The Medium Isn’t Built for It – Google Plus Blogging Failure

Blogs are islands

Blogging and Not Blogging

It has been just about a year and a half since I began my blogging-on-Google-Plus experiment in outright earnest, leaving behind the sketch pad that is this blog and throwing myself into a Social Media future. As you might be able to tell from this blog I was never after “traffic” in the first place, or even “follows”, I just wanted a place where ideas could be ferreted out, and then hopefully discussed in the comments below. I’m very interested in pushing the envelop of what is conceptually possible in social media, and new tools are definitely part of the equation. I thought that the clever amalgam of Twitter, blogging and Facebook features that are somewhat absurdly (at least over-positively) expressed by Mike Elgan in the image below…


…would somehow carry blogging to a new place. The truth of the matter is that Google Plus is none of those things that Mike Elgan says it is the equivalent of. It’s a completely different platform with its unique strengths and perhaps even more importantly, weaknesses. But most particularly right now, it is not a blog.

I’ve had a great many idea exchanges on Google Plus in my more than a year and a half there, and I’ll definitely remain there. But there is something to the Google Plus interface – perhaps it is its reliance on and an architecture built around a “stream”, perhaps it is because no comment has a permalink, and cannot be easily shared so there is no silent “listening in” by interested others, perhaps it is because posts themselves just wash away and very smart people just end up reiterating themselves instead of building on what they wrote previously, like a vast prayer wheel – there is something about Google Plus that is just not additive. Blocks (ideas, concepts, dialogues) just do not “stack” there, and as far as I can tell they don’t work deeply into concrete details, or propagate in rich variations. None of the things that I love about thinking and investigating happens there. Links aren’t really read, buzzwords buzz more like flies than like bees, and images saturate in a bombardment. The new layout didn’t help matters – I know why they did it – but it has been the case nearly from the start. This is not even to go into the inability for Google Plus to address all the other reasons a person might want to blog like SEO, brand discovery, domain authority, things I’m not interested in for my person. I should have much more to write about the Google Plus design weaknesses in the near future, I’ve thought a lot about why it just isn’t cutting the right swathe of cloth. But for now…

Blogs are digital islands, like coral atolls built up over 1,000s of years (words, titles, comments), they are archipelagos of digital life.

When I stopped blogging I also stopped most of my Twitter visits as well. I had a very nice community of thinkers and conversations going on in Twitter which I deeply enjoyed, and initially my hope was that the speed of Twitter and the richness dynamism of Google Plus would make a perfect pairing. But cross-posting was a pain, unwanted by many, and while in the first months I was able to transfer some of my Twitter community over to Google Plus and get more lengthy commentaries going, in the end it proved a drain. Twitter at the time was also under the assail of Triberr and other link spamming reach techniques as the Age of social media top 10 advice had come, it just seemed better to dive into Google Plus. Now that I have returned to Twitter I find it a link Land, perhaps the link Land I feared it would be, though already I’ve found some fast, informative conversations (one leading to the writers’s software Srivener that may just change my and my wife’s life – ty Brian Meeks & Rabab Khan) that simply could not happen on any other platform on the planet.

So this post is just to re-announce the opening up this concept space again. I just need it. I’m reading a fascinating book “Reading in the Brain” which I believe gives key insights on how the visual brain digests written material which may prove important for digital designs. That should be something worth sketching out. It may well be that I should take this blogging seriously enough so as to get my own domain, it always before seemed like just a private investigative thought corner, but perhaps things have changed.

I still direct social media for Tonner Doll though I am doing so from Thailand having moved here so my wife Sylvie could pursue her art to the nth degree. It is a superlative perspective on social media, as I am strategically engaged, though often I am operating at “off” hours from the west. It has given me a unique perch.


5 thoughts on “The Medium Isn’t Built for It – Google Plus Blogging Failure

  1. Welcome back to blog-land. 😀

    I’ll say i find G+ just too prone to spam and stupid guys looking for girls. All my meaningful posts get is “Hey, here’s my number…” So I’ve stuck to my blog instead of moving over to G+.

    And thanks for the mention. I hope you’re enjoying Scrivener.

    • Yeah Rabab, you’ve had an uphill struggle. I’m very happy for my experiment which was mostly possible because my blog was a semi-public sketch space. I was just moving my thinking process around a bit. I’m just a little disappointed that G+ didn’t show more, I don’t know, substance. And the direction they are moving in seems to be more towards the same…something like Tumblr-lite + instagram, maybe?

    • Hey Thanks Stan! Good to hear from you too. Checking the article now. Miss the co-brain storming on Gift Economy, some of my favorite Social Media thinking done via this blog.

    • (after the read Stan.) I like the basic lay-down of principles, but the post still reads a little like a “How to Market Yourself” help post to my ear.

      I think what happened is that the Gift Economy of Social Media got a little distorted when a class of people – Social Media Pros – realized that raising one’s status was super important in a field that lacked definition and measurables. Somehow a discourse developed in this class where “gifts” of status raising became the preoccupation, links, RTs, back-patting were recycled back and forth raising the mutual status of all, but all the while creating a kind economy bubble (that isn’t going to pop anytime soon). Now this class of advice-givers have a discourse, a way of pushing top 10 ways before our digital eyes, and habits (techniques, tools, customs) of gift passing that may really have distorted what Gift Economy might have meant to Social Media. They have become the Master gift-givers to their own kind, and in so doing pulled larger focus away from more substantive gifting (perhaps), the way in which Gift Economy forces a decentering.

      Anecdotally, I’m a little surprised to see so little conversation on Twitter now, and so many links upon links upon links.

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