Review of Google+ posts

Thought it about time I got together a few links relating to Google+

I like reading O’Reilly Radar – posts here have a modicum of authority. They’re written well and don’t suffer from tech media hyperbole. So the post “Google+ is the social backbone” is worth reading; it highlights the fact that the Google+ will not be a walled garden, it trumpets the need for Google to champion “openness” more than it already does and declares the need for the G+ API (now being rolled-out). It clearly states that facebook does not have the platform, infrastructure or desire to provide a social backbone.

Mashable and Pete Cashmore is always a good resource for Tech Media stories. It tends to be more reasonable in its approach to technology developments and is never scared to go back and review its posts. Their 40 Essential Google+ Resources is an early list to take a look at. I’m waiting awhile before I start changing the ‘vanilla’ G+ extension (as I’ve written in a G+ post) but with the API now launched I look forward to increasingly better (and safer) ways of integrating my social networks.

I encountered Luis Suarez during my encounter with IBM software, he’s a refreshing antedote to the Lotus Notes fraternity I always felt. He’s a passionate advocate for social software and the use of collaboration tools. So when he says that Google+ could be a threat to email – I’m all ears. This is what I immediately thought, and nothing has happened since to change my views. It’s not only a threat but actually facilitates the transition to social software by allowing easy out-posting from the social software environment to email – it’s sort of a transition by stealth. There’s more to this post than just this however, you should read it all to see a strategic framework for social software emerging. It complements the O’Reily Radar post very nicely.

You’re interested in Privacy and Information Control of course, here is the guide that takes you through how to post, how to construct Circles and what to watch out for. It also covers the features to prevent re-sharing of posts thus preventing leakage outside the Circle you posted to as well as a few tips as to how you should set your Profile page up.

Two posts that challenge the new orthodoxy of using real names on Google+ and Facebook comes from Danah Boyd and Alexis Madrigal. These are both interesting points and I have a lot of time for the idea that, for some people, there are strong reasons for protecting your real identity online. I’m neutral on this one. I’m happy using my real identity but of course I haven’t got a “Thought grazing” identity on Google+. In one sense this doesn’t matter as I can use Circles appropriately and if necessary, and in any case the context of the post in G+ is much easier to explain when you don’t have a 140 character limit to restrict you. I just love the work @amcunningham has done on Privacy and Identity in the Medical Profession and the whole area of context, professionalism and identity is one that’s very close to my heart. However, perhaps being close to Higher Education is a privilidged position to be in. There is a need for whistle blowers and of course activists who would otherwise be persecuted, so a Real Names Policy does need to be tempered by a dose of reality and public interest as well.

The next one is a post from Tom Anderson (founder of MySpace). He writes “How Google+ will succeed and why you’ll use it whether you want to or not“. There’s so much in this post but the one I’ll concentrate on is that he reminds us that Google own Search, they have arguably the best email platform in the cloud, they own a decent (though not the best) blogging platform – blogger, and then of course there’s YouTube and Picasa Web. With so much integration possible, with the much heralded integration with Google Apps (and Google+ for the Enterprise) to come, this platform is going to succeed. You just know it is, even though you were puzzled about Wave and Buzz.

Finally, and now in G+ I find a platform that allows me to read his work and comment upon it occasionally as I have with Paul Allen as well, I come to Robert Scoble. He’s always been on my Google Reader Feeds, but did I get round to reading what he wrote? Unfortunately not. Now I find someone who’s actively and entusiastically moving, shaping and forming a community of users and it’s just great to read what he writes as well as the comments that follow. He’s said that he never got so much worthwhile inter-action with his traditional blogging, or with twitter, and I can agree with that. You use G+ to work up ideas and then do the blog post, or whatever. In “Help, I’ve fallen into a pit of steaming Google+ (what that means for tech blogging)” he describes (eclectically) why he’s in love with Google+. I must say I share a lot of his feelings. Google+ is definitely the best thing that’s happened to social networking yet!

[However he’s not totally blind to the issues relating to content being held by Google – a very recent post (after I’d completed and published this by about 10mins) is interesting in that it foresees the need for legislation to control Google at some time in the future.]

For the future, I wait for diaspora and see what that will bring. I’m promised an invitation in October … I’ll give you my thoughts on it as soon as I can! [UPDATE: Thanks @m1ke_ellis – will be investigating later but like the open source credentials.]

Context and language is everything

[Originally posted on “MWE Social Media” on 8th February, 2009]

Some colleagues of mine who keep an eye on what I’m up to on twitter, observed that through ‘Lofty Thoughts‘ I had announced the appearance of CardiffBlogs. They made some observations on the use of a corporate blogging platform, some of which I responded to. Nicky Morland from Anglia Ruskin University made the astute comment that the variety of socialmedia (or social networking) tools could be confusing to users – something I’d already hinted at in an earlier posting on this blog. I offered to write another post detailing my ideas on the subject. This is it.

It is a subject I’ve blogged on several times on my personal blog ‘Just thoughts …‘, and I believe it’s one of the most important areas that potential bloggers should be conscious of. In several posts I developed my thoughts, and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll re-iterate them here.

The first and probably most important consideration is whether socialmedia is for you. In the case of blogging, you have to consider what you want a blog for, and having decided that it’s something you want to do, for whatever reason, you then need to choose the most appropriate hosting for the blog – corporate or commercial platform, and whether you want to keep it private or make it public. In the post ‘Do I blog … or do I not?‘, I try and address that issue and suggest that this decision is of considerable importance because the context then directs the style of writing, the language that you use and the type of message that you communicate. For instance, on my private personal blog, which is restricted to my family alone, I’ve just recorded the number and types of birds in the garden and the state of our goldfish in the pond! This is of no interest to the world at large I suspect, but as a record, or journal entry, for me (and to assist my abysmal memory) and for the family as almost a shared letter – it may have some value. On my personal blog, I’ve just posted some observations on leadership that I recorded from a UCISA Directors’ Forum I had attended. I’ve already referred to my personal professional blog, and over time I’ll use this to record events, observations about Information Services (INSRV), the university and my inter-actions with other colleagues in other universities that might be of interest to colleagues both inside and outside INSRV and Cardiff University. It’ll essentially be a record of my work for INSRV.

For institutions, they need to make a call as to whether they decide to host the corporate blog themselves, or not. In ‘where do you blog‘, I discussed some of the issues that need to be considered by an organisation before they decide to host their own blogging platform. Brian Kelly makes some interesting comments on the subject as well.

The third issue is the connection between the author and their credibility; the authority of their pronouncements. The Web 2.0 world has created an environment where everyone is potentially an author and publisher. What I write on my personal blog is just that – personal; it doesn’t pretend to be the view of an Assistant Director of Information Services, and my references to INSRV or Cardiff are tangential and very occasional. So therefore the issue of Identity and Credibility is of interest because essentially in social networking you gain credibility from the people that look at, or comment upon, your blog posts, follow you on twitter, or whatever.By your followers – you are known.

Finally, in another post I comment upon the ephemeral nature of socialmedia environments. If you’ve got something important to say – be very aware that socialmedia is not the place to write it for posterity. Also the choice of socialmedia is important and is intrinsically linked to the type of message that you want to promulgate. Surrounded by choice, the toolset you use for the message you want to convey, must be chosen with considerable care.