The world second largest social network
Simply put, Google+ is Facebook for adults, professionals, and anyone else who is bored or disappointed with the evolution of other social networking sites. I was reluctant to join Google+ a few months back as I felt I was already linked in with Facebook and Twitter so there was no need for change. Additionally, the failure of Google Wave is not too far in the distant past to forget so the last thing I wanted to do, or advise teachers and students to do, was jump on board another sinking ship.
In the past 15 months I have become a father of two, Lachlan and Charlotte, and this has forced me to rethink online social networking and my digital presence. I am still on the fence with how open I want to be with images and videos of my little babies on the web. Do previous students, acquaintances or friends I have not seen or heard from in years need to be bombarded with photos of Lachlan and Charlotte? Do they need to be notified when my mom tags me in one of over a hundred photos of her grandchildren? Or are some moments just for family? This is only one of the frustrations I have had.Others include increased advertising, inappropriate messages that pop up on the news feed when plugged into the a projector, the "friend" who uses every opportunity to vent on any post that they may find controversial or debate worthy, and the "like" if you want to save the world or have a million years of good luck posts. Needless to say, at times, it all feels like waste of time which is gradually eroding any valuable social networking. So it is with these mild frustrations and lack of a need for another social network that I started to explore Google+.
It didn't take long for me to have my mentioned frustrations elevated. In Google+ all posts, those you view and send, can be categorized. Messages, information, photos, videos, etc, that you push out can be sent to everyone, someone specific, or a select few individuals or circles. The video above does a great job explaining this. Posts you view offer the same customizable options. This transforms the user experience by eliminating all the pollution that seems to bombard news feeds. I have found myself finding more of what I want to read or view and sharing more than I have in years.
Additionally, the user experience is exponentially enhanced with other features such as communities, pages, photos, events, and the most transformational, Hangouts. Communities are like groups but offer a broader selection of interests and collaboration opportunities. Events integrate directly in with Google Calendars, Hangouts, and Photos, which can be directly added into the event once tagged. Lastly, Hangouts offers users free HD quality video conferencing with up to 9 screens with embedded real time integration of Google Docs and the option to broadcast live to YouTube with the click of a box, which also records your hangout. The possibilities are endless for education and social networking. Now we just need everyone else to make the switch.