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More thoughts on Google+ - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
More thoughts on Google+
I thought this presentation by Vincent Wong raised some interesting points.

It's public, so I assume anyone can see it, even if you don't have a Google+ account.

After following the link, if you double-click on the first slide, it will run as a presentation.

My personal thoughts on Google+ are that he's probably right. I don't honestly think Facebook are going to lose their core users, ie the people who want to keep in touch with friends and family that they know face-to-face. The inertia of moving 750 million people across is just too huge. Besides, there is no point for most people; if you know your Facebook friends and are genuinely friends with them, Facebook is fine. What Facebook doesn't do well, however, is enabling you to have different types of relationship with different people, for example being all chatty and informal with some and businesslike with other. Google+ does that really well.[1]

Neither is Google+ going to be a threat to Twitter which does the ephemeral, up to the minute public conversation really well. (Though you could use Google+ that way if you want.)

Where I can see Google+ really scoring is as a way of working collaboratively, whether that's for creative projects, business or teaching. When I ran my trial creative writing course, I set up a dedicated forum, but now I could do the same thing much more easily with Google+ circles. Instead of uploading documents as attachments, they can just be placed in Google documents and shared.

If you have your own dedicated forum, then it's likely to be slightly different to all the forums people have used before and the first few days are spent getting everyone familiar with how it works. If people already know the interface and have an account already, you hit the ground running. What I'm really interested in though are the hangouts. I've played a little with audio and video conferencing on the OU's system, but Hangouts seem to let you do the same thing much more easily. Yes, there was already Skype, but instead of either having to run a complex system of forums and videoconferencing that your students/collaborators/clients have to learn (which is what a big organisation like the OU can do for their students) or having to cobble together an ad hoc arrangement using a service here and a service there (as I was doing with my creative writing course), Google+ neatly integrates everything you would need. It could be absolutely brilliant for running virtual writers' workshops. Online Milfords, anyone?

You could do virtual conventions too. We already have bittercon on LJ, but with Google+, in addition to discussion of posts or links to other content, you could actually have panels in real time if you wanted.[2] At the moment, you're limited to 10 people in a Hangout, but that may be extended. It may also become possible to record a Hangout, so you could have interviews and panel discussions that people could access later. If things happen elsenet, eg on LJ, then you can just link to them and Google+ becomes The One Place you need to look instead of remembering to check the LJ feed and the various Wordpress and Blogger blogs and the blogs on people's own websites.

Anyway, I'm still dabbling around at the shallow end of Google+, but I can see that it will be far more that just another social network where you can chat to your mates, it has a lot of potential for serious collaboration.

[1] LJ does it, of course, if you have a paid account, but the user base is relatively small and people already have too many accounts online and if they're not here already, they're unlikely to want to create yet another one just to read specific posts by someone they find interesting.

[2] If you don't want to use the video, it can be audio only or text chat. Or a mixture of all three, depending on people's preferences.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

6 comments or Leave a comment
muuranker From: muuranker Date: July 16th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I just tried, and you have to be logged in to see it (otherwise it just takes you to the main not-logged-in page.

The trouble I'm having with google+, which I'd love to know the answer to is: how do you find likeminded individuals? Spark just seems to be a continuously running search engine. Fair enough, but I can't see any way to find people or events which I'm interested in. For example, I would quite like to know if anyone is interested in Ursula Moray Williams ...
lil_shepherd From: lil_shepherd Date: July 16th, 2011 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Neil Gaiman has just cancelled his Google+ account apparently because too many people were finding him! (And adding him to circles and telling him he was using it wrong etc etc.)
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 16th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can see that Google+ would not geared for people like Gaiman who have a huge fan base and who will have far more people wanting to add him to their circles than he will want to add.

But actually, that just strengthens Vincent Wong's argument that it's not about being friends with people on the net, nor even about following someone popular; Twitter already exists for that, as does Facebook. What would Gaiman say in Google+ that he's not already saying on his blog or on Twitter? I think Google+'s strong point will be the ability to enable collaboration in small groups.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 16th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right. I see. Public posts are not as public as I thought then. Oh well... Anyway, I did briefly summarise what he said, so I hope the gist of his argument came over.

Re the searching, I've discovered that if you put the search term in the Find People box, it does bring up a list of anyone who has mentioned the topic on their profile. It's a bit hit and miss at the moment, but I tried it with "Terry Pratchett" and it found quite a few people who had listed that as an interest.
From: colindavison Date: July 17th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Ursula Moray Williams

Hi muuranker. I was interested to read your reference to Ursula. Did you know she was born exactly 100 years ago, that she grew up with her identical twin sister in a crumbling mansion, that she published 68 books for children, or that her extraordinary life was just as fascinating and as inspirational as that of her fictional heroes. My biography of her has just been published by Northumbria Press, part of Northumbria University. It's called Through the Magic Door: Ursula Moray Williams, Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse. It's priced £18.99 in the UK, but if you are interested I can send you a signed copy for £15 plus the postage. You can contact me via colin.davison@hotmail.co.uk. I'd be delighted anyway to learn more about your interest in her.
muuranker From: muuranker Date: October 30th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ursula Moray Williams

Belatedly: I was asking because we at work were taking (now have taken) a small exhbition on Ursula's work, prepared by our colleagues in Hampshire. At the time I wrote, I was hoping that we could get some kind of small event together, but this was beyond my capacity at that point (I think it was my first week of a phased return to work).

Thank you for your response, and sorry I didn't do anything with it.
6 comments or Leave a comment