Of Google-Plus And Circle Jerks

I remember Myspace.

We speak of it now like it died in a war, but it’s actually still out there if you care to gaze upon it. It was and remains the social media equivalent of a GeoCities website: everything is blink tags and glitter fonts, tropical vomit and chrome skulls. Like Metallica rode in on a pack of My Little Ponies and got thrown into a wood chipper, and the chipper sprayed the guts up onto our screens.

Then? Facebook came around. Facebook was all clean lines and blue cubicles. Though it came from the realm of the collegiate, it appeared as the buttoned-up office worker of the social media work, tsk-tsk-tsking on all the blown-out margins and half-naked goblins of Myspace.

And for a while, Facebook held it all together. But before long, chaos crept in at the edges. Eroded those clean blue margins. Pissed on the cubicle walls. Next thing you knew, it was all HELP ME KILL THIS FILIPINO BOOKIE IN MAFIA WARS and DALE NEEDS HELP INSEMINATING DONKEYS IN FARMVILLE and people were tagging you with photos you weren’t even in (“Is that a cat throwing up on a parakeet?”) and people could add you to groups you didn’t sign up for (“Why am I suddenly getting email from “The Sparkly Bieberwhores?”). It never fell into the Las Vegas ayahuasca dream-vomit of Myspace, but the madness remained, endemic to a once-clean system.

And now, Google+ (or Google-Plus or G+ or GP or GooPloo or Guh-Pluh or whatever it is we’ll eventually call it) is here, once more stepping into the arena as the master of order, as the scion of sanity, clean and white and elegant as an Apple store.

I am here to say: Lo, I am underwhelmed.

And more than a little confused.

Both fairly default states for me, to tell the truth, so this isn’t all that new. Even still, my experiences with The Googlecrucians has been surprisingly gutless and without mirth. I figure, hell, let’s talk about it.

Though, quick caveats: first, this is not a review. I’ve seriously hardly used this thing. Don’t trust me to tell you what to think about it — go splash around in the Googley Waters thine ownself.

Second, if you like it? Then I am happy for you. I may like it too one day. Soon, even. In fact, if you would be so kind as to drop into the comments and say why you like it and how you use it, I would reward you mightily. And by “reward you,” I mean, I’ll give you a wink and a thumbs-up and a high-five and that shall be your glorious prize. Get excited.

It’s Like Facebook, Only Less So!

When “new” social media hits, to me it should feel like something new. Not merely an improvement but rather, a whole muhfuckin’ redesign. Facebook wasn’t like Myspace. It had that sense that I was dipping my toes in the lifestreams of others rather than actively hopping over to your “page” where you, I dunno, talked about how much you love the goddamn Thundercats or auto-play music that sets fire to my ears. Then Twitter came out of left-field and it dialed down complexity and dialed up that frequency to the point where it became this constant signal of conversation ever burbling in the background, and all you had to do was tune the knob to make it louder, or clearer, or more meaningful.

Twitter encouraged brevity. It embraced simplicity.

Now, Google-Double-Plus-Good has hit and it’s less a redesign and more a re-skin. In the MMO-gaming space you’d say, “it’s not a World-of-Warcraft killer so much as it is a clone.” The feeling I get from people is that “It’s like Facebook, but without all that… Facebook all up in your face!” Which is fine. Certainly Facebook has earned the ire of many for its constant application messages and its privacy settings. And Gee+ has thrown in one of the great things from Twitter: the loss of enforced reciprocality. I follow you. You don’t need to follow me. Huzzah. It’s a nice touch.

Even still, this horse is still a horse. When Twitter came around, the Internet didn’t show me a horse. It showed me a chimera shooting lasers from its eyes and pooping Faberge eggs. It was like, “Whoa, I have never seen this before.” When I logged onto Googolplex, I just saw another horse. Painted white, admittedly, and maybe given a nice currying, but still a horse.

This isn’t a home run. It’s a bunt. That can’t be enough, can it? To get millions to switch?

