Digital Intersections | KCET
My Binary Soul
In the effort to stay connected but off the roads, I have become a traveler through my wifi. Los Angeles is a city measured in time spent in a car, and I try to save that time by using whatever means I have. Last weekend during Carmageddon, it wasn't a hardship for me to stay home, since I have managed to create a life where I have everything I need within a 10 mile radius. Through my use of social media and other online sharing tools, I can to be across town; not in body, but in digital soul. I see this as my contribution to Los Angeles, by not adding to the smog and traffic.
In 1996 Chiat Day the agency behind the Apple ad campaigns tried an experiment; to have their employees telecommute and work off-site. However the experiment did not work because of the rudimentary applications for video conferencing and the ability for file sharing was not as robust as it is now. Fifteen years later we have laws against texting while we drive. We are now living in a time where we most of us work off site and we only have the digital nameplate on a digital door.
An Office in the Air
The tools I use to access the world grows each year, from Twitter to Facebook to Flickr to Linkedin and now Google+. Will adding another way to express myself help or blunt my message?
Google+ is Google's latest foray in social media; Google's last two social experiments Wave and Buzz both flamed out due to "not thinking it all the way through." Buzz was Google's Twitter, whatever you posted was seen by all your Gmail contacts, and that meant everyone from clients to friends to relatives. Needless to say, some Buzz users didn't want their clients knowing that they really thought of them.
Google+ is more thought out and more elegant in its presentation. Google+ allows you to group your friends, acquaintances, family, and people you "follow" into circles. In Facebook, when you post to your wall, everyone listed as a friend can see it (you can set preferences to individuals not seeing your wall at all in Privacy,but then why are your Friend?). In Google+, you can post selectively. Your mom won't see your weekend in Cabo, but your friends will. Your clients won't see you goofing off at the sale at Nordstrom's, but your select group of friends will. There will be people that overlap into other circles because our lives are not compartmentalized into neat little boxes, more like a spirograph that spins ever more complicated shapes and intersections.
After a week of playing with Google+, I think I have grasped the full power of the "Circle." I started creating circles called "People I Piss Off" and "People I Haven't Slept With." This was all done in fun, but it was fun. What Google+ has over Facebook is the "fun" factor, and plus the separation of personal, work and family.
Will Google+ overtake Facebook? Only the early adopters and social media savvy have really taken to Google+, the rest who have finally figured out Facebook will not migrate all too soon. Its the old adage of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," especially when that "old dog" was dragged kicking and screaming into the world wide web. So for now, Google+ is a fun playground that Twitter was when it first started, there's room to breathe and have fun.