Google+: A great idea gone horribly wrong?
|2 min read
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Davenit's avatar
By Davenit   |   Watch
4 27 8K (1 Today)
Published: May 30, 2012
Like so many I was really excited when google+ came out. I was thinking, finally a forum for photographers (and others of course but photography is my focus) that will be open, bring discussion and open ideas. I thought it was a powerful learning tool and a great way to find like minded people and share.

Well, IMO, it's failed. The creation of the class system that, for some reason, Google thought would be a good idea has undermined the whole process. They've taken an even playing field and created a elitist class that overshadows the whole system. There are 40 or 50 people who run the show now and it's really a shame.

I know in large online communities the original intent can be lost but that's just going to happen. dA is a great place but I don't think anyone would argue that it's changed a lot in 10 years. The only difference I see is that the good stuff, no matter how obscure, is still noticed here. Maybe not as much as it should be but it IS still there. You can go to the FP and see art by people who have no watchers, no pageviews, etc, but there art is still there to be noticed. Yeah, I think it's cluttered with a bunch of silly stuff but that's just the demographic of this site.

On Google Plus, if you're not authorized or embraced by Google there isn't a chance in hell of ever being noticed.

What a shame. Another system with great potential down the drain.

Just my thoughts.
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Comments27
anonymous's avatar
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JeffSullivan's avatar
Interesting discussion on this over on G+: plus.google.com/+JohnDeBord/po…

Particularly interesting in that the people who benefit most from the system mob and oppose other G+ users who make fair statements about it, much like this fencing strategy observed by Yonatan Zunger: 
"the novices begin to realize the most important aspect of their situation: that if even two of them attack an expert in a coordinated fashion, they are very likely to win. "
"This lesson generalizes, I suspect, to many other kinds of engagement. "
plus.google.com/10338945282813…

This "mobbing" behavior is particularly troublesome on Google+ when it is used by those Google-selected and Google-promoted leaders, since in effect the behavior is implicitly sonsored and rewarded by Google.  

Nearly everyone who has taken an introductory psychology class has heard of the Zimbardo - Stanford prison experiment in the 1970s: www.simplypsychology.org/zimba…

In short, people participating in the study were randomly assigned "guard" or "prisoner" roles.  This was the result:

"Within hours of beginning the experiment some guards began to harass prisoners. They behaved in a brutal and sadistic manner, apparently enjoying it. Other guards joined in, and other prisoners were also tormented."

The scenario created such brutal behavior, it had to be ended in 6 days, less than halfway through its intended 2-week course.

Google created a similar guard - prisoner scenario with its promotion of recommended users. Like in the Stanford experiment, the G+ users assigned the "guard' role were harassing other users within hours, and as their positions remained unassailable in the following weeks, months, and years (!).  They (and now their cliques) continue to harass anyone who questioned their monopoly on influence and power, on and off of G+.  It continues today, and spreads from its origins on G+ across the industry, and on other networks such as Facebook.

When Google-promoted users rally their followers against other G+ users, they flood the vastly outnumbered person they are targeting, and it is not possible to address the onslaught of misinformation.

Of course Google has noticed this, and as Yonatan mentioned with regards to the real names policy intended to reduce anti-social behavior, 

"Or to put it a little more bluntly, people are quite willing to be assholes under their real names, too."

With regards to the mobbing, attacking behavior related to Google picking winners in the G+ community, this was all predictable.  Social networking research tells us that some conflict on social networks may be an entirely predictable outcome of implementing certain features:
"...research by Cecilia Ridgeway [6] indicates that groups will tolerate deviant behavior from members who are perceived as competent and motivated. Social software that allows communities to recognize their top contributors may actually provide more leeway for abnormal behavior"
knol.google.com/k/anonymity-an…

I've been pointing that out since Google started overriding the will of its community in early September 2011.