As Intuitive As Putting Together Ikea Furniture

Goddamn Allen wrenches.

To Hell with your Sknarng coffee table or your Fnorbsbjar S&M spinfuck chair, Ikea.

Anyway. What was I saying? Right.

The first thing that happens when I get into Googley-Poo is that it tells me that people have added me to circles even though I’d never before been on the service (leading me to believe that the site is a psychic social media version of SkyNet), and yet when I look at my list of who had me in circles, some of those people weren’t there. Further, I’m then asked to delineate people into circles of my own. Friends or acquaintances, which seems arbitrary, cruel, and actually not all that meaningful. (It’s not until later that I realize I can do whatever the fuck I want with circles, but initially, that’s not all that clear.) Why not just force me to pick enemies? My initial plan was to separate people into Byzantine Masonic Circles (“You have taken the trials and can join the 35th Echelon Of The Grandmaster Of Fez-Wearing Hula-Hoopery“) but I eventually discover that nobody can actually see the awesome circle names you’ve used to classify them.

Then I’m supposed to figure out exactly how circles work in terms of both broadcasting signal and receiving it from others. I grok the reception: I can say, “I only want to see posts from people in my Those Marked For Eradication By Doom-Bots circle.” But the broadcasting portion is a little weirder. A circle indicates a group — like, if I create a circle and we’re all in it, we should all be, I dunno, talking to one another. A circle of jerks, if you will. (And I do wonder how long it’ll be before “Circle Jerk” enters the G+ parlance.) But that’s not quite the case. This dude’s blog post takes a look at How Circles Work, but what I read in his blog is not necessarily how I understood it upon entering the circle. Even still, I’m not sure who I’m even talking to. Or yelling at. Or who can talk to me.

Or where my pants went.

Speaking Of Pantslessness

No, I do not want to hangout with you on a webcam. Or, more specifically, you don’t want to hang out with me on webcam. Listen, in the great Venn diagram of my computing life, the circle of “Am Using The Internet” and the circle of “Am Shirtless And Covered In Baby Puke And Dorito Pollen” have a near perfect overlap. I’m also afraid that if I somehow turn on my webcam, the first thing I’m going to see is someone masturbating at me. Which is why I am prepared instead to masturbate at somebody. Fight fire with fire. Fight Onanism with Onanism. I have a very clear “first strike” policy on webcam jerkoffery. Once again, the need for “Circle Jerk” to enter the Goo-Plus parlance is dire. Dire.

What The Who Now Is A Spark?

Then there’s something called a spark? Which is really just an chosen topic that accumulates random links about my chosen topic? This feels a little “stapled on.” Like, does this relate at all to my friends? Er? Circles? Er, what’s the term? Circlemates? Google-Pals? Plus-Buddies? (Again: Circle Jerks. I’m just saying. Let us all adopt this new lingo.) Who filters Sparks? Isn’t the power of social media the ability to have word-of-mouth fuel your filtering abilities? Has Google hired a guy just to figure out what Sparks I should like? What’s happening? What are all these flashing lights? Why am I being anally probed?

The Department Of Redundancy Department

I already have Twitter and Facebook. The former, I’m very happy with. The latter, I could mostly give a shit about but I’ve got tons of family and classmates there. So, I do an update to Twitter and/or Facebook, I now have, what, a third social media axis to choose from? And I’m going to do what? Say the same thing there that I said everywhere else? That’s fine, I guess, but the thought of having to track posts and replies across three axes (not to mention the blog or Goodreads or Tumblr or other blogs or reality) just makes me want to take a goddamn nap.

Even worse, Googly-Eyes over there wants me to get all handsy with organizing my social existence. You know what sounds excruciating? Organizing my social existence. Putting everybody in little boxes. Arranging people like pewter figurines in their little drawers and cubby-holes. Are you a friend? Or a worker? What if you’re a worker-friend? What if you’re part of my Beekeeping Club but you might also inadvertently find interest in my posts about Coffee Beans Run Through The Intestinal Tract Of Sugar Gliders? I already have enough busy-work in my life — balancing checkbooks, washing dishes, obsessively going over my “locks of hair stolen from all the red-headed hookers I’ve murdered.” Do I really want to micro-manage my online cohorts? Is micro-managing stuff ever fun (except for obsessives)?

As a writer, is this just another place for writer wankery? Don’t I do that enough? (Answer: duh, yes.)

I’m reaching a state of social media ennui. Tedium with such pablum.

The whole thing feels a little bit redundant.

A Mote Of Promise In SkyNet’s Eye

That’s not to say you won’t enjoy Fraggle Rock Google Plus. You very well might. As a Facebook replacement, it’s aces, I suppose. (Though I’m a bit puzzled by those who are apeshit gonzo about OMG GEE PLUS IS A BILLION TIMES BETTER THAN FACEBOOK, which to me is like saying, OMG FRUITY PEBBLES IS A BILLION TIMES BETTER THAN FROOT LOOPS.) Further, when the digital winds blow right I occasionally catch the briny scent of sheer potential in the service, a potential that maybe harkens back to what Google wanted with services like Buzz and Wave.

For now, I can’t see myself hanging out too much at the Gee-Willikers Gee-Whiz Gee-Plus Zero-G G-Unit G-Love G Money — I occasionally pull back the tent flap and see if anything good is going on, but so far, it’s mostly just a bunch of carnies sitting around smoking cigarettes and looking a little bored. That said, if you can find me on there, feel free. Entrap me in one of your jerking circles.

Otherwise I shall remain firmly ensconced in the Twitters, where I am allowed to stand on a soapbox, yell all kinds of crap into the air, and you can decide if it’s worth hearing.

As always: YMMV, IMHO, etc.

In other news: get off my lawn, you damn kids. With your Google+. And your hair. And your clothes.

121 responses to “Of Google-Plus And Circle Jerks”

  1. Nah, I think Twitter is safe. I just mean when I open Google+, I miss certain things about Twitter. G+ is no cure for a Twitter addiction.

  2. I’ve been poking around in it for a few days, though I’m probably not using it to the fullest potential. I’m also an infrequent status-updater on facebook, though, so I suppose it’s about right. I like that it’s relatively uncluttered thus far, and very much hope they don’t introduce Farmvile-like games when it goes live (or if they do, they give us a way to hide them from our streams.)

    I do use google’s services a lot, so it makes sense for me to use their social networking tool. I found Buzz not quite to my tastes — partly because it opted everyone right the hell in — and I used Wave almost the same way I used gdocs, so it felt redundant (which was probably a failing on my part.)

    On the other hand, I see the Shame on you, Google post at Making Light, and wonder if it’s all that smart to have everything in the same place/attached to the same account. I was one of the lucky .02% or so people who lost access to their gmail accounts a few months ago when someone at google screwed up a software update. Thirty hours during which I had no access to the gmail address I use for submissions and professional writerly things.

    Which I guess is a long-winded way of saying so far, it’s not so bad. I trust Google with my information more than Facebook. But it’s too early for me to say “This will become a part of my daily web-slackery” or “I see myself becoming part of a community on Google+.”

  3. Consider yourself one of the select few. I wanted to checkout Gee+ but they keep telling me they are over capacity. Like when Twitter had it’s Fail Whale days. So, I feel like I ain’t allowed in the club yet.

  4. For me, it solves the two-FB-pages problem for writers — one page for fans and your public persona, one page for your private life and actual friends. I dread the thought of trying to maintain two separate pages like that, so I like the granularity aspect of G+ because it makes it simple for me to broadcast publicly, or just to friends/family (kid pics, etc.) or just to fans who might want updates on writing stuff that I don’t care to share with co-workers at my day job.

    Maybe this is only desired by those of us who like to keep sharp lines between our social groups. I have a day-job career and a writing career, and I don’t want those overlapping at all because I have a sense each could undermine my credibility in the other. And I have a bunch of acquaintances that I can’t refuse to “friend” but don’t really want to follow and certainly don’t want to allow full access to my private life. And yes, I know FB has filtering and groups, but it’s always seemed complicated and impenetrable to me, so I haven’t done it. Instead I just keep my FB page straight-arrow and vague and boring. G+ seems to make it easier to do that filtering intuitively.

  5. Yes, I’m in no hurry to get on Google+ for many of the same reasons you mention.

    In addition, from what I’ve heard (and I haven’t seen the evidence myself), the Google+ Terms of Service are just as bad – if not worse – as the TOS that Dropbox had to back down from last week. At least with Dropbox, they’re small enough to listen to the complaints and remove the lawyer-speak “we claim non-exclusive rights to everything you link to with us.” Not so with Google. They won’t be backing down from that draconian TOS garbage. No thanks.

  6. Well, you sure stirred up some emotions. The reality is SOME of these platforms have to fail because NONE of us can keep up with all of them. I like the Circles, so I can keep organized – I’ve only spent today on it. But I could seeing it become my Business Platform, and possibly hurting LInkedin as much as it does FB. FB can become my “real friends” platform, Google+ for biz, Twitter for my ADHD days and research, and where does that leave LI?

  7. Great post, Chuck. Thanks.

    I’ve received several invitations to G+, but have been reluctant to jump in – partially because twitter is awesome, facebook somewhat less so, and the two of them together provide me with ample procrastination opportunities and enough self-criticism about how I spend my discretionary time already.

    But the thing that gives me most pause about Google+ is, well, that it’s google. They already target ads to users based on words and phrases in their “private” gmail emails – do I really want to be giving them ALL my personal data? The privacy issues on facebook have been occasionally unsettling, and sometimes annoying – but at least it’s a stand alone entity. If google has my calendar and my mail and my blog reading list AND all my friends… uh… hmmmm.

    I dunno. Is that unreasonable paranoia?

  8. I spent too many minutes figuring out how to separate my Twitter friends (who are actually on G+ from my RL friends who I never talk to on Facebook because they prefer BBMs or SMSs or sitting in front of my drinking all my booze, pants optional. So far, it takes up a lot of …space. Like, I have to do way more scrolling to see the same number of posts I can see on Twitter at once, especially using something like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. I hate scrolling. A lot.

  9. I wanted to respond to this this morning and had to peace out – but here goes: I am a total Google fangirl.

    Before I get into G+, here’s why I like Google: They offer something that so many websites in so many areas of the web are completely missing – SIMPLICITY. When I want to search for something I don’t want to be bombarded by a bunch of links or suggestions or news feed: I just want to search. They’ve applied this model to all of their products – including Google+. And it’s completely won me over.

    So anyway, as a Pro-Plus User (that sounds so redundant, doesn’t it) the thing that I like the most isn’t what it does better than facebook or what it does “in general” but what it has the potential to do. I’ve been experimenting with several ways to use circles that have thus far been pretty successful. Thanks to circles, I was able to post things about D&D and gaming that only people who I know are interested in gaming were able to see, filtering out all the trash from people I know are UNinterested – you know, the ones who would see a post about D&D and go “PHBBBBBBBBBB D&D IS FOR NERDS” rather than contributing.

    I do agree that the circles need some work – I’ve been abusing the feedback button on G+ and sharing around some other suggestions folks have made, myself, to try and help this problem. For one, I think there needs to be an option for public circles so that if I want to start a Coupon Swapping Circle – right now I would have to say “Okay, persons x, y, and z are in my couponing circle. Add them if you wanna swap.” A public option would allow me to share the circle publicly and for people to join/leave at will. This would especially be nice because – take yourself, for example. I added you to my “Dice Rollers” circle because I know you’re involved in gaming – but what if I were to go on a tirade about some game you’ve never heard of and aren’t interested in, including your circle – you CAN mute the post if you’re not interested, but it might be better to at least *offer* public circles.

    You mentioned the Friends/Acquaintances circles in your above example – I actually deleted the Acquaintences circle entirely for my +. My circles are laid out something like this:

    – Family
    – Friends
    – Offline People
    – Online People
    – Couponers

    I actually also have about 10 other circles, but for the purpose of the example, these are the only ones you need to know. Family is obvious, Friends are people who I wouldn’t mind knowing about personal information in my life – say, baby photos, if I post about struggling financially, etc. Stuff like that. Mostly these are offline people, but they include a few choice online people too that I don’t mind knowing stuff.

    Then I have Online/Offline – I created these so that I could view separate streams from people I know IRL and people I know only on the internet. Sure, I can view everyones posts in my stream at all time, but this lets me separate and see what my people I know in person are up to separate from internet stuff – and, you know, keep my internet stuff away from “real life” stuff if I need to post anything.

    Anyway, because you can put people in multiple circles, this works out great. I also have my Couponers circle so that when I post about coupons and couponing, i ONLY include people who I know will care about it, etc. So, for your example, Chuck – you could simply volunteeer requests for folks to be added to your People Who Care About B-Dub circle and spam away with updates. Maybe periodically remind your non-B-Dub followers that that’s an option.

    I also have taken to just adding everyone who is “just” a follower to a “Followers” group – if I have no idea who they are, I put them there. That way they still show up in my main feed, opening me up to all sorts of new contacts and conversations, but if I want to I can, again, just go view one of my “everyone else” circles if I only want to hear about people I know personally.

    Something else I like about G+ is that it seems more geared towards actual conversation – you can write long replies and edit them, which is one of those “OOOH AHH” things that Facebook (see! I’ve gone this far without comparing!) seems to not think we need. The thing is, in the world where all of these media outlets can coexist peacefully, I see it kind of like this – Twitter is where I go for my clever quips, my brief updates, my text-message-like conversation. Facebook is rapidly transitioning into only something that I use exclusively to keep up to date with real life friends and family (the occasional online friend) – it’s where I might post if I’m going out of town for the weekend or to share some photos with people I know will care.

    So where does G+ fit in? It’s like my own personal message board or forum. It’s for those things that are too long for Facebook/Twitter, but too short for a regular blog post. Things that can’t be answered with a quick yes or no, or things that I want to share general thoughts with. People can then re-share it and more folks jump in.

    That’s not to say that the system is perfect, but I do think G+ has POTENTIAL – there’s lots of things you COULD do with it already. I think it’s a bit naive to simply look at it in the box of “Better than Facebook” or “The Next Facebook” or “Not as Good As Facebook” or “Why Use This When I Have Facebook” – think back to when Twitter first started. I know exactly what *I* thought about it from the get go – WTF do I do with this? Am I supposed to share my poops? What I”m listening to? How do I interact? G+ is new. It’s in the same little social network nursery that all social networks pass through – but what sets it apart from Facebook, at least that I see, is that Google seems to WANT to take feedback and WANT to make it “our” social network. I do hope they listen.

    I think it might take off more fully – not as the “next facebook,” again, but as something all it’s own – if they allow more integration with their other projects and more options when it comes to circles. Off the top of my head I’m thinking that we need to be able to have some kind of “condensed sharing” similar to how Facebook handles shared links, public circles as mentioned before, but also more integration with Google Docs or Google Calendar. I want to create Calendars and Documents linked to my circles that everyone can view. I use all of these products (and have an Android phone!) and want to be able to have a seamless transition between them.

    Also, there already is an extension for chrome that lets you see your notifications from G+, but I want to see that black bar that Google is putting across all their products not only on Plus or GMail, but also on chrome (as an optional extension) and YouTube.

    So yeah, TL;DR – there’s plenty of potential for G+, but I think it’s going to be what we, the users, turn it into – and if all we want out if it is “Like facebook, but better, I guess?” that’s all it’s going to be. Without people being innovative, Twitter itself would just be a bunch of people standing on boxes yelling sixteen word sentences into the abyss and then wandering off again – but we stood up and we turned it into something that’s really kind of neat.

