Google Plus vs Alannah Myles

Remember in the 1990s, when you wanted to sell a car? To put  the ad in the paper, you had to  wait for thier photographer (or stick with paying per word). Then you sat about for the weekend in case the phone rang while playing Sonic (also 20 years old). Your ad vanished by the following week and you’d go around again.

Now you can do all of it from your iPhone for a fraction of the effort and cost, to a much bigger audience. ICT has become for more than voice, text and images. Today it enables processes that once frustrated us. However for many kids in schools – they have no idea why each day is a 1992 simulator – they don’t remember it, it’s just suits teachers and administrators. In fact, when you really think about it, school is the worlds most elaborate dark ride – a perfect simulation of a world that no longer exists outside the themepark.

The latest, evolution attempt — Google Plus –represents something more than another way to connect (or avoid it). Those who have successfully crafted the art of building productive, meaningful and voluntary networks in the last five years on Twitter (first generation) are likely to see great value in Google Plus (second generation). Which is bad news for those who ignored it.

Twitter, the water-hole of digital-educators has never been an optimal solution for an educational discourse, suffering the fundamental problem that as a public proceedural discourse driven by persuasive rhetoric.

There’s no doubt Twitter enabled many teachers to connect,  share ideas and resources in ways that were not possible before. However, Twitter has not appeared attractive to all teachers, not least due to the amount of time, effort and literacies needed to decode the activities between the multiple interests of people using it. In short, for many it’s too fast, too vague and far too public and has a very low level of adoption as a primary educational source professional practice. As little as 1% of teachers use it in this way, and yet will own an iPhone or use social-media for their personal life.

Filtering Edu-PR and Edu-Spin (EduBaconism) from substance (as Judy O’Connell called it) is a skill to be learned, and it takes years not hours to craft. Twitter is too public to be an effective process network for most educators. The newcomers don’t see the depth and the experienced use spaces outside of Twitter to get ‘the work done’ like Diigo, Ning and Google’s other Apps.

Google Plus will be attractive to experienced network builders – seeking to extend social-connectivity to those who would never have used Twitter. However, most organisations don’t have network builders, they have workers.

I don’t see the classroom changing unless the simulation does. But outside of it, there will be a great deal of change.

Google Plus presents a watershed. It allows what was once publically created, to be more privately executed. What has already started to happen is Twitter connected networked-types to move their process networks to the layer that Google Plus is creating. They are already exploring the applications and inter-interoperability that comes with it.

If your network is about productive substance (not just PR and big-noting your consultancy), then Google Plus will allow it to get even more done, even faster. This will mean that Twitter will be used increasingly purely as an aquisition tool – to promote events (that are organised via a sub-layer), to pursuade people to join sets that will largely work below the public time line. I suspect the ‘good oil’ will now appear in more private discussions.

New arrivals can’t easily access second generation Google Plus, and Twitter will give them the impression it’s 2005 still – as those that scrape it for ‘business’ tend to orbit topics and rhetoric that they have learned are effective ways to make money of what I’ve heard called ‘low-hanging fruit’.

The smart-kids can now lead their communities into a new space that doesn’t have to be observed, criticised or leeched – but can still hit the public timeline when it suits them.

So we wave farewell to Captain Obvious,  those who have networks are now building below the waterline – and you are not invited. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Google intends, but if you are interested in ‘just’ building communities and getting work done – Google Plus will be far more appealing.

Of course what is really interesting, is not the social discourse features (Twitter vs Facebook), but the fact that Google has invested heavily in Gaming and though this new social networking is set to build and deploy them. It knows that the planet likes to play. To me, Google Plus could very easily be used to create ‘serious games’ for education … but of course as soon as Google push games to their new service, the hamster-brains will no doubt ban it.

The possibilities, once again will be entirely determined by those who run the 1992 simulator. Most likely, Google Plus will be banned from the classroom. After all in 1990, they swooned over Alannah Myles, and today Black Velvet is till the new album, so keep calm and carry on.


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  1. Pingback: Should PR and social media people be getting excited by Google+?

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