Please don’t get Grandma on Google+

Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming against the tide.

Google+ is a fantastic platform for discovering new connections based on quality shared content. I have around 3,000 people in my Google+ circles, and around 2,000 people have me in theirs. I’ve no real idea how these numbers compare with other people (other than I know there are celebs who are in 1 million+ circles) – I feel no pressure to ‘work the numbers’. My following, and the list of those I follow, is growing slowly as I discover people whose content I want to read, and they discover me.

Isn’t that how it’s meant to work? Organic growth based on shared interests.

Why, then, do we read all the time, people moaning that they’re trying as hard as they can to move their group of Facebook friends onto Google+? Unless their group of friends is vastly different to the average, they’ll be made up of a small-ish number of ‘real’ friends, lots of half-acquaintances and distant relatives, and the occasional ex-partner. Each of these people generates a lot of self-centred content every day, which nobody else reallywants to read. But having it there is part of the deal if you want someone to be your ‘friend’, and to have them in the audience for your own self-centred content.

That model simply doesn’t work on Google+. If the only reason you’re there is because you need to keep up with the daily lives of other people who are there – don’t. Facebook is a much better place for that – stay where you are. If your friends are all on Facebook – go there to interact with them. Keep Google+ for the people you really want to interact with.

What would we do without our smartphones?

In a few short years, smartphones have become both ubiquitous and indispensable. What on earth would we do without them?

Firstly, we’d be carrying a lot of clutter around with us. Filofax, business card holder, memo pad – all of these have mostly died out in favour of calendar and contact apps that come as standard on all smartphones now, with cloud syncing as part of the deal.

We’d be harder to get hold of. My phone has three different alert tones to tell me if there’s an SMS, an email or a social network update waiting for me. It’s torture having to ignore any of those for more than a few minutes. Our contacts expect real-time responses from us whatever the time of day or night. Gone are the days when you could simply unplug your landline phone and be disconnected from the world for a few hours.

We’d get lost more. Anyone remember calling a company you were due to visit and asking them to fax you driving directions? Everyone’s phone has GPS, road maps and turn-by-turn directions built-in now. Who buys paper road maps any more?

But we’d also interact with the people around us more. How often do you see couples or groups of people in a restaurant, all crouched over their phones communicating with people the world over instead of the ones they’re actually sitting with? I’m guilty of that.

There are times when you simply need to put the damn thing down and enjoy that other sort of face time – one-to-one with the person you’re next to.