Today was a total day of vegetation. Why? Because I received a Google+ invite from my friend. Oh why oh why? Do I really want one more thing to keep up with? I first checked it out with the intention of just looking around and seeing what the hype was about. Little did I know, I was now on a fast train of wanting to invite as many people I knew so that I could really test run the benefits of this new social media platform. So what is the hype about? I don’t think most of us will truly understand until/unless we all start joining the bandwagon and creating an account. I’m still trying to navigate it, but one of the most valuable tools I see is that you can create “circles” of friends. Thus, you can create closed circles where you let only those circles see certain status updates, etc. As an educator, I first thought of this as a great way to work with collaborative groups in the classroom. Personally, it is a great way to manage what you want to say and what you want to see/hear. There are also “hangout” options where you can select some of your “friends” to join a video chat room of some sort. I haven’t tried it yet, but sounds useful. I wonder how this competes with FB’s recent announcement of video chat. Another feature is the +1 option, which is similar to the “Tweet” and “Like” buttons for Twitter and Facebook. It’s another quick way to disseminate info you are interested in to your network-fast. There are also Sparks which allow you to bring in a feed of information that you are interested in. I wonder how the feed is pulled because if you type a topic to create a Spark for, it provides some decent information…muct better than just a typical Google search.
One thing I’m very cautious about is the security levels. You can select which circles can see which content. But I didn’t see a direct “control panel” where I could limit to how public my profile and its contents could be.
Regardless, I already feel more open to using this as a social networking site for not just my friends, but colleagues, Twitter friends, aquaintances, PLN. I pretty much like to keep my FB account private to my closest friends (although there are hundreds of them!). If you are interested in learning more tricks to using Google+, this is a great article from Webtrickz.com: 25 Google+ Tips to Enhance your Google Plus Experience.
So I ended my day with a major headache from being on the computer all day. My poor kids had to stay in the house all day. I do have to say that it was pouring rain all day long outside and I started the day not feeling well. So I can’t blame everything on Google+!
Lesson Learned: Social media can be a double-edged sword. While you are getting connected to others in a virtual reality, recognize you are disconnected to the live beings that are standing right beside you. Find the balance.