Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Share THIS on Google+ !

+JoeScarry on Google+
At first I thought, "Oh no, not another one!"

I felt weary when Google+ came along: I wasn't ready to go through the whole Facebook ramp-up process again. ("Maybe if I ignore it," I thought, "it will just go away . . . . ")

But I'm now seeing that Google+ is powerful and that it's getting traction.


Off the bat, I should say that Google+ is on my radar screen . . . er, my computer screen . . . because my blog is on the Blogger platform. (More about how that came about another day . . . . )

But many people are connected to Google+ because they have gotten themselves a gmail account, for one reason or another.

Or maybe you got connected through Google docs or by using a Google drive . . . .


Facebook vs. Google+ vs. Linkedin

Based on the small amount of interaction I've had on Google+ so far, I'm detecting a distinction from some other social media applications:

* Facebook feels more like a place for social interaction, fun, serendipity
* Google+ feels more like a place to share serious information with people in various communities of interest
* LinkedIn feels more like a place to try to position oneself within the world of corporations

"Now that is Facebook worthy!!!"

This is partly about the technical aspects of each one -- the features or "affordances" -- and partly about how people choose to use each environment.

The key feature of Google+ appears to be "circles."

Circles and Communities

Google+ has formal communities, similar to groups on Facebook.

Circles: start simple ( . . . or not . . . )
But the more interesting -- and fundamental -- feature of Google+ is "circles," -- i.e. you can define "circles" of people you follow on Google+.  You can then limit your shares to one or more circles . . . and you can look at the stream of shares from one circle at a time.

Perhaps "circles" of people in Google+ are not much different than "lists" of friends in Facebook.  However, I think Google+ is an environment in which people may feel more encouraged to make use of this kind of feature.  Facebook is more of a "fun ... what's new? ... lmao! ... whatever ...." environment; Google+ is more of a "what are we trying to accomplish here?" environment.

For instance, I know people from a large array of activities, and so I lump them into circles. (Some people are in multiple circles.)  Some of my circles include:

* people working to close Guantanamo
* people active in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA
* people I know from high school

Etc. etc. etc.

By the way, the people you follow don't know what your circles are -- that's your beeswax.


The reason I think Google+ will be very important for people working on various issues -- often referred to as "communities of interest" -- is that it is an environment that enables and encourages the sharing of information from person to person, and also from group to group.

The perennial question:
What does it take for an idea to catch on?
Peace and justice groups -- and analogous affinity groups -- are prime examples of this kind of "community of interest" form of organization.

Could this kind of sharing happen in other arenas, such as Facebook? Possibly . . . but, as indicated above, so much depends on the frame of mind of the users.

I think Google+ is an environment in which I am more likely to obtain some information from one circle -- say, for instance, people active in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA -- and realize that I want to share that with people in a distinctly different circle -- say, people working to close Guantanamo.

This kind of sharing is the holy grail of social networks.

What you can do

If you're not already a Google+ user, here are some things you can do to try it out:

* Make a few circles. Follow some people you know, and add each to one or more circles.
* Search for communites - are there any that parallel your own circles?
* Post some comments and/or links to your circles. (Do the same for your communities?)
* Comment on someone else's comment/post.
* Share someone else's comment/post.

And one more: please add comments to this blog post and tell others how to make the best use of Google+!

Related posts

I've realized that when we ask ourselves, "What is it that we hope people will do?" we must include an element of recursivity: One of the things we want people to do is to involve more people in doing it. In a way, that element of recursivity -- dare I say "evangelism"? -- defines what it means for people to really become part of a movement.

(See Invite More People into Activism! (Pass It Along!) )

As I read the article, I kept hearing echoes of lessons that I have been learning in the last several years as I have worked to communicate online about peace and justice issues. Herewith the top of my hit parade, with reference to stories from the USA Today newsroom . . . .

(See Social Media: If It's Good Enough for USA Today, It's Good Enough for Me )

I've started to organize some of the practices I've discovered, starting with the ten "guideposts" below. I'll expand on these from time to time, and hope to spur continued conversation with all of you!

(See Twitter: Scarry's Ten Guideposts )

There is an eerie similarity between events in the book Paul Revere's Ride and events in our world today. I'm thinking particularly of how a network of mass resistance springs into action.

(See New World Counterinsurgency: Deja Vu All Over Again)