It's a shame that Google couldn't bear to make the site more inclusive.  There's no telling what contributions would have been made by people driven away.  In the age of Internet crowdsourcing, it seems odd that Google would choose to manage G+ in a way which was the polar opposite of being open to all, instead rewarding, institutionalizing the antagonism of a few towards the majority of the community.
pawbla's avatar
G+ ruined itself when it changed its privacy policies. Nobody uses it now.
Itti's avatar
IttiHobbyist General Artist
What is the class system?
EveryNextDream's avatar
Google+ confuses me sometimes. I don't really do anything pro-active on there yet loads of people circle me all the time and I have no idea why. I miss the feature where you could just open a never-ending wall of pictures from all the people you follow. It was awesome and it's vanished :(
MikeShawPhotography's avatar
Is it any different here? One of the reasons I do not post is the same old same old appearing on the front page of dA, and it does not have a lot of merit, the old diamond now and then but not much else.

There are a select few here that run the show too, dA even gives them special symbols to show them (respected members) I recall when Gilad was here every image he posted was guaranteed to hit the front page but its done due to how many favourites it gets, on G+ its down to how many shres and +1's I struggle to find the difference!
0SupermarineSpitfire's avatar
0SupermarineSpitfireProfessional General Artist
To be honest, I barely interact with G+ these days. :hmm: It didn't really offer me anything over what I already had with Facebook, and their missteps early on (no Pages, arbitrary username policy, etc.) dented my confidence.

Meanwhile, Facebook has managed to catch up with most of the innovations that G+ brought to the table, and (importantly for me) they have a kick-ass iPad app now - the G+ app is still iPhone-only. :wtf:
osagelady's avatar
osageladyHobbyist General Artist
I have to admit I somewhat agree with you. I joined G+ several months ago and really tried to join the system but I can tell you that if you don't have the backing of those already IN the elite system, then it's hard to get noticed. I have virtually no followers and I have spent hours commenting, watching, learning and posting. I did eventually stop posting my photos as there was little to no feedback.

I find I get a lot more feedback on my photography with the Photographers of G+ on Facebook. I'm not the best photographer by any means, but I'm definitely not the worst and I was hoping for a new place to grow in my learning experience. Maybe I haven't given it enough time, I don't know, but I DO know I feel like a stranger in a crowded room.

Anyway, nice post Dave, thank you!
electricjonny's avatar
electricjonnyHobbyist Photographer
I was sort of impressed with G+ when it first launched. It had some unique things and features (friend circles and whatnot), but it was still overshadowed by the "so… why use this over anything else?" thing. Then they changed the UI of it all, and I sort of just stopped using it.

I hardly ever posted anything - mostly just watched people there - but dA being my first online community, I just can not get over a site that doesn't nest the comments. Trying to talk to one specific person in a thread of replies is just tremendously complicated on most sites. I want it how dA does it, where if I want to reply to a specific comment, I click the reply button under that comment.

Then there's the fact that clicking on images loads "fancy" and "slick", being all web 3.0 or whatever. Can you even link to a specific image on G+? I can't seem to do that, so why people are claiming that G+ is one of the best platforms for photographers is really confusing to me.

In short, G+ tried to be the new facebook. But it didn't offer anything better than facebook. And it was a bit too complicated. I don't want to have to pull out a manual to figure out what a button does. Add the fact that they're changing it so often, and it just feels like a site trying to play catch up with facebook and take it over. G+ should have tried to innovate new and better features, being a unique site rather than trying to stomp on facebook.
devilicious's avatar
deviliciousProfessional Photographer
online presents a great opportunity for arrogance (easier to be when not faced to say something to someone's face or let people truly see/know you). power kills even the young - the brilliant young of Facebook and Google - it's just how man is I am convinced. :|

on a better note - what's shaking? :boogie: playing a lot since it's summer now? :boogie: :)
ThornedVenom's avatar
ThornedVenomProfessional Digital Artist
Could've been awesome mainly because the gallery system is a million times better than Facebook's, but they kinda tried combining Facebook and Twitter at the same time by spreading thin their focus on private social sharing and public social sharing (admittedly, Facebook has now allowed people to have subscribers and have always been shady about their privacy policies.)

I think to that extent, it's suffering the same fate as Google Wave where that product too wanted to combine everything at once because heck, that's what Google does. If you want to search for something, Google will display all relevant websites, images, maps, shopping, etc... pretty much any internet service that's relevant to a search query. But you've also been seeing an increase in specialized services such as Flickr, Yelp, Amazon, Wikipedia, etc... because people are gravitating towards wanting to rely on specific services for specific needs rather than a centralized source of information indexing.
Ptollemy's avatar
I agree. The noise to signal ratio is too great for me, and it is too easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of posts. I feel like I should be making better use of it, but it just doesn't work for me.
davidkingham's avatar
davidkinghamProfessional Photographer
I agree that g+ could have been much better than it turned out to be because they got too ambitious, that said it is still a great place and if you haven't used it before I would try it out before chastising it. IMHO it's still the best out there but has lots of room for improvement
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
check this out Dave [link]
fourteenthstar's avatar
For me, part of the problem is that I think that it's a bit late in the game to compete with Facebook, and people are expecting G+ to be populated and integrated overnight into the same level that Facebook is now.

I liked G+ when it first came out because it was new and I hoped it would become a less noisy place in comparison to Facebook. But, then I realised, that was more about how I used Facebook -- and so I fixed that.

My friends list on Facebook is made up of a lot of deviantART people, and a smaller number of friends who I went to uni with, former school mates, family and people I play in the band with -- I've adapted how I use it to be a place that's no longer just an extension of my work environment, but a place for me to connect with friends & family.

G+ couldn't give me that because it would mean converting friends & family over to another platform, and since they are not as tech-savvy and don't spend anywhere near as much time online as I do, it seemed pointless to even try. Facebook is already on their smartphones and if anything their use of it has increased over the past few months as we communicate more on there.

I don't see the point of comparing Tumblr to G+/FB either because they are very different beasts.

In addition, at the launch of G+ it felt a little bit forced in terms of people claiming it was such an awesome tool. Ultimately, we've got a multitude of ways of connecting, sharing and interacting online -- each platform will have it's pros and cons and you just have to go with what's best for you. One mans trash.. etc ;)
0SupermarineSpitfire's avatar
0SupermarineSpitfireProfessional General Artist
I had a similar experience. I was really excited with G+ launched, but it soon became apparent that only a few of my friends were going to follow me there. (A few people I know are only on G+ because they despise Facebook).

Eventually, I took a long hard look at how I was using Facebook, did a clear-out of my friends and Pages to bring the noise level down, and cut out most of the apps that I had installed. Now my feed is much more manageable. And with the new iPad app, I can stay in touch with people without having to be at my computer. :wtf: (The G+ app is still iPhone-only for some inexplicable reason).
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
I am on the fence about it all Dave. I do agree to some extent I will say that much. Mind if I share this on my G+?
Davenit's avatar
Sure John. Should ruffle some feathers over there. LOL
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
done. [link]
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
LOL I think it will.
DavisMarie's avatar
DavisMarieHobbyist Photographer
This is why I've pretty much moved over to Tumblr... I really do not understand the point of G+, and so far I've heard more negatives than positives. :/
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
Tumblr though is just DA in a blogging format, far to much crap on that site
DavisMarie's avatar
DavisMarieHobbyist Photographer
You're right, I see a lot of crap there, but there's 'crap' everywhere more or less. The question is ease of access and filtering through it. There's some pretty amazing stuff on Tumblr if you know where to look. :)
kkart's avatar
kkartProfessional Photographer
The problem is, with Tumblr, it seems the average age is about 15. This equates to endless crap about Pony's and such.
0SupermarineSpitfire's avatar
0SupermarineSpitfireProfessional General Artist
The good thing is that, unlike with the front page of dA, you're not automatically assaulted by what the teens are posting. :phew:
anonymous's avatar
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