Friday, July 15, 2011

The problem with Facebook

This is a long presentation, but one of the best I've ever seen.  It nails the real problem with Facebook, and gives a hint about what Google+ might be.

Via Isegoria, we don't often see something that so brilliantly cuts to the heart of a problem:

A few years ago, before the CEO cared a whit about social networking or identity, a Google User Experience researcher named Paul Adams created a slide deck called the Real Life Social Network. In a very long and well-illustrated talk, he makes the point that there is an impedence mismatch between what you share on facebook and your interactions in real life. So when you share a photo of yourself doing something crazy at a party, you don’t intend for your aunt and uncle, workmates or casual acquaintances to see it. But facebook does not do a good job of making this separation. This, in essence, is what the slide deck says and his point is made with great amounts of detail and insight.

So when Google began its social effort in earnest, the powers-that-be seized upon Paul’s research and came up with the Circles product. This was to be the core differentiator between Google+ (then codenamed Emerald Sea) and facebook.
Whether Google+ will actually do this well, or whether it will succeed in the marketplace, remains to be seen.


Sabra said...

Google+ circles = Facebook lists. In both cases, when you add a new contact, you are prompted to classify that person. Chief difference is, with FB sharing info is exclusionary; with G+ inclusive. Which is to say, on Facebook the default is to share everything with everyone. BUT, on G+, it seems that your last-used setting is the default. So it will be very easy still to accidentally overshare.

My chief complaint with G+ is that it does not seem possible to make everything private. There may be a way to hide my picture, for instance, but I can't figure it out. (I don't have it hidden on FB, but I know of several folks who do.) I am also not wild about the "following" aspect a la Twitter.

NotClauswitz said...

I knew a girl in College who had partitioned her life into different circles of relationships. Instead of having *Friends* in general she had specific ~friends~. Friends of ~this~ or of ~that~, and friends of ~so-and-so~, and seldom did they actually overlap - and if you were one you weren't allowed to cross that bridge to be another.
Or so I was told when she declined to go to a movie with me - I wasn't a "movie friend." Maybe she was just trying to avoid me/let me down easy with a ridiculous shaggy-dog story/explanation.
I'm not ever going on Facebook so why succumb to Google when they're known voyeurs and perverts who spy on people?
The social web has been around since AOL and has as much relevancy, there's really nothing new about it or about attempting to exploit it.
Saying it's a "fundamental change in relationships" is just pretentious and self-important twaddle.