Google+: stop the innovation I can’t keep up

27 Jul

Note to Reader: The first time I posted this I left off the conclusion. ooops. Here’s the complete version. Hey, I never said technology was my thing!

When the news hit a few weeks ago about Google’s new social networking site, Google+, I thought “No, please no, not something else for me to figure out. Can innovation just slow down and let me catch up?”  After four years on Facebook, I still don’t understand how all of the features work, so why do I want to tackle learning a new social network? Also I have hundreds of “friends” on FB.  By this point, if folks aren’t on Facebook, they probably aren’t interested in social media at all. Will Google+ simply allow me to connect with the same people on a different site? Will it attract the next generation of social media users and leave us geezers on Facebook? Or will it cause Facebook to go, let’s say, the way of My Space. (Yes, I know My Space still has millions of users, but really do you know a single person on My Space?) I know, I know, Google+ has lots of cool features like posting information for certain circles to see,and video chat,  and I don’t know what all. When I went to the Google+ site to check it out, it looks like 10 million people already think it’s a good idea … and 10 million is Google’s idea of a “limited” roll out.

I am not an early adopter of anything technological. Some of the reason for that is I’m lazy, and I really don’t like to have to learn new things related to gadgets or machines – sad but true. More of the reason for this is my age. Gen Xers like me grew up on the brink of technological innovations, but computer technology did not become part of our daily lives until we were adults. As kids and teens we talked on phones that plugged into the wall, we wrote notes in class, and we had pen pals from camp. One of my work colleagues explained it perfectly – our generation went to college with typewriters and left with computers. So we grew up connecting in a very different way. I didn’t even have access to email at home until 2004 when I got married and my husband had a desk top computer. Lots of Gen Xers really enjoy using social media – I have to admit that I do – but I could live without it. I did live without it – for a long time – so being able to connect easily with someone who sat behind me in 8th grade algebra is fun, but not necessary. (Take away my smart phone and that’s another story.)

For the Love of Facebook

I ended up on Facebook almost by accident. A friend who is the sort of person who only uses her mobile phone for emergencies and never emails photos of her children, sent me a friend request with a message that she had posted pictures of her family. I was intrigued that this person who was even more in the technology dark ages than me was on Facebook — and I was eager to see her children. So I thought, let me take five minutes and check out Facebook … and with that, the love affair began. I reconnected with my third grade teacher, joined a fan club for my old neighborhood, and discovered former work pals and a distant cousin. For weeks, friend requests poured in, and I was giddy about what goodies waited for me on Facebook. At that time, I felt like everyone I knew was getting on Facebook. I would go to my wine club, and we’d talk about Facebook; I would call friends from my hometown, and we’d talk about Facebook; I would have lunch with my mother, and I would tell her about Facebook.  But after about three months, the Facebook flurry slowed down, and the romance began to go a little stale. My relationship with Facebook took a lot of work. Perhaps this affair wasn’t the best use of my time. I took a step back.

Four years later, I have a more mature relationship with Facebook. It’s not head-over-heels honeymoon experience anymore, but it’s still fun and has proved to be useful too. For example, Facebook was the best way to locate classmates for my 20th high school reunion last summer. I also have had success promoting this blog on Facebook. I enjoy seeing status updates from friends, and Facebook makes sharing photos from events really easy. Every time I have considered saying sayonara to Facebook I stop myself – not only because I don’t want to spend the time figuring out how to deactivate – but because I have built a really large network, and that’s got to be good for something.

Testing Twitter & Locked out of LinkedIn

I have dipped my toe in other social media waters too. To promote this blog, I joined twitter, and I have 19 loyal followers, including a local grocery store chain, an auto parts store and a company that sells kids’ cameras – I am sure those tweety birds are waiting anxiously for each new 40countdown post. I get a little thrill when I receive an email that someone new is following me on twitter – I feel sort of famous like Ivanka Trump — only to become deflated when I learn it’s a child psychiatrist’s office or plaintiff’s attorney. (Really, how did they find me and why are the following me?)

I have two LinkedIn accounts – one connected to a personal email, and the other connected to an old work email that I can’t check. My husband – who is generally not a fan of social media – thinks LinkedIn is a great tool for referrals and marketing, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what people do with other than invite more folks to join their network.

To Google+ or Not to Google+

So will I join Google+? In the end, probably so. With social media it seems that the old adage “change is the only constant” truly applies. No, I don’t need or even want another online social network. No, I don’t want something else to check (in addition to social media sites, two email accounts, two voicemail boxes, and snail mail). No I don’t want to learn all of the Google+ functions and features. But I feel like missing a major step in the social media evolution is like missing a month of calculus – you can never catch up. And on my long lists of “I don’t wants,” the one that’s at the top is: I don’t want to be left behind.

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4 Responses to “Google+: stop the innovation I can’t keep up”

  1. Becky Wolsk July 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Hi Kathleen,
    I just discovered your blog because I saw your comment on my dear friend Melanie’s blog (notyourpreacherswife.com). I’m a write-at-home mom and quilter from DC and among other things, I blog at http://www.textislepatchworkblog.com. I’ve been on fb since 2008, and just joined Twitter in early July so that I can promote my projects (cookbook-in-progress, Nov 2011 pub date). I’m @GoalsGamified on twitter, and so far I like it, though facebook is my social media home.
    Re Google+: like you, I’m not crazy about the idea. I think we have more than enough social media already, and I’ve read that there are circles on G+, in which you sort your friends. I don’t like the idea of that because I don’t want to just see foodie content from my foodie friends and exercise content from my runner-friends. I like Twitter and Facebook because you can filter (by only following or friending certain folks), but then you also get the serendipity of finding out how multifaceted your fb friends and acquaintances are. So, for example, I’m friends now with some authors who I wrote fan letters to, and I like finding out that they, too, struggle when they pick up the telephone and all of a sudden their kids start calling “who’s that on the phone?”. Anyhew, I’ll sign off but just wanted to say hello. Best, Becky Wolsk from DC

    • 40countdown July 28, 2011 at 1:40 am #

      Hi Becky ~ Thank you so much for saying hello and for taking the time to read my blog and weigh in. The G+ features aren’t appealing to me either. I would love it if FB had a way to send messages to a group friends at one time, but I don’t think it does. I am looking forward to checking out your blog! Kathleen Linder

  2. Holly Favell Gray September 9, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    Kathleen, I am so sorry it has taken me months to vist your blog, but I totally enjoyed reading all your entries- they are funny, and so true to life! You are a great writer, and I am inspired by your initiative and insight. And I promise, if I ever join Twitter, you will be the first person I follow!
    xo
    Holly

    • 40countdown September 9, 2011 at 2:24 am #

      Holly ~ Thanks so much for reading, commenting and subscribing!!!! I hope you enjoy it, and I definitely want to hear your ideas and feedback. I am sure our NYC weekend next month will provide great material too!

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