Hopping on for a Google + ride can be a roller-coaster thrill or a Ferris wheel experience. For me. it’s the latter. I believe viewing the platform in the light of the Slow Web is a wise start.
For three reasons.
- Relationships that matter have nothing to do with the quick rotating mass of social media feeds
- The poiesis of relationships is about processes, perspectives and paradigms exchange
- Interconnectedness within is as important.
The Slow Web (slow and easy version)
As its name suggests, the Slow Web is about enough processing time, by contrast of the practice of “being first and fast and superficial” [cit. The Slow Web (plus: the modern experience of film-watching, one of the first texts where the concept was mentioned]
Mindful engaging, attention and a healthy connection with technology are among the experiences that feed the concept of the Slow Web. The Slow Web Movement started out as a vague idea, as Walter Chen, the co-founder and CEO of iDoneThis, explains. It all began as a joke and then evolved into a sui generis manifesto:
- Value, not addiction
- Prioritization and pruning, not speed
- Do things and tell people, don’t just do things
- Deduction, not induction
- Behavior change, not growth
- Measured, not frantic
- Friendship, not networking
Fast Web is destination-based. Slow Web is interaction-based, points out Jack Cheng in Essays The Slow Web. As opposed to Fast Web, the Slow Web is about alleviating the pressures we put on ourselves “to clear every notification, empty every inbox, or reply to every @mention” [cit. The Slow Web Movement].
The Slow Web is about timeliness, not real time: about getting nudges or texts or interesting articles at the appropriate time
writes Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in Jack Cheng in his post Slow Web: “Timely not real-time. Rhythm not random. Moderation not excess. Knowledge not information.”
I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one,
Mahatma Ghandi is reported to have said.
Google + and the live in it
A Google + experience can be only as good as the amount of time and thought devoted to assimilating, reflecting on and engaging with the streams of data flowing across the platform.
It could well be argued that there is only one person who can handle 1000 + mentions, 1000 plus ones and reshares a day, with grace, integrity and a smile, staying sane all the way to the very last notification. This person’s name is David Amerland (link to my interview with him). For those who are new to Google Plus David Amerland, to refer to one of his many facets, is the person whose personal decision and challenge was to respond to most, if not every, post that required his attention (check his article: HOW I USE GOOGLE+)
How do you do that like him?
Do something else. Take some time thinking about being you, as “everyone else is already taken.”
Of course, you can try to emulate various practices, follow certain tactics and make use of numerous tips, yet, before that, what you have to do is find your own pace and thus the meanders that will lead you to the thing you are looking for (be it personal branding, networking, audience engagement, joy etc.)
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s quote “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” may hold true for any endeavor. Here, I will use it as a springboard to sketch what I see as the most important first step when approaching Google + is:
For a more analytical account of Google + and sound advice on getting and being present on the platform effectively, check out David Amerland’s book: SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Optimization Steps That Will Help Your Business Grow, specifically Chapter #1 to # 4.
Balance between being and plussing
Nobody can teach you how to live your life, although many would try. Similarly, the rhythm of your Google + presence is something for you to feel and adjust.
In a talk about Knowledge Information, inner peace and intelligence with Eckhart Tolle, Bradley Horowitz, the Vice President of Product management for Google+, says:
The product I work on, that is Google +, allows me to not only examine the contents of my own mind, but the contents of other people’s minds in a flood of stream coming at me
[cit. 27 min]
True. Google + is really a bliss for everyone who wants to explore their topics of interest, connect with like-minded people and engage in thoughtful discussions. The architecture of the platform allows for asynchronous, yet non-interrupted communication. It is a tool and a place at the same time that can be used and inhabited moderately and with a sense of inner awareness. It does have all the prerequisites you need to communicate mindfully.
Mindful and smart use of the technologies as an opportunity, rather than as a burden, means choosing to dive whenever you have the time and energy to so. It also means not sliding over the surface (while, in fact, drowning in too much information) of the raw, unfiltered, unprocessed ocean of noise, adding ripples of meaningless signals to it.
Set aside time for reflecting, contemplating, participating. The power of Google + is not the power of fast, exhausting, energy-sucking “real time communication”. It lies in the platform’s open doors for deeper understanding of connections and the role of social interactions.
No need for speed
Google + is about the view and the many vantage points that being on the platform gives you. Get your goal right, think what you want from your presence and what you can give. Don’t hurry, think and take your time. Wisely build relationships and reinforce the ones you cherish most.
Something I like to imagine about Google +
A social layer of Google, Google + has its many many layers itself, one of which I see as a Ferris Wheel. The cabins of the wheel are the G + communities, the private hangouts, the commentaries under the posts, and its spokes are the G+ connections themselves.
The Google + experience is a slow (optionally) and joyful ride, chatting in the cabins. Information and knowledge exchange is not limited to the passenger cars only, signals also travel all across the wheel spokes, allowing for interconnectedness on many levels.
What’s in the center? Both you and everyone else. Revolving.
Enjoy the ride!