On this blog we discuss our relationship with social media, trends we’re seeing online and personal musings on how it affects our lives. We’ve considered “Breaking up with Facebook” and we’ve chronicled how pointless Google+ seems to be at this point. We’ve detailed the merits and pitfalls of Twitter.
But during a recent discussion I realized we had not explored the evolution of social media as it applies to our experiences.
My first foray into social media was at a friend’s request that I join Friendster. Remember that skeleton? This particular friend was a techie–the IT guy of our newspaper. I trusted his media habits, so got on Friendster and immediately sent invitations to all my friends. Few of them joined, and I was miffed. I continued to encourage people to join, thinking this would be a cool way to stay in touch with my far-flung friends and acquaintances.
In the end, only a handful of my friends connected with me on the site, and I quickly lost interest. Yet, in the middle of my friend-prodding, one friend living in Los Angeles asked me to join MySpace. Obviously, I don’t drag my feet when it comes to linking up with old friends, so I obliged. I didn’t do much with my profile and after feeling like the Friendster scenario was losing steam I pushed these networks aside and instead got tied up with instant messaging.
Then, in 2007 when I started graduate school, I was introduced to Facebook. Surrounded by people in their early 20s (I was in my early 30s) at a university that had been one of the first to have Facebook access, I was impressed by this site and the attentiveness shown to it by my new peers. What is this “Wall?” I wondered. What is with all these photos? And how can someone really have 700 friends? True story.
Still soured by my Friendster experience, I ignored invitations to join Facebook from dozens of friends. But, in the spring of 2009 I caved. My sister in law in Hawaii said it would be a good way to keep in touch. I joined Facebook and much to my surprise, could not pry myself away.
Even now, two-and-a-half years later, I check my Facebook account every morning sometime before or after I check my two email accounts and Twitter stream. I don’t spend quite as much time lingering on the site as I once did, but it’s a regular part of my day. I turn to Facebook for updates on 400+ of my friends from junior high to grad school and beyond. It’s an interesting–albeit not complete–way to stay in touch. I once thought it would completely negate the need for my 20-year high school reunion. We shall see.
Now there is Google+. I was not one of the lucky few who were given early access to the new site, so I had to wait with the rest of the masses. When I did join, I found that few of my friends were there. It’s been about three weeks now and I have about 20 friends in my circles. Ninety percent of them are also on Facebook.
Needless to say, I don’t check my Google+ account very often. Maybe once every two days. There was so much hype about it when it launched that I believed it would outdo Facebook. I was curious to see how it could one-up Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth. Yet, it seems as if Facebook continues to one-up Google+.
Perhaps Google+ is just an expression of Google wanting to cover all its bases–that is have its hand in every online pot–as it turns to the cloud. It is an information collector and agregator. That is not to say that Facebook is not an information collector–that is precisely its aim. But Facebook is capable of keeping the masses engaged. Facebook is where we turn when we want to see what’s going on. Facebook is the news in our lives. Facebook still reigns king of the social media world.
But like all kings, their reign eventually ends. For Friendster, the site was bought out in 2009 and now Friendster.com is an online gaming site. It purged all its photos and information it collected from its users and gave up on the social media game.
MySpace has similarly felt a collective brush-off since the rise of Facebook, and it seems to have reinvented itself as an entertainment-sharing site where people can listen to music all they want. It was sold this summer. My last adventure in the MySpace world reminded me why I don’t check my account–it had been about two years. It’s dead space.
So the question remains, can Facebook survive the ephemeral world of being at top of the social media food chain?
Judging by Facebook’s response to Google+ with its launch of a major redesign and the timeline feature, it seems as if Facebook is not going to take any challenge lightly. If it can continue to be innovative and give people what they want before they know they want it, it seems Facebook can evolve with the times and hold its reign.
Excuse me now, I need to check my Facebook page. I believe it’s my move on Lexulous.
Thank you, Aleza, for making my new Facebook profile look oh-so…spiffy. I do give you full credit, dear co-author, because you told me to do it because I was complaining about the new FB changes.
Here’s what I did in just nine easy steps presented by Mashable.
And now I have a new toy to tinker with.
The big question that looms now is whether my new Timeline on FB will lure me away from the 12 seconds I spend on Google+ every day. I would bet not. But that is partially because there is no one on Google+. Everyone is still on FB and loving it.
It reminds me of the time when I tried to get my friends to join Friendster. No one listened. Then came MySpace. No one listened. Then, all of a sudden, Facebook comes along and sweeps people off their feet. Even their parents are getting in on the action. This time around it wasn’t me who was inviting my friends and being rejected, it was them inviting me. I took the bait.
So here I am, faced with the behemoth of Facebook and this spunky little engine called Google+. Can both be juggled? Will FB continue to one-up G+? It’s still early in the game. But, right now, my money is on Facebook.
As I’m finishing up the original Star Wars trilogy with my son, I am feeling a little combative. I miss the Facebook of old, and am hostile to the new revamped site that is harder to navigate and gives me only a smidgeon of the information I would like to see.
But do I turn to Google+?
I joined the other day, and, admittedly, with all that is going on in my life. did not spend much time there. Few
of my friends are on there, and there seems to be a general lack of community.
I do not run in techie circles. My friends are normal people spread out geographically, but for the most part are not part of the media elite. We are faced with a conundrum here, much like the olden days when people were trying to decide between MySpace and Facebook.
All we want to to is keep in touch and maybe share a few photos or article links. Sure, we want to do it simply and efficiently. But we want to be where our friends can find us and where we can find them.
It’s still early, and time will tell if Google+ goes the way of the 8-track or becomes as ubiquitous as, well, Facebook. But today, the jury is still out.
Oh, so NOW Google+ wants us? Well, as Groucho Marx once said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
#denial would be the appropriate hash tag here. I knew as soon as I sent that tweet, I was totally gunna fall hard. From that moment on, I couldn’t stop thinking about Google+, which opened up to everyone today. Within 10 minutes I had my own personal Google+ Account.
Ever since those little +1’s first starting popping up all over the place, I’ve been more than a little curious about this wondrous and elusive new social media platform called Google+. Alas, I wasn’t one of the fortunate elite who was grandfathered into the whole VIP, invite-only, passed hors d’oeuvres, limited trial.
So far my first impressions of G+ are more of a + than a -. I wouldn’t necessarily call it love at first sight. Let’s just say, I’m intrigued …
+: The interface is pretty spiffy. You can drag and drop stuff. It’s got all sorts of fun circles and bright colors. I love how you can personalize your profile with all your external links. Google+ makes Facebook look a bit dinosaur-ish. Maybe that’s why, as Mashable reports, Facebook is launching a major profile redesign with f8.
+: You can edit your posts, even after they’re posted. That’s like a dream come true (I often fantasize about a world without grammatical errors).
+: Notifications are integrated right into your gmail dashboard, which is awesome. I guess Google learned from their mistakes with Buzz and Wave on this one.
+: The mobile app is super cool and easy to use and explore. So far it ranks high on my Short-Attention-Span Button Pushing Meter (SASBPM). I wasted at least a good 15 minutes of undisturbed time fiddling around with it.
–: Not a lot of my friends are on G+ yet, so I got bored fairly quickly. Even though Wired has challenged a widely-circulated theory by PBS MediaShift that G+ is “worse than a ghost town,” I’m pretty sure I saw a tumbleweed roll by.
–: It felt a teensy bit like I was cheating on Facebook. I think it’s because I’ve been so intimately involved with Facebook for so many years. G+ is the shiny, the new, the unknown. Sort of exciting. Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase. But only time will tell if G+ and I can make it last.
- Google+ Now Open to Everyone: Invites no longer required (paulspoerry.com)
- Google+ Adds 9 New Features, Opens to the World (webmonkey.com)
- from now on Google+ is accessible -for everyone (mansmannfabian.wordpress.com)
- Google+ is now open for everyone to try (zdnet.com)
- Google+ Exclusivity (comuq.wordpress.com)
Posted by S.
Change is afoot. We are gradually heading into a media-centric society. Though we are well into the information age and the digital age, we have not yet transformed completely into dutiful robots, tuned in only to our hand-held devices.
Chang is a-coming, however. Watch for social networking feeds and status updates to appear in Google searches. Watch for changes in the way Facebook and Twitter are used. Watch out to not lose yourself in the midst of the uploading, downloading, posting, updating and texting. There may be more to life than pixels. Maybe. Maybe not.
It could be the revolution we’ve all been waiting for.