I remember when I first encountered Facebook a few years ago. Though I had friends who just loved it, and I joined up and created a profile, the social-networking site has always rubbed me the wrong way. These days it is something of a necessary evil. I keep track of relatives and friends at the site, and I have Google+ set up to link to my blog posts on my “Wall”. I rarely comment or originate content on Facebook.
One problem with Facebook is that it is all too easy to accumulate too many “friends” there. I imagine everyone has had the experience of being fooled by Facebook. Facebook’s software robots assume that anyone who is a “friend” of one of your friends ought to be your “friend too. A bad assumption indeed. I had to ruthlessly prune my “friends” list in order to avoid being inundated by posts from people I don’t know.
Then there are the fire-hose Facebook posters. These are people who spend hours letting their friends know the most trivial and mundane details of their lives. Too Much Information! Stuff like, “I just ate some chocolate! Mmm mm!” or “I finally got to Level 9 on [some on-line computer game]!”
Then along came Google+, which remedies some of the annoying failings of Facebook. Google+ allows the user to create “Circles”, groups of other users the posts of which can be viewed separately. Have a friend who posts many times a day? Create a circle for such posters called, say, “Verbose”. I have one circle for members of my family, another for people I don’t know but whose posts I like to read, and another for people I like to check on just occasionally.
Another advantage of Google+ is that there is no size limit on the posts.
I’ve enjoyed my experiences with Google+, but there has been some controversy lately due to Google’s hit-and-miss application of an ill-conceived policy. They don’t like people to use aliases or pseudonyms. I’m sure there are good commercial reasons for this but Google really needs to reconsider. Personally I have no use for an alias, but people who work for government agencies or paranoid corporations would like the freedom to post anonymously, with good reason. Women also have some reason for concern, as they tend to be subject to stalking and harassment by nameless idiots. Here’s one ZDNet columnist’s take on the issue:
An aside: I just loved this metaphoric tripartite figure of speech in the above article:
Getting verified on Twitter wasn’t easy, but it was kittens, pop-tarts and rainbows compared to this.
The inclusion of a lower-cased product brand-name as the middle metaphor gives a certain “zing” to the sentence, I thought.
Here are several interesting things I’ve found recently in my Google+ feed:
This was posted by one of the folks I follow and I recommend that you take a look; it’s a very well-done video story:
My comment on the piece at Google+:
Wonderful film w/o dialog! This is true visual story-telling. It’s interesting that it takes about two dozen people collaborating to produce such a film, as compared to the one writer it takes to generate a prose tale which can conjure up similar mental images in the reader’s mind.
Here’s a “flash mob” rendition of Ravel’s Bolero, a video of the Copenhagen Philharmonic gradually coming together at a train station:
An object lesson in how cell phones have changed our culture.
I’m an amateur photographer, and I’m well aware of my limitations. I’m thoroughly humbled by the images produced by French photographer Philippe Sainte-Laudy. He has the master’s touch. I became aware of him on Google+ and immediately put him in my “Follow” circle. You can see Philippe’s images at his homepage, and
he has made available a PDF e-book there:
The page is in French; just scroll down until you see a box with “Telechargement fischier.zip | 48 mb.” written in it. Push that and a download of an “E-book” will be initiated, a PDF file containing examples of Philippe’s wonderful photography. I know — when you see the word “Telechargement” it will make you wonder if there might be a charge for the e-book. Don’t worry, it’s free, and well worth having. Here are three examples of photos from that book:
I welcome any comments readers might have on the two competing social networking platforms.