AFTER READING ADRIAN WECKLER in the Sunday Business Post (at left) ruminate about the echo chamber he found in Google Plus, I realised his perspective is numbers-based, not diversity-aware. And that's just fine.
It really doesn't matter if a boatload of friends swim alongside your presence inside Google Plus. If you play social networking like an extension of a real-life social circle, you need to extend where you hang out in real life. So if you get info about pub crawls from Foursquare check-ins, stick with that. If the news you use crests on Twitter, don't abandon that. If your family exchanges images you cherish on Facebook, why walk away from something that works? So many valid social networks exist today and each has strengths of purpose. You risk information fatigue if you're a mere joiner.
However, you might find something really interesting if you spend time to poke around and engage with the G+ flow that extends beyond the names and faces you already know in other places.
I have fewer "real life" friends on Google Plus than on Twitter. Only a handful of people I know on Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare and Twitter have waded ashore on Google Plus. But I connected--and interacted--with more people on Google Plus during its first three months than during my first three years on Twitter. And this pattern of increased connectivity is continuing.
The biggest value of Google Plus is discovery. The search function inside G+ has helped me write third level course material as fast as using the main Google search facility. Perhaps that's Adrian's point--why change?
I have changed how I extract info online because I have discovered value lies in serendipity. I've stumbled upon hundreds of interesting people by following threads of conversation on G+ and a lot of those interesting people emerged in comments attached to photos uploaded to G+.
There are other features inside G+ that may cause me to continue the shared circle I developed with Catherine Cronin. Students from Limerick and Galway meet inside that circle and share ideas asynchronously between two campuses located 150 miles apart. The exercise showed the power of collaboration and the limitations of virtual space.
I'm on for the long haul with G+ and know that if and when I continue integrating G+ into our third level module, it may not be as fun as Facebook or as easy-flowing as Twitter. However, the granular privacy controls of G+ eliminate one of the recurring complaints some students make about sharing information online. I'm tasked with educating students to live and work in an effective Knowledge Society. From my few short months working with Google Circles, Hangouts and shared video clips inside Google Plus, I think there's a lot of value in Google's newest social network.
The screenshot comes from the Business Post iOS app that I pay to use.
I am http://gplus.to/topgold if you want to look for yourself.
Catherine Cronin -- Students, peer learning and Google+ on her blog, November 4, 2011.