Can Google Plus Focus Our Signal?

July 25, 2011

I think perhaps our biggest challenge going forward is attention crash.  Too much input.  Too much noise.  We’re trying to listen to too much.  The problem is that as information explodes, we don’t scale.  Keeping our eye on everything simply isn’t sustainable.

Twitter gave many of us our first taste of real-time input.  We were told that ‘listening to everyone’ else was our way to be heard.  Twitter was the early 21st century’s party line.  A message roulette of sorts.  Facebook has had its lessons.  After too many connections we discovered just how difficult it can be to tell loose acquaintances that their stuff just isn’t that important to us.

I finally see people around me coming to the realization that they need filters.  They need a better signal.

I’ve been monkeying around with Google+ and I think it puts us a little closer to where we need be.  Google forces filtering on the side of the sender and the receiver.  After all, not all messages are appropriate for everyone in our broadcast area.  And not all inputs (or circles) are appropriate for us all the time.  G+ is more intentional and gives us the option for more control.  It offers a step towards controlling the noise.  I’m not sure that this is the place for me, but it’s definitely interesting.

How it’ll all shake out isn’t clear.  I suspect that the draw of tighter control won’t be enough to pull the average college student or mother of four away from Facebook.  Twitter isn’t going anywhere.  There’ll always be demand for the party line.  And I suspect that as the social world continues to fragment, the digital biosphere will segregate by species.  As these properties age and fall from grace, they will evolve to comprise some kind of social media long-tail.

Either way I think we’re all (along with our tools) getting closer to understanding that listening and broadcasting to 20,000 folks is not the most efficient means of getting and sharing information.  Maybe it’s the beginning of the end of an era.


Emily Lu July 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Very interesting thought.

Except, I must say, that the health care tweeps that I follow on G+ are the ones that tend most of all to post things publicly and in a relatively unfiltered fashion.. so I’m not sure that this potential for G+ that you write about is anywhere near being realized, even among the tech-savvy in the health care space, it seems.

DrV July 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

That was kinda the point. Twitter effectively allows only the public broadcast of content to all who follow. We must see everything that comes from those we follow. There isn’t much room for filtering. Lists theoretically solve the issue but they never quite lived up to their billing.

G+ allows you to send only to a circle of your choosing. And you can tune in and listen at any point in time to the circle(s) of your choosing. So this platform brings us away from the mass send/mass listen to something more defined.

With respect to potential, it’s way too early to make that judgment.

Kris M Beal @Krazy_Kris July 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm

The key will be to tag our own posts. So that the readers can filter their stream by content and circles.
I’m thinking that will be very powerful.
Thanks for your thoughts!

Paul Duplantis July 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm

I believe the Future of web communication is going to be more “sort” than “search”. The connections in our brain are mapped this way so I imagine the closer we pattern our external communications to how our brain operates the more chance we will have for engagement. “Is our brain not the ultimate noise filter?”

Helena July 26, 2011 at 6:39 am

I agree with you and strongly believe that Twitter, Facebook and G+ will eventually have completely different public.
I can see Facebook keeping people with really intense social (real) life, Twitter as it is now, a great media to people with no time and G+ for geeks. :)

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