I love the idea of social networks, but I hate the ubiquity of Facebook. I find it to be something of a cultural cesspool. It really is filled with some scuzzy characters. Plus, making a marketing profile from a persons entire life is a little creepy.
Google however, I trust. For a company that has the Entire Information of The World backed up in a shady secret server bunker, plus access to millions of folks mobile phones everyday, I find them oddly trustworthy. We call it Skynet as a term of endearment, right?
[– Note — This has sent me spiralling over how much we buy… OK, I buy from Amazon. I have no idea who this company is or how it operates, and as somebody who at least pretends to care about who I contribute funds to I should probably look into it. I hope they are all ethical. Ignorance is bliss.]
So when Google finally announces its beta phase for a new Social Networking platform, I get all excited, wrangle an invite from a kindly Twitter person, and set up my profile.
I’m keeping my expectations low. I’m not really sure whats going on with Diaspora, but they talked a good game. Momentum is everything though, and I feel they may have missed their shot after a run of negative press stories relating to Zuckerberg’s Evil Empire attracted attention to their start-up.
Why am I holding out for a knight in shining armour in the world of social media? It’s simple.
Facebook has tentacles that reach far and wide throughout the internet. Every web presence has a page, and uses the good old Like button to help generate more hits. In its simplest terms, it’s a good thing: It can represent the democratic process of the web, in which the readers and user bases elevate what they consider to be important to the top, to share it with their friends in a personal manner much like the recommendation of a good book or show. We can pass on the information we choose, to who we want to share with, minus the gatekeeping antics of large corporations.
Twitter is a great tool for sharing, in fact it’s probably my favourite thing ever since I first used the internet. I don’t have to worry about what Twitter does to my information as I can give it as little or as much as I like. The problem I have with Facebook is that it has become what feels like the only real portal on the web. Is Facebook a place to go on the web, or is the web now just a plugin for Facebook?
I also worry about the people who I interact with on Facebook – I might have the most paranoid attitude to security and keeping important data to myself, but less… sensible folk who feel the internet is still just a shiny bundle of love made up of cables and angel hair might unwittingly transmit all kinds of things about the people around them. The platforms popularity, plus its naive and yes “noobish” user base makes it a real turn off.
I want a de-centralized social networking and information sharing facility that lets me take control of what I do online, and not have to worry about irksome nobodies from my school days showing up asking to be friends, and acting like I slapped their first-born when I decline. Something that’s for me, and the type of people I want to associate with.
Y’know. How the internet used to be.
I doubt Google+ will be what I’m looking for. After all, it too is a giant company, one that isn’t too friendly with some of its business practices. There has also been talk of Google+ featuring a similar rule to Facebook regarding ownership of images and material uploaded to the service (as in, you don’t own it anymore).
So, unless Diaspora or some similar plucky upstart actually manages to get out of the gate, all I can say is c’mon Skynet. Get this one right.