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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 11 Aug 2011, 12:54


We each have our own metaphors.

For Facebook I go with a family weedding (family and friends).

For Twitter I go with a rain. Sometimes you need an umbrella.

Overused, overhyped, over-whelming noise. It depends on if you like going out in a thunderstorm on monsoon.

I've observed Twitter misused drown discussion groups (Oxford University) because it is being used like DIY direct mail or spam. Everyone sticking their heads out a window and blowing a trumpet about stuff that very few people have any interest in at all. So instead of being used as a way to talk with a niche audience, it is used as a way to spam millions.

For Google+ so far is a handful of OU students who happen to be studying the Masters in Open and Distance Education and are joining this lab together. Its appeal is obvious - control. Though nothing I don't recognise from Diaryland which has something called 'rings' and was live in September 1999. No such thing as a good idea then?

Just someone coming along and doing it better?

Linkedin is where the real networking occurs, between professional like-minds.

Not forgetting blogs, where a specialist interest or three is the best place to pull-together and associate with people whose comments and opinions you value.

We can make these platforms anything we want them to be, indeed turn the recieved thinking or common practice inside out if we wish.

Why not draw professional contacts to Facebook as a creative workout in a different context?

If Google+ replaces Facebook AND Twitter I'll be happy.

But the idea that I'll get used to Google+ over the next 18months and then need or want to change to something else fills me with dismay. It reminds me of how the privatisation of the bus services meant you could get three busses all arriving at the same time, each from a different operator, each wanting you to use their bus.

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Interesting. Thank you.
Catherine at home

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I've used Facebook for several years and, much as I like to share photos amongst friends and family and feel that I'm in touch with people because I can leave a comment on something they posted, I'm beginning to wonder how good it is to have such an easy and immediate means of communication.  Frankly, I find myself posting inane rubbish that would be better left unsaid, but equally frequently sharing some great information.  I suspect I am not alone in this.

Your OU blog is clearly a more creative and productive outlet.  It's also close to immediate, because you post so regularly.  I've never been a great blogger, but I have gained a lot of insight into its value by looking at what you are doing here.

As to Google+, I've looked at it and can't say yet whether it offers something useful.  Is it really so different from other social media?  Is it going to be better?  Is it just too late on the scene?  But most importantly, as you say, will something else come along in a year or two to blow it out of the water and encourage us all to move house again?  I'm feeling equally dismayed by the prospect.


Design Museum

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I am dreading the Google + journey. I feel like a flautist who has to pick up a violin. I know who won't be like this, indeed I may find, to continue the metaphor, that Google+ allows me to play all the Wind Instruments. Already a user of several Google tools this will pull in Picasa and YouTube, though not blogger which I'd describe as Kindergarten to the brilliance of Wordpress. Tonight I am 'hanging' out (a term Google+ wish to make their own) twice ... These are online gatherings, web networking events. I'll report back. Sharing the experience is also an educational opportunity putting my e- learning hat on, learning through doing, as an e- tivity.