introduction was very helpful and, as always when she puts fingers to keyboard, amusing:


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.