Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Addition

I'm usually not ahead of the curve. I tend to wait until the new version of something comes out, then I buy the old one. I got my first Dave Matthews CD when I was in college, even though "Crash" came out in 1996. I got a two-door Ford Explorer as my first car because a four-door was a few extra thousand dollars. And I just discovered button-down shirts come in other colors and styles than "blue".

Needless to say I err on the side of skepticism when bright, shiny new products hit the market with promises of faster, easier, better looking, and more trunk space. This shouldn't surprise you, you're talking to a guy who bought an SUV with only two doors. On purpose.

In other news, have you heard about this band "Savage Garden"? They're the next big thing in music.

While my Facebook friends and Twitter leaders (I suppose that's what you call people you follow on Twitter) rant and rave about how amazing Google Plus is and how the lack of it in your life makes you a far less superior technological being and renders your social life irrelevant, I pause to invoke the phrase about holding one's horses.

Google Plus, as I'm sure you've heard, is the thing that will make Facebook irrelevant. Just like Google Wave was going to make all other virtual meeting space irrelevant. Oh, you don't know what Google Wave is? er...was?

Here I am, a twenty-something who has been on the front edge of social networking his whole life, and I'm supposed to start Facebook all over again on Google? Except I'm also supposed to keep my Facebook? And now I'm supposed to post pictures, status thoughts, comments, etc on both? Why would I want to subject myself to this? For some circles?

Naturally, I signed up for Google Plus and added the application on my phone.

Now, me and my seven people in my "Friends" circle, (all fellow Fraternity alumni) can do pretty much what we do on Facebook. Without further ado, here's my cursory review of Google Addition:

AJ's Cursory Review of People Who Use Google Addition:

The following are people who loved Google Plus from its inception and will throw themselves fully onto it unabashedly with no regard for health or human life:

1. Trendsetters: You know these people. A strong desire to be on the front end of everything. They've already done research on when the iPhone 5 is coming out, and they have a pre-order on the Playstation 4. They brag about being the first people on MySpace, and the first people off MySpace.

They are caught in the allure of telling you they have something you don't. They monitor their Google Plus network of 10-20 and hail praises at the glorious footsteps upon the throne of thy most holy Google lords. "Google Plus is so simple! So organized! So easy to use! I don't have to filter through all the posts from other people! Just me and my other elite friends can share in this wondrous Internet world !"

If I run into these people I tell them Steve Jobs is on his hover-board down the street giving out iPad 3s. That usually gets rid of them for a few hours.

2. People who are Tired of their Facebook Page- "A chance to start over?! It's like going to college all over again! Sign me up!"  You've spent a lot of time on Facebook, adding people as friends you wish you didn't and now you get to be a new Google Plus person. Isn't this really what draws us to Google Plus? That it's new, different, made by someone we inherently trust and is, currently, exclusive? It gets less exciting when you realize all of that will come to an end soon.

Mild Tangent Alert: These people also might say, "My family and parents aren't on here so its waaayyy better!" Wait...didn't you accept their friend request? Didn't you allow them to see your statuses and pictures? I had my own mother blocked on Facebook for the past 4 years. My mother! And I love my mother! But my social life is my social life. She doesn't need to see me making poop jokes with my college friends.

And if Google Plus is as amazing as everyone is lauding it to be, your parents and family will make their way over. And they'll add you. And there will be nothing you can do about it.

3. Technology Snobs- Their war cry raves about, "Increased organization! Simplified design! It's not Facebook!" They're right you know...that obnoxious, and overbearing blue on the Facebook page was driving me nuts.

Here are my issues with Google Plus:

1. Everyone I Don't Want to Follow on Facebook is Currently on Google Plus: There's a reason my circles consisted of seven people, all Fraternity brothers. I just sifted through the "Recommended For You" people and it was all people I don't want to follow. And now, after the effort to find and add more people, I only increased to 18. I have a Twitter account for this reason. If I don't want to hear from you, I don't have to.

2. What Good are Circles...: If everyone I've added is going into my "Friends" circle? It's like buying a Garmin when your phone has a GPS. Why do I need something else to carry around all the time? My facebook phone works fine.

3. Starting from Ground Zero: I'll admit it is way easier to add people on Google Plus than on Facebook. In that the follow (or add) request doesn't have to be accepted which, I'm sure, won't cause any legal or privacy issues in the future. Now I have to start with 0 Friends or Followers, or whatever, all over again. I'm not sure I see the benefit....yet.

Don't you think that in a month or two Facebook will have replicated all of the things people like about Google Plus? Do you think they'll just roll over and die?

Look, I like Google. I'm on board, but before we all bow down and exalt the throne of Google Plus we'd better take a step back and understand that we only like what is new, flashy and not what we currently have.

That said, go get Google is pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why Do we Do What we Do?

Maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew. Maybe I'm feeling a bit existential. Maybe the NFL and NBA are in the middle of a lockout and there's no meaningful sports to turn my brain into a puree of hopeless speculation and meaningless statistics.

I think, though, that if you're reading this you are in a similar life position that I am, or at least you have been here before. Mid-late 20s, working or in grad school, and following the very specific and detailed life plan you made for yourself senior year of college and hitting every goal right on the head.

Or, maybe you're a real person and you took a job because it paid and you're working it until you figure out what you want your life to look like and what you really want to do with it.

Most of us are just biding our time. Hoping that life's answers will drop in front of our face like the life-saving oxygen mask in a crashing airplane. Only the mask hasn't come down, and the plane is starting to dive.

Stay with me here, I'm not saying we're young, stupid, and our lives are over because we listen to rap music. That's something my character Crotchety McFumblefart shouts from his doorstep while gripping his walker in my new TV series "Just the...Three of Us?"

What I am saying, is that we have a defining moment in front of us. If you're anything like me you assume when you graduate college you're supposed to do whatever you can to make the most money, have the most things, and make sure every single one of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know about it. This is the American Dream defined by 2011. Humbly shove your success in the face of those around you. Let people know you're popular, cool, and smart.

Instead of waiting for life to define itself for us (or living a life defined by the opinions of others), choose to create a situation where you define your life.

Determine what your gifts are. Define your dream job or situation. Establish strong and selfless reasons "why" you want to reach those goals. What do you want your life to be? How much thought have you actually given it?

I've decided one of my goals is to become a published author. That may take me 30 years, but I have made the decision. I believe in my ability to do that, or at least my ability to pour time and effort into making myself better.

You have to take the opportunity to choose what you want your life to be. Don't coast like everyone else.

A final thought: I think you'll find that determining intentionally selfless reasons why you want to achieve your goals is critical. For me, the idea of making the most money for the sake of having great wealth (or belongings) has always left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I don't believe we were put on this Earth to serve ourselves. Why else are there all these other people around us?