What Google+ is and will become, remains largely speculative. There’s a lot of missing features and functions that need to be addressed. And for some of us, there are a number of arising questions, such as: What does it mean to add another stream of information to my busy life? In it’s early iteration though, I am enjoying the liminal space that Google+ is currently inhabiting.
As I have discussed on Google+, the platform sits somewhere between ‘social network’ and ‘blog’. It is this that I have found so gratifying during my early use of it.
Twitter has become fundamental in helping me to develop as an educator; engaging me with other educators, ideas and tools that I may not have come across so easily. However, my one grievance with the platform has been the 140 character limitation. I understand, that this very feature of Twitter is the fundamental principal on which the platform was built. Nevertheless, I feel inhibited by it, particularly in those moments where you are involved in a detailed discussion and need to express yourself more fully.
This blog on the other hand, clearly offers me greater freedom to write, reflect and explore topics in greater detail generating discussion in the comments. However, I am quite the perfectionist and it has become the pattern that blog posts tend to gestate and evolve over time so the opportunities for these more meaningful discussions become dispersed. Additionally, I have not mastered the art of the short blog post. It is something I struggle with; yet I know that long tomes are not always conducive to driving readers towards your blog.
My approach to my blog and the limitations I feel are self-created: I have (IMO) spent a little too much time, cultivating the image of the blog, increasing its importance and value in my mind… therefore I find it difficult to square away the idea that I could publish concise, punchy blog posts.
Google+ on the other hand does not have the limitations of Twitter or a Blog. Firstly, there is no character limit. As such I can write more than a tweet. This does not mean that I have found myself writing massively long posts. Due to the social nature of the platform, I do not feel compelled to do so. What’s more, the ensuing discussion becomes more detailed and involving, and as such, arguably, more meaningful. Something, which many blogger crave to achieve.
Secondly, as it is new and not yet fully formed, it also free of many limitations usually found within social networks. Unlike Twitter, Google+ has no set rules, be they self-imposed or community created.
Thirdly, Google+ is not as formalised as a blog can be. Writing feels very natural; sharing thoughts and ideas with links and images, free from constraints.
My response to Google+ is highly idiosyncratic but nevertheless I believe there is something valuable about the in-between space that the platform currently inhabits. Hovering between blog and social network, Google+ is something else entirely. While it remains undefined it will I believe continue to hold an appeal for me… a space for connecting, writing and sharing ideas. Whether, this continues to be the case as the platform grows and evolves, I will just have to wait and see.
What I would like, is to feel the same way about writing here on my blog. The question I’m left pondering then, is this: How do I quell the perfectionist inside and establish the same liminality on my blog?
Image courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.