Digital Lifestyles

Google+: The Modular Social App

Google+ cannot be mentioned without comparisons to Facebook, which is unfortunate because as soon as something is touted as being better than “example media sensation” it seems to act as a strike against it.Think of all those films in the early 2000s that described itself as “better than the Matrix!” or any product that was termed “the iPhone killer.”

Instead, I’ll speak from personal experience. I attempted to manage my Facebook account to be my central “public identity” to interact with personal friends (many via my various tangential hobbies and interests,) family, business contacts, and fellow artists. I tried complex friend lists and constant adjustment and manipulation of privacy options. But it was a constant fight to fit a square peg into a round hole. Facebook constantly changes and updates its interface, often destroying my work and my privacy settings. Eventually, I gave up and made a “Fan Page” of my artwork and limited my personal account only to my friends.

Google+ is everything that I wanted Facebook to be. Through Circles, Google+ allows you to control who sees your posts and give you the power to address specific markets. This creates an environment based on content instead of how many “friends” you have. In addition to abetter quality picture sharing, this makes it especially attractive to artists. Each Circle can be created for a target audience. One can be created to share their work with others for critique and review,another of client listings, another for business contacts, etc. A person can also be a member of multiple Circles. This addresses the many problems having a single public stream such as: fears of some friend or family member bursting in with an unprofessional comment, a“Wall” for people to post inappropriate or spam material onto, or being hidden or dropped for posting content that the “friend” isn’t interested in.

Writer Mike Elgan elegantly summed it up as:
“Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to write a blog post now,’ or ‘I’m going to send an e-mail’ or ‘I think I’ll tweet something’ you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.
If you address it to “Public,” it’s a blog post.
If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s a tweet.
If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it’s a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.
I’d say this is pretty revolutionary.”

Note: Google+ is currently available as an app for the iPhone andAndroid. Unfortunately, it is limited to showing just one stream.Hopefully future updates will include narrowing to specific