I'm saying goodbye to Mike Elgan's Google+ Diet
I started following +Mike Elgan because of a recommendation from +Tom Anderson almost as soon as I joined Google+. The first thing I noticed about Mike was that he wrote about tech in a really engaging way, and as Tom promised, he didn't "mince words." He was assertive in his opinions and had some very innovative ideas, one of which was the Google+ Diet. You can read more about that on Mike's G+ profile (http://goo.gl/8YsBA), but a simple summary is that Mike wanted to reduce "social networking fatigue" by cutting out all other social networks and focusing only on G+.

Sounded pretty cool to me, so I tried it.

As most of you know, I am a regular person, not a "social media expert," nor a web celebrity. Mike's need for a social networking diet made sense because of the level of interaction he was used to on Facebook, Twitter, his blog, and anywhere else he was present online. But for a regular person, "social networking fatigue" is a very different animal. I hardly ever used Twitter before G+, and my Facebook was so locked down you couldn't even search for me. Still, Facebook wasn't doing it for me, so I jumped on the Diet as an excuse to delete that profile and start the revolution. Or something like that.

And delete I did. My Facebook was shut down weeks ago, and apart from one cheat a few days in, I really haven't missed the thing at all.

But something unexpected happened.

The night before last, I was cleaning up my Chrome bookmarks when I noticed my old Facebook link gazing up at me longingly. Intending to delete the bookmark, I clicked -- well, misclicked. Instead of eliminating Facebook from my synced folder forever, my browser took me to Facebook's main page and LastPass autologged me right in.

Welcome back to Facebook, Christina! Your account has been reactivated!

If you're not familiar with LastPass (http://goo.gl/stqSZ), you probably should be. It's awesome. And LastPass and I have been buddies for a long time, but I guess we have some talking to do. To be fair, I didn't communicate to LastPass that I was done with Facebook. LastPass only wanted to help. I can't stay mad.

It was strange to see that once-familiar newsfeed. I suddenly felt weird about reading the personal thoughts of 200 people I didn't know or find very interesting. Some of my Facebook friends are really hilarious and their status updates are always entertaining, but it just isn't the same. It feels like a distant memory, the way I was once hooked to this feed like it was my connection to something important and vital.

I certainly think Facebook helped me find people in my life who were otherwise long gone, and there is something compelling in that sense of rediscovery. But other than extending electronic "friendship," I'm honestly not sure that many of those rediscovered relationships contributed anything of value to my online life. Is that harsh? Maybe.

The driving force behind my use of G+ may seem to be my following, and that's definitely a lot of it. But some of it is also a desire for better quality interaction in general, from a reader's perspective too. What I mean is that I want to read about ideas and interact with the creators. I want to discover new thinkers, new artists, new content. I want to share my ideas too, of course -- and obviously, I do -- but I want to interact and collaborate and share thoughts. Facebook doesn't do that for me and it probably never will. It's a one-trick pony for me.

But I am not re-deleting my Facebook profile.

Google+ isn't ready yet to accommodate my friends and family. I want it to be, but it's not. I had a reality check when my father and I started a Hangout together and had a fantastic time doing it. But his stance was that he only wanted to use Google+ to talk to me. Maybe we'd get my aunt and her cousins to join, too. But neither of us has been motivated to do that yet, and our Hangout was a week ago. Why? I think it's because Google+ is still way too weighted towards content-sharing/discovery and not enough towards private interaction. The content sharing is great and I'm thoroughly excited about that. But if my family wants to join, private interaction needs to be way more intuitive than it is. This is a beta, of course, and features are in the works that we probably can't even imagine yet. But that's the future.

So here's my plan -- I'm going to stick with Facebook for private interaction, but I am going to remove every single person I don't feel I am actually close to or want to read for entertainment purposes, and I am not going to apologize for it. When and if those users decide to move to G+, I would be happy to put them in a Circle and read their thoughts at will. If they prove interesting when they break out of the status-update box, I'll interact. If not, I will probably remove them.

What about Twitter?

I think I have 18 tweets. I don't know what the heck I want to use Twitter for, but I'm going to experiment with it anyway. Why not?

G+ has redefined my standards when it comes to social networking, but it can't yet replace everything for a regular person.

And hey -- I have a new tweet. It's my Google+ invite code. (http://goo.gl/hqcSY) First experiment! I have 11 followers. Maybe they'll join G+ and I'll see what they really think about stuff. And that, I think is ultimately Google+'s best use yet: refining our social networking habits. Now I expect more from people in order to put time into reading them. Maybe that's snobby and elitist, but I think it makes perfect sense. Why "friend," "follow," or "like" someone/something you don't actually find interesting?
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