[Rebuttals to the Top Seven Objections to Google's New "Suggested Users" Super-Charge List]

Here are the objections I saw most often in the threads about Google+'s new "supercharge your stream" list, and why these criticisms should perhaps be reconsidered:

1. "Don't you tell me who to follow! I organically choose who I circle!"

Awesome. Then keep doing that. That's why it's merely a suggested user list, not a mandatory auto-circle list. (*ahem* +Tom Anderson a la Myspace ahem :D) It's available for those who want it, and ignored by those who don't.


2. "What the what? Google should have used an algorithm/hand-selected/looked at actual content creation/engagement to compile this list!"

Valid, but are you certain that they didn't utilize one of these, or some combination of any number of methods to compile this list? They did not publicize how they made the list, so I think it's a little hasty to jump to accusations about what they did or didn't do. Which brings me to...


3. "This is just a list of people with the most followers. Gross."

Not really. I ended up on there and I don't even have 6,000 followers. That may seem high compared to the average user, but then you put that against people listed in the same category as me, like +Dane Cook , +Paris Hilton, and +William Shatner, and it's clear that this was not simply a numbers game. I'm small fries compared to these users. Moreover, contrast that with +Adrian Grenier who only has 441. Again, evidence suggests the system used to select these users is not as simple as you might deduce from first glance.

(Side note: I ain't gotta lie to kick it. Seeing lil ol' me listed with those celebrities was a very surreal experience.)


4. "This is going to start follower wars. Ugh."

Only for those who choose to participate in it. And if they want to do that, whatever. That's their game. It doesn't have to be yours or ours. It's fictitious and only caries as much weight as you let it. If you don't buy into it, don't feed into it. It's that simple. The rest of us can continue to share and engage with each other outside of that silly, imaginary construct just fine.


5. "But so-n-so wasn't on there!"

Werd. I hear that, but I think this is still a work in progress. We all- myself included- seem to forget that this is still a test environment. Given that, it's