    Oh, yeah – and I haven’t even touched Sparks – I’m waiting for them to realize that they need some kind of user interest search alongside it so you can find people who like the same stuff/sites as you.

    This comment is so long I probably should have spent the time updating my own blog. Oops.

  10. One thing I noticed is that Plus lets you put people in more than one circle. So if someone is a workerfriend, add him to both Friends and Coworkers.

    I haven’t sparked yet, but I understand it to be you sharing articles and blogposts among your circles.

    I actually like the whole Circles thing. It’s a more nuanced way to accumulate a friends list, and it’s wicked easy to set up who sees what you’re blasting out.

    • Okay, quick drop in comment —

      One person actually helped me grok G+ better than anybody else.

      Tobias Buckell said that he likes it, as it’s a controlled space with social media functionality.

      Here I’d been thinking of it as a social media space with control functionality.

      Looking at it as pure social media, it’s not all that impressive. But looking at it as a place to control information and putting social media as a second stratum of importance, I start to get a better picture. Silly, maybe, but that’s what helped jar loose the scree in my head.

      All that being said, it doesn’t help me *like* it more, but it helps me understand it. I get more of its purpose, but it remains to be seen if that purpose is really for me.

      — c.

  11. I got stuck at “That’s fine, I guess, but the thought of having to track posts and replies across three axes (not to mention the blog or Goodreads or Tumblr or other blogs or reality) just makes me want to take a goddamn nap.”

    Laughed out loud – in real life, like – because this is EXACTLY how I feel about adding yet another “crucial” social media thing to my social media things. I FB. I tweet. I Camp (message board) and I blog. I already spend too much time updating and keeping up at all of those places – the mere THOUGHT of adding something else makes my brain hurt..

    Fabulous post.

  12. I don’t know how I feel about Google+ yet, but I do love all the creative nicknames you came up with for it. Although I’m a bit disappointed that no variations of “G-String” crept in.

    I mentioned this post to my geeky coworkers. Circle Jerk was universally adopted.

  13. No Farmville invitations? Count me in, Gee Plus. That’s why I jumped there, but as soon as G+ turns into Facebook, and I’m very sure it will, I’ll get out of there also.

    I’m also a Twitter sucker, the beest thing out there right now.

  14. I’ve just barely started exploring G+ (Or, G-Force as I like to think of it, because I dig old cartoons)

    I love that it’s cleaner than Facebook, and I love the fact that there aren’t any games that aren’t really GAMES. (I’m sorry folks, but Farmville is not a game dammit!)

    I also dig the circles. Facebook has the awkward aspect of “What do I do about my boss sending me a friend invitation if I don’t get along with my boss?” I’m pretty fortunate that way (I’ve had some great bosses), but I have friends who are… less fortunate. Circles allow you to control who can tell when you’re ranting, so you don’t have to censor yourself in quite the same way. On Facebook once you have to let in the moon-faced assassin of joy you have to watch everything you say. Circles give you a release valve.

    Now I just have to figure out how to find my Circle Jerks! There’s the rub…
    (pun fully intentional)

  15. I have twitter, fb and g+. I like g+ , my stream is not cluttered with game messages like FB, it is more about interaction on a personal level where my FB wall is 90% games so I miss the social stuff on there.

    I think g+ sits between twitter and fb, I can have a status that is more than 140 characters so I can write in English and people can comment directly below it. I don’t have to click or scroll to see what they are commenting on, but it isn’t full of games that people want me to play.

    I haven’t tried a hangout properly yet (my mic isn’t working) however I know a number of people who have and it is a good way to get a group in different places together unlike skype that doesn’t allow video with more than 2 people.

    I use the 3 differently, twitter for quick comments, especially while watching TV (masterchef tweeting is becoming an artform I like to read), FB for gaming and g+ for keeping up with what people are up to from all around the world.

