Sunday, July 17, 2011

Twitter and Google Plus: Shouting out to (or over) the crowd

As much as I love being on Twitter and the feeling it gives me of being able to connect to others who share my interests, sometimes it feels a bit like an exercise in futility. I don't say much; I'm a man of few words (except on paper, or screen), so when I do have something to say I like it to count. I extend the same courtesy to others, even fretting that I can't see everything being said by the people I follow. I worry when the people who follow me are streaming the tweets of a thousand other tweeps as well. Do my words get heeded when, mere seconds after posting them, they're already lost in the barrage of 140-character quips and quotes?

It makes me wonder if anyone is even listening anymore, if we're all just shouting into the chaos, hoping to be heard above the din. I know I'm not the only one who thinks this. I've been told by many others that to be heard, you have to shout louder and more often.

I've been on Google+ now for a week and so far I like it better, in part because it's still new and there are a lot fewer people on it. Even so, it's a definite improvement over Twitter. I like how you can share more and your followers can comment directly within the stream of the post. It's much more...responsive. I feel like I can actually catch my breath, comment, and people will actually see what I've said. For now. But the "crowd noise" is eventually going to take over like it did on Twitter. Already I can see it happening. We're flooding the world with our thought pollution, saying everything that's on our minds with little consideration to self-censorship.

What's the remedy? I don't know. It's not more shouting, though. It's not more spewage.

I think maybe it's saying something that people want to heed. If you say something of importance, it will find its audience. Your words will cut through the fray.

At least, I hope they will.


  1. I haven't checked out Google+. Right now I'm not sure how it's different than Facebooks. I'm part of several writers' groups on Facebook and I'm wondering how the circles on Google+ are any different. Maybe it's kind of like how Facebook took over MySpace. Will Google+ become the new Facebook?

  2. Actually, it's me; For some reason, Blogger's not letting me post as myself.

    Hi Kelly. Thanks for following. I'm not a FB fan and don't use it, so I'm not qualified to make a comparison based on strengths and weaknesses of either service. According to users of both, G+ feels cleaner and easier, is less bogged down and has a more professional air about it (ie., the posts tend to be focused more professional networking type discussions). Putting people you follow into circles allows you to follow certain discussions (much like you can do with lists in Twitter), but you can also direct your own posts to those people by limiting the circles that receive your posts. You can also put people into multiple circles, so if a peorson you follow is both an illustrator and a writer, you can have circles for each of those foci.

    As far as G+ becoming the FB, I doubt it. FB is more social (so far) and will likely remain known for that. G+ seems (at least with how I use it) to be more professionally oriented, like if you crossed LinkedIn, Twitter and FB.

    If you use FB and Twitter for networking with the writing community, you might want to check it out (right now, you need a gmail account and have to be invited to start during this debugging/eval stage; otherwise you'll have to wait until they open it up).

  3. I'm loving Google+ for all the reasons you mentioned. I like that I can post writing type stuff ONLY to writing people, and personal stuff ONLY to non-writing friends. Technically I suppose you could do that on FB, but the steps are so tedious, there's no point. And there is not a good way to separate what you see from others on FB. It makes me feel limited in posting writing stuff, but for me FB was first and foremost a way to connect with friends and family, since I live so far away from both. I didn't start using it for writing stuff until recently, so I don't want to inundate them with my writing posts! On G+ I don't have to. And I can shut off posts and shuffle between circles I don't want to see constantly. I think it is just wonderful.

    Twitter, not so much. Granted I'm still a newbie to Twitter, but so far, I can't stand it. I honestly feel like I'm standing in a crowded room of people shouting things about themselves but no one is listening to each other, even in the groups. The conversations go by so fast, I don't feel like jumping in. I usually post a few links to my blog posts a couple of times a day, retweet interesting links I can actually catch, and leave it at that.

    I much prefer G+. I don't think it will get the crowd noise Twitter has because the user has so much more control over it and it's so much more interactive. I'll keep my FB and Twitter, but I have high hopes that Google+ will my main writing social hub.

  4. Well said, Deri. Although Twitter allows you to follow specific lists of people, it doesn't allow you to control who gets to see your posts. With circles, you can do just that.

    Thanks for stopping by the RoadTrip.