Thanks to the various people who popped me Google+ invite… I’ve really not known whether to jump in, and would appreciate any thoughts people have had who have made the switch or tested the water.
The obvious issue is this: have Google made it worth it? If you are going to switch, do you do so completely – and leave Facebook behind, or do so partially and have another bloody set of pages and messages to check?
I read Emma by Jane Austen recently, and there’s a lovely passage where one Mr Frank Churchill goes to pay a visit on Mr Knightley. Mr Knightley is out, which causes Mr Churchill to be furious as he’d walked there across the fields, and Mr Knightley hadn’t even left a message with his housekeeper as to where he was. Austen was writing in her own time, rather than retrospectively, but she brilliantly captures the experience of the vast majority of humanity over history: our inability to mediate our presence. Without telephones, with a very limited postal service and no immediately convenient form of transport, one simply had to take one’s chances with going to visit.
The problem with social networks is that all of that serendipity is taken away… and the end result is the opposite of serenity: a huge anxiety that we might be missing something or someone. So we keep on checking. Just in case.
If there was a way to integrate these various platforms into one ‘inbox’ (is there – will someone say) – or if there is a killer reason why it would be good to switch to Google+, then I’d love to hear it. Picking up a new technology requires time for inhabitation. The question always is whether it’s worth the time and effort to move house.
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