I know I’ve been writing things with a geeky bent this week, but these are the things that have been consuming my thoughts lately. If this bothers you in any way, please let me know and I’ll come up with something not geek related; perhaps a picture of me sitting in the bathtub or something.
Google+ is becoming a bit of it’s own rage and I am right there on the bandwagon. I have been purposely avoiding becoming excited about the new social networking platform but I discover new features here and there that work well for me, especially when it comes to privacy. The kicker of this is that you have to have faith – faith that Google won’t screw up and release what was intended as a private conversation to an unintended audience member.
I am fortunate in that I discovered the benefits of connecting with others online fairly early; 1985 to be exact. I quickly learned not to write anything online that I wouldn’t want to appear on the front page of the New York Times. I remember sitting in my dorm room at SUNY Fredonia chatting with a man named Patrick at 300 baud on a service called GEnie using my Commodore 64. He was also 18 and asked where I went to school. I told him Fredonia. A week later I received a handwritten card in the mail. Through our conversation he had obtained my name and did a quick call to the local phone company, which turned up my phone number, which provided him my mailing address which included my room number at Alumni Hall because the phone numbers corresponded to the dorm room numbers.
Instead of being flattered I was freaked out.
Through this little lesson I learned what to say, where to say it and the relative ramifications of what I said when chatting online. Privacy is still a huge concern but if you live by the one simple rule you shouldn’t have much of an issue.
“Don’t type it online unless you wouldn’t mind having it on the front page of the New York Times.”
Back to Google+. One of the cool features about Google+ is that you can messages in your “stream” to intended audiences. For example, the blog entry preceding this one, a recipe for the macaroni and cheese that was served at the Harvest House restaurants in the Woolworths department store chain, was copied onto my Google stream. I marked it as ‘public’; anyone can see it. I want anyone to see it. This is kind of cool.
I had a brief conversation with a local musician on Twitter yesterday. I fully believe that Twitter is very abused with people using it for too personal communication (addressing the one instead of the crowd). The musician had compatibility concerns with some of his audio gear and Mac OS X Lion. I told him I would test my gear when I got home and notify him of the results. I didn’t have his email address, but I was able to a message directly to him in my Google+ stream. No one else was the wiser. The parts of the compatibility test that were fit for public consumption were added to my Google+ stream with a public tag.
There are times when I want to talk about beards or bears or the like and I don’t want certain people to see them. By giving me the ability to sort my connections on Google+ into ‘Circles’, I can tell the bears that I find so-so quite woofy but I don’t have to explain myself at the next family reunion or make old friends clutch their rosary beads.
This is kind of cool.
Now I still keep that “New York Times” rule in my mind regardless of the audience, but I no longer have to broadcast anything and everything to the entire world. I can direct the topics to the appropriate circle.
There has been discussion of Google+ replacing blogs altogether. Back in the day there was talk of Google Wave replacing email. I actually can see Google+ being a one-stop repository of all things communicated online. While this is very cool, it’s also VERY scary, especially when it comes to the advertising nature of Google. Again, this is where one has to have a little faith that Google will continue with the “don’t be evil” motto and live up to it.
So go ahead, don a pair of sunglasses, mix up a glass of alcoholic swill and go to your local Taco place and chow down like there’s no tomorrow and tell only your closest friends about the adventure on Google+.
Just don’t fret if you show up on the front page of the New York Times caught in the act with sour cream at the corners of your mouth.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad