I just disabled Google Buzz. I was sick of seeing the 100+ updates alerts in my Gmail inbox – they were making me feel guilty and left me wondering: should I care?
I love Google Reader, and I would recommend it to anyone who regularly reads certain blogs. However, even when I manage my subscriptions as carefully as possible, at any given time, I still have 1000+ items yet to read. And that doesn’t count the 100+ shared items from people I follow, trusted, smart people who are good “curators“.
Tell me, Google, why do I need more unread items to make me anxious?
The problem with Google tools like Buzz and Wave is that a lot of people think they should care, given all of Google’s hype, but they’re not really sure how to care.
From the little time I spent on Google Buzz, I saw Twitter-like bits of information, shared links and items, Facebook-like status updates, etc. Everyone with a Gmail account was improvising. And they’re still improvising.
Sure, a lot of people still don’t seem to “get” Twitter and Facebook.
@hannahchristi: exploring twitter.. but i don’t get it.. guess im too stupid to understand xD
@Bully_Crazy: @BajaChalupa I don’t get this twitter thing.
@MaryyyAA: i still don’t get what is so great about twitter. Am i missing something?
But these confused tweeters who claim they don’t understand Twitter actually DO understand Twitter – they are using it, aren’t they? You have 140-characters to write whatever you want or respond to whoever you want. That’s it.
The point of Twitter is that there really is no point. The second a social media website tries to devise a point is the second it fails: social networking tools should give users the freedom to run with them.
Sure, Facebook was founded with a purpose. But Facebook was an innovation that fulfilled a need. Whether they knew it or not, students craved a way to stay in touch with high school friends who went to other schools/classmates at their own schools.
Think about it: where could social media go from there? What new purpose could you possibly create?
Google is “fails” at social media because the company’s efforts are too calculated. Plans work for search, a business that involves algorithms, logic, and very precise movements through the jungle that is the Internet.
But social media is messy, spontaneous, and people-driven, NOT computer driven. Just read this excerpt from a beautiful piece about ChatRoulette by Sam Anderson for New York Magazine. Anderson writes:
“The first time I entered ChatRoulette—a new website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with an endless stream of random strangers all over the world—I was primed for a full-on Walt Whitman experience: an ecstatic surrender to the miraculous variety and abundance of humankind…
…Once you dive in, there’s no way to manage the experience—to filter users, search for friends, or backtrack and reconnect with someone you chatted with an hour ago. There’s only the perpetual forward motion of “next.” It’s the Wild West: a stupid, profound, thrilling, disgusting, totally lawless boom.”
The idea is so simple, and the rules are so…nonexistent.
Social media is a child of rogues, of daring imaginative goofballs obsessed with how the lives of people and and habits of societies collide yet don’t necessarily mesh.
I dare Google to make a social networking tool that can win over the hearts of people (strange, smart, quirky, rich, poor, etc.) worldwide. But Google plays too carefully. A company that specializes in delivering relevant search results could never possibly see the beauty in chaos.
(Photo by david.nikonvscanon)