Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why I Share

Hello all,

For those of you who don't know, I'm a pretty prolific reader of the Internet. I tend to read an average of ~100 or so pieces of writing on a given day. Most of this is articles which are a few hundred words, but often I will find longer essays of a few thousand words, and I do enjoy reading books, although I have much less time and patience for those as I used to (although I will always enjoy Dan Brown). Sometimes the things I read on the Internet aren't actually stories, but also video (I subscribe to some really cool YouTube channels (here)).

Because of the vastness of the Internet, and my own relative insignificance, when I see or read something cool on the Internet, I always think about whether there is anybody I know who would really find this interesting. In most cases, where I share to takes me asking a couple of different questions:

1. How important is it that people see what I'm posting?
2. Is what I'm sharing timely such that I would prefer it be seen right now, at the risk of it becoming irrelevant?
3. How am I connected to the Internet, and what is the easiest way to share on that medium?
4. Do I want this to be a 1 on 1 share; something that I specifically want one person to see? Is it something I want all of my friends to see, perhaps share only with a specific group of people, or maybe something that I want to share with the whole world? Alternately, is it just something personal that I am just trying to put out there to as many people as possible, like my blog posts?

My social interaction is not limited to a single network of people, nor is it limited to a single website/service. The services I use, ranked in how frequently I use them:

a. Google
b. Facebook
c. Twitter
d. Tumblr

I would say this is the large majority of sites I use to share things, although I have many other sources and sites where I find stories. You will notice that Google is at the top of my list, sorted by frequency. Though long-time readers will know that I have a special fondness for Google+, that actually is not the reason I put Google at the top of my list.

Essentially, Google is up there because I use a variety of their products. Between Blogger, YouTube, Google+, Google Drive, Gmail, etc., I am almost constantly using at least one Google product. While their products don't tie together perfectly, I am convinced it's on the way.

Google+ isn't a perfect product for many people, primarily because of a stigma associated with using it as a social network. For me, it's not so much a social network as it is a social aspect of Google. While social networks such as Facebook will come and go (search "Facebook Not Cool" for a view of that), I will undoubtedly continue to use Google services for a long time, simply because they work the best for me. Already, as I find my Facebook use declining, I am pushed towards other networks which are more than just old and soon-to-be-old friends. I already talk to my friends as much as I want to, and when I do that, I have mostly moved to Facebook Groups, if I'm communicating with people who are stuck on Facebook.

I like to keep Tweets for short thoughts or 1-on-1 sharing of interesting stories, for people I know who use it.

Tumblr is reserved for something that is a wider audience than Facebook or Twitter, but isn't quite meaty enough for a full blog post. It happens less frequently than I'd like, the Tumbling does...

All of this to say, writing off Google+ (or other social networks) because it's not good, or because it's not Facebook, is naive at best, and at worst, just ignorant. You're missing out!

I will certainly keep sharing things, but if you don't see them on Facebook, don't be offended, but you're probably not my target audience.