It’s a new year and we have a new social network. It seems that they keep popping up every few weeks lately. This time, Google managed to deliver another something for me to worship. I wish I could tell them to stop or at least slow down, as my chanting sessions are getting out of hand, and there is simply not enough time to dedicate a chant for each of their products. I would be chanting from morning till night without interruption.
At this point I’m probably a member of more social networks than I have real friends and I’m still not quite sure it’s a testament to me living on the bleeding edge of technology or simply having been shunned by mainstream society as a whole. Or both.
As a longtime Google fanatic, I sincerely hope that Facebook dies a painful death. I just don’t trust them further than I can throw them. And since they’ve grown quite heavy lately, I doubt I could even pick them up, let alone throw them. Now, I probably won’t be throwing Google either, but they have earned my trust over the years with various efforts to ensure transparency. It most likely originates from the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when gazing at their childishly immature logo during my daily hours of worship coupled with the “Don’t be evil” slogan. In contrast with Facebook’s which is something like “Give us all your data so we can own it forever and use it in any way we see it fit”. I might be paraphrasing a bit.
Although not entirely sure my (false) sense of security is due to Google’s superior trustworthiness or a better PR machine working on their behalf, in reality what this means to me is that, I avoid keeping any personal data on Facebook at all. Maybe a picture here and there and some status updates. Nothing too incriminating (I hope). And certainly nothing that can be used in any kind of extortion scheme unless my poor sense of fashion can be used as leverage against me. Then, of course, I’m screwed.
After having used Google Buzz for a week or so now, it’s clear it’s not totally ready for prime time. But it’s a very good start and I like the geo-location aspect of it. It’s fun to explore what’s going on around you. Integration with other social networks such as Twitter is still buggy. Some privacy issues are still a valid concern, but I’m sure they will be fixed shortly, as Google seems to address these issues fairly quickly. Now, I’d like all my friends willingly migrate over to Google Buzz when all this is fixed. Is that going to happen? No. Why? Because few people a I don’t even think that Buzz is even close to replacing the functionality of Facebook. And even if it did, the very definition of social means that it contains people that use it. No matter how much Facebook frustrates me, it still houses most of the people I would consider interacting with in person. And getting people to switch is borderline impossible. However, Buzz’s tight integration with Gmail works in its favor and I’m already seeing significant activity there. At least from people that have a Google account.
And so my dream, although far-fetched, of only managing one social network instead of a gazillion lives on. For now.