Before we begin, let me be clear: I’m not against change.
I’m against rapid change that I can’t get a handle on in my old, crotchety age. I need time to adjust to something before it goes all snickersnack on me and shakes up again. Else I feel lost in the ebb and flow of a technological sea that leaves me blubbering at the bottom, wondering why I ever even dipped my toes in.
I use this long, unnecessary sea metaphor to say one thing: I’m going to Google+.
Now I know that some of my readers are in fact old and crotchety and not just pretend old and crotchety like me and may not have any idea what I’m talking about. So allow me to explain that Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook. Basically, Google+ is an attempt at creating a social networking platform where folks can share content with a sense of greater control over whom they share it with. Google introduced the notion of “circles”, so that instead of simply “friending” someone (like on Facebook), you just add them to circles that you set up yourself. For example, you might name three circles: family, friends, and coworkers. Then you drag and drop appropriate folks into appropriate circles and then you have a choice to share your updates and information with one, some, or all every time that you add content.
It’s a great way to avoid that picture of you face-down on the bar with your bra strap showing ending up on the screen of your current boss.
Circles have a variety of fun possibilities. For example, since no one knows what circle you have them in, you can name them anything at all. I prefer a Seussical system, wherein coworkers are West Beasts, friends are Glotzes, and family are Zooks.
Anyway I have this whole theory about Facebook leading the way to George Orwell’s 1984 and am finally uncomfortable enough to make the switch to Google+.
I see the irony in how I feel safer with Google, which is clearly taking over the world. I’m also aware that Dante also put people in circles. I’m carrying on in full knowledge of the would-be legitimate claims of hypocrisy, and this is how:
Facebook answered Google+’s ideas by allowing people to create lists to sort their friends and share certain information with certain lists. It also introduced a feature called “subscribe”, which essentially just means I’m electing to have someone’s updates show up in my news feed. But the beauty of this feature isn’t in subscribing, really. It’s in unsubscribing, and it will pave my soft, flowery path to the Googlemeister.
Over the past week, I have been slowly unsubscribing from people on Facebook who I don’t really care about. I’m not trying to be mean – I’m just being honest. Do I care that this person who I went to elementary school with but haven’t talked to since they bullied me in the tennis courts in third grade is eating a ham sandwich for lunch?
No, I don’t. And so I shall unsubscribe from their ham-eating updates.
What’s better is that they don’t even know. They’re friends with me – that’s all they see. They have know way of knowing if I follow them or not.
So first I will unsubscribe from people I don’t care about. Then I will unsubscribe from people that don’t ever have interesting updates. And so on and so forth until I am left with only the cream of the crop in my mini-feed. I will systematically chop people out of my information IV like a ruthless ruler. And when I’m left with a very small group that represents those who I am interested in either for entertainment value or for the fact that they really are my friends and I care about them in a virtual sense, I will aggressively campaign for those people to come join me on Google+.
It’s a pretty solid plan and I think more people could make the switch if they slowly weaned themselves in a like manner.
There are a few matters of business to be carried out, of course. For one, I have every single picture of myself for the last 7 years harbored on Facebook. I stopped taking pictures when I realized that my friends would take pictures for me, log them, and label them. So now I have about 600 pictures that I need to get Facebook before the switch or I will have no physical evidence of me being alive for what are supposed to be the most exciting times of my life.
It will be an epic undertaking. There’s rumor of an app for that. I shall Google it and relish in the irony.
But the most important thing that must be addressed before I can deactivate my Facebook account is what the appropriate terminology for enjoying something on Google is. On Facebook you just click a thumbs up and say you “liked” it. On Google+, there’s a little plus sign (+). But how does one express that as a verb? They plus-ed it?
I can’t just go joining a virtual group of people without knowing the appropriate term. Heaven forbid I throw out “Plus-ed” in casual conversation and it be wrong. But once I get that taken care of, it’s off to the Googlemeister for my social networking needs.
That’s it for me and Facebook. It’s going to be a slow, slightly painful, and definitely awkward transition. But once I make it to the land of the Google, I can hang out with all my Glotzes, Zooks, and West Beasts. ♣