    I also like the android phone app, Huddle is a great instant messenger for circles and individuals, it will be even better once it is cross platform. You can put everyone going to a particular event in a circle then use huddle for the organisation while you are out.

  16. Call me paranoid, but I can easily foresee a software glitch (like the one that made gmail unavailable for some of its users and messed with their lives) that will erase the virtual lines around the various circles and give everyone in your G-string access to all of your posts, past and present. Talk about your grandma having a coronary… just wait until she sees all the stuff that you would normally only share with your baby-sacrificing circle, complete with pics! “That could never happen. We have safeguards in place blahblahblah…” Tell it to someone who has never had a computer virus bite them in the virtual ass.

    And now I think I have officially joined the Get Off My Lawn-ers. Bah, it’s not so bad over here, but do you think you could turn down your stereo? I can’t hear Matlock.

  17. “And now I think I have officially joined the Get Off My Lawn-ers. Bah, it’s not so bad over here, but do you think you could turn down your stereo? I can’t hear Matlock.”


    — c.

  18. snorting with laughter at this and could. not. agree. MORE.

    G+ feels like more clutter, not less, but then i’m at the point where FB is noise. the chimera that is twitter has my heart.

  19. “A cleaner Facebook is all they strived for? Twitter changed the way I thought about social media. G+ merely confirms old ways of thinking about social media. ”

    G+ seems to merge elements of both Facebook and Twitter, and do it well. I find myself asking, “would I post this on twitter or on facebook?” when I’m getting ready to share something, and choosing my circles appropriately. Circles are amazing. If you think a ‘cleaner facebook’ is all they represent, you’re missing a big part of the G+ experience, imo.

  20. Thank you. I laughed, I cried, I agreed with every word of it. It is, in fact, redundant. I feel like we (whoever “we” is/are) are just using and inventing social media for the sake of using and inventing social media. We’re like the schizo homeless guy uttering complete gibberish in the park, online it happens to be on a website and all of our co-workers, friends and relatives can hear us.

  21. This made me laugh so hard — I almost snorted my iced coffee.

    When Google+ arrived, I was able to sign up…but didn’t. I went to the initial page, didn’t like the setup (snap judgment? ME? Never.). So, I waited. I wanted to know what it was first. I did the same with twitter, which I adore.

    The general consensus is that isn’t not easy to navigate or understand. And feels so unnecessary. Like you said, FB and Twitter work well. Why would I want to heap another social networking site on to that? Once FB came along, I abandoned myspace. G+ did not convince me to abandon FB.

    The only drawback is that it seems EVERYONE is on it. There are, I’ve heard, a few questionable things in the terms of service agreement. I will look for the link to the article about it. I know I have it saved, somewhere.

    Anyway, thank you for this breakdown. It was useful and funny. 🙂

  22. Loving your post. I’m not sure if I am going to love it or not and you’re right. I now have to classify people into their boxes, which can be good because I am starting from scratch, but time consuming, and how do I add another social thingy to my busy social media day. I’m a one woman band right now. Is G+ offering human cloning as well?

  23. sounds like you need to stick to your library and writing for the school paper. there are more fancy words in this post than substance… you just proved you can’t figure anything out for yourself unless your aunt tells you how to use it

  24. @terribleminds “..it means instead of checking one feed/stream, I’m now checking one for writers, one for friends, one for acquaintances, one for donkey inseminators, etc.etc”

    That’s just it, it’s not like you need to read the feed for each circle separately. You read them all together, just like a twitter or Facebook feed.

    It’s only when you want to share/post that you need worry about selecting circles. (And that can be done, in-line by just starting with the plus sign)

  25. I have to take everything you said with a sizable grain of salt. Everyone knows that Froot Loops are like a gazillion times better than Fruity Pebbles. Geez.

  26. Here’s to the ‘power of the internet’ … or whatever (don’t look at me like that!). I type “how do i know if i am on someone’s google plus circle” into Google and the first thing that came up is this article. See how useful it all is? And can you see my mock snigger?

    Anyways, I felt compelled to leave a clever line or two — (yes, that IS an em-dash) after what social networking really is for — after reading something that makes sense. Or so. And finally, to knock off someone else’s idea (another very important thing that social networking is for) , lemme just say: a terribleminds is a terrible thing to waste. Go Chuck! You’ve got a new fan.

  27. Yeah, I don’t get it either. But I am there because I’m cool and got an invite. Now I can see the same posts and get relevant ads delivered 24/7, wherever I go. whew!

  28. Lingo adopted. I completely agree with much of what you say here, and thank you for testing out the waters for me. My techie friends are are pushing G-vites like street meth at me. I’ll wait and see thank you very much.

    Hilarious post btw, LOVE You!

  29. I have a tumblr because well.. I missed the glitter of myspace, but tumblr is like newer and currently cooler, so it like ok to suck on the new glitter crack.

    Glitter is so underrate these days. Like really, would you rather have glitter to play with and look at all day or pigs to feed and corn to plant?

    As for google plus, for now, Its kinda like a exclusive geek card thing to say that you an account. Im not sure where they are going with it and it needs some help.
    Maybe like a cool hangout for Robots that you can watch the robots trash talk each other in their robot voices.. IDK.
    Google should have really just made YouTube their social media center cause it is, and as much as you talk about FB, YouTube is what makes the internet awesome.

  30. Maybe I’m getting older, but it seems that once I’ve got one thing figured out, all the rules change again to something new.

    Now I guess this is like the games we use to play when we all had to line up and 2 captains would choose sides – as usual I was always the last one picked.

    Here I stand again waiting for someone to invite me (sigh) – I’m really better than I look.

  31. […] Chuck Wendig talks Google Plus and Circle Jerks and sums up my feelings precisely about Google Plus. The mutual feeling? We are underwhelmed and we wish you damn kids would get off our fucking lawns. That said, yes I am a hypocrite who is on Google Plus. Here’s where you can find me. […]

  32. Promoting google+ votes is becoming a very hot business. Using these types of services could have negative or positive affects on SEO.
    We just have to see how google treats them. Another place to buy google plus votes is bulkones.com
    Will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few months.

  33. Google + just trying to fit into the whole social media thing. IMO, its going to be second to FB for a long time. The same for google +1s, it will be a long time before its actually considered a ranking factor.

  34. Hard to tell how Google+ will evolve, could do like facebook and include all those pointless addons such as games, bringing it more clutter and ruining the whole purpose….

  35. Clicking into G+ has the effect of walking into a small white empty windowless room… who on earth is going to join me in there?
    Why are they abandoning Orkut with all it’s Brazilian princesses?

    Facebook is like walking into a crowded bar, and has lots of Brazilian princesses, and delivers instant frapification, but has got a little stalkerphobic recently.

    Twitter I don’t understand, but as it gets on the telly, I think it appeals to the trenderati – middle aged people trying to be hip, like journalists and “web developers” in their late 30s (handbags at dawn).

    I think the next social media wow is waiting for 3D screens, and VR gloves, where lonely souls can cup those soft wobbly friends in their clammy be-leathered hands. I think the party is peaking. Google should stop trying to gatecrash, and do something interesting instead; instead of trying to do everything.

  36. […] And now, Google+ (or Google-Plus or G+ or GP or GooPloo or Guh-Pluh or whatever it is we’ll eventually call it) is here, once more stepping into the arena as the master of order, as the scion of sanity, clean and white and elegant as an Apple store. I am here to say: Lo, I am underwhelmed . And for a while, Facebook held it all together. But before long, chaos crept in at the edges. Eroded those clean blue margins. Pissed on the cubicle walls. Of Google-Plus And Circle Jerks […]

  37. […] Chuck Wendig talks Google Plus and Circle Jerks and sums up my feelings precisely about Google Plus. The mutual feeling? We are underwhelmed and we wish you damn kids would get off our fucking lawns. That said, yes I am a hypocrite who is on Google Plus. Here’s where you can find me. […]

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