Monday, July 25, 2011

Why I Choose Google+

NB:  this is not an education-related post. you are forewarned!

so, to no surprise, my family is reluctant to leave their facebook cocoon and make the move to google+. so i thought i'd take a moment and describe why i was so willing to make the leap as soon as i scored myself an invite (thanks @teachernz!).

it's not news:  i've never liked facebook. nope, not ever. it's clunky, hard to manage, and downright not aesthetically pleasing. i really hate that they take ownership of anything i post, and it's full of malware that gets spread from unsuspecting users who think anything on facebook is safe or real, despite how many sophos articles i post. as facebook is blocked at work, it's hard for me to communicate with my usa friends and family who have dropped email for fb's messaging system, and the stupid live chat crashes my browser (any one).

otoh, google is clean, sparse, and above all, easy. grandmothers can use it. and are!

"what about privacy issues?" they ask.  (yes, inside my head i'm thinking: are you kidding? do you know anything about facebook?) well, instead of saying, "thanks for your data. we own it now," google said, "here's your data. what do YOU want to do with it?" my choice. it's called data liberation. check it out.  that's right, no three-level privacy settings, application settings, hey, no applications! that's right - no games! no horoscopes! no quizzes!

sharing on google is much quicker. because all my services are integrated, it's no-effort to share photos, video, or just myself via video chat. and sharing is far superior. instead of sharing blatantly to "all," or messing around trying to remember who not to share with (and missing one), or doing all the right things and fb screws it up anyhow (which they are notorious for; just google "facebook privacy settings don't work" and see how many articles there are), with google, you pick who gets what, every time. couldn't be simpler. and there's no duplicate posting. if i share to my twitter friends, and include nz educators and usa educators, people on both lists only get 1 message.

moving to google took about...10 minutes.i didn't have to export photos, because i keep them in picasa anyhow, but i did it as a sample and it was painless.  i exported all my contacts and imported them to google w/no fuss using yahoo as an intermediary.

but the most important reason of all?  sharing.  fb says they're all about connecting. but what they mean is it's all about connecting your data with their advertisers.  you are NOT fb's customer. their advertisers (and zynga) are their customers.

and when it comes to connecting, fb has been a real disappointment. why? nobody actually communicates. i sit here and watch old high school friends log in and play games, friends periodically posts status updates that hardly anyone comments on or back when commented on, family sometimes posts links or photos that no one comments on/back, and no one talks with me on chat (well, it works so sporadically, who can blame them?). the biggest true communicator on my friends list is the lovely owner of dark delicasies bookshop, del howison, who posts several links to interesting topics every day, and then actually talks to people about them. second to him are my gamer friends (yes, i game. blame the kids.)  i have spent more time chatting/commenting with women from all over the world who game, in the last 8 months, than i have with all my friends and family, combined, ever since i joined fb!

since i've joined google+, i have had some of the most intense, full, rich conversations about education since grad school. i've video-chatted with other educators from around the world. and i have live chatted with old high school friends. that's what i thought fb was going to be all about. but it isn't.

why do i want my family to join google+?  because i miss them. i live 12 thousand miles away from anyone, other than my husband or child, who loves me, and it's lonely! i want to be part of their lives, and i want them to be closer to us. if i could experience the same rich communication with them as i do colleagues, living so far away wouldn't be so hard. and frankly, it upsets me that they don't communicate in all the ways we could be communicating.  this is exactly what technology is for!

to summarise, after all that whinging:
  • facebook = bad
  • google+ = good
  • family = get on it! for god's sake, it's free and has none of the irritating crap you complain about on fb! what more could you ask for?

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