When Google unveiled its new platform, Google+, many were quick to point out the reasons why it’s the “next big thing” in social networking. Over the past week, millions of people anxiously awaited invitations to try the new network and all its features. But, not me. Instead, I’m (sort of) longing for the simple days of dial-up Internet and bare-bones AOL.
While I’m often accused of being “stuck in the 90s” regarding my music and movie choices, it’s not a fondness for the bygone era of chat rooms and online zines that fuels my hesitation to join Google+ – it’s that I’m suffering from social media overload. I realize that a fully connected world has several benefits, but I struggle to see the advantages of managing another social network for several reasons:
Facebook does it all. Anytime a new social media platform enters the scene, I picture Mark Zuckerberg sitting at his computer, singing “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun while he plots his next move. Sure enough, when Google+ launched with video conferencing, Zuckerberg announced Facebook will feature Skype video chat. From geotags to status updates to professional information, Facebook has a knack for incorporating other platforms’ functionalities into its 750 million-strong user community. And – as I asked in December – why bother trying to manage several different accounts when you can get everything you need in one place?
Learning a new platform is daunting. Although I’ve logged onto Google+ a couple of times, I quickly retreated after feeling overwhelmed by trying to figure out an entirely new platform. Facebook has evolved over time and we’ve had an opportunity to grow along with it, slowly learning different features and functionalities. And other social media networks – such as Twitter and Foursquare – focus on very specific, streamlined applications that make them fairly easy to navigate. Google+ has a lot to offer, but trying to figure out a new network loaded with bells and whistles takes a lot of time and effort.
Growing a new network is a lot of work. As a Facebook user since early 2005, I have spent several years building my network on the site. I’ve managed to rekindle friendships I thought were long-lost and use the site as my primary means through which to store pictures. True, I’ve recently started to “trim the fat” a bit – removing friends who are merely acquaintances, hiding news feed updates from overzealous posters and tweaking my privacy settings – but I still don’t want to create an entirely new profile and friends list.
Maybe I’m missing the boat and not giving Google+ a fair shot. What do you think? Is Google+ worth a second look or am I right in thinking that the social media world has become way too overwhelming?