Tidying the Google+ Garage

Pats wrote a very thought provoking piece on Google+, and how the decentralised model of social profiles is more likely to be the long term winner. I agree with her on that, for whatever my agreement is worth.

Mind you, maybe I’m not the best person to judge, as my Google+ profile is an utter mess.

I was talking to Toby about it over the weekend; he’s a big fan, and uses his a lot, is all organised.

Mine isn’t. I likened it to being like my garage; a self contained area where lots of stuff keeps piling up, and you always mean to do something about it.

This was my garage this Saturday morning, for instance:


The problem is, you can promise all you like to tidy it up, and stare aghast at it every time you walk in…

…but as soon as you walk out, it vanishes from your mind. There are lots of other things to be getting on with.

For me at least, it’s the same with Google+. I periodically walk in to Google+, stare at the mess of stuff piling up, swear to organise, tidy, link things up, and so on. Then I walk out, and forget about it. Out of site, out of mind.

I wonder if with the launch on Google+, everyone (Google, commentators, users) unfairly expected it to take immediately, to become a complex, thriving social platform within weeks.

I don’t think anything can grow as quickly as expectations demand, nowadays, unless they are relentlessly simple (Instagram, for instance, is only just over a year old, only exists on one mobile OS, yet has more than 10 million users worldwide).

By trying to do as much as it does, all at once, Google+ is its own adoption problem. It isn’t easy to get it up and running quickly. It maybe needs to chunk things down a little, focus on little things. “Here’s ONE thing you can do…” type approach.

I always seem to use Hitch-Hikers sections as examples, but it is perhaps a little like when Ford Prefect tells Arthur that the Earth has been blown up, and doesn’t exist. It’s too big a statement, too much for Arthur to take in. So he begins to break it down…

New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every Bogart movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger. He passed out.

If Google+ focused on smaller things, maybe we’d feel more inclined to try those small things, then the next thing, then the next. In launching with full, amazing, unadulterated completeness, it’s too much to take in all at once.

I might be overreacting, of course. Maybe it would just take a good four hour chunk of a day to sit and sort. I could have it on Sunday, perhaps.

But instead, I spent the afternoon tidying the real garage, not the Google+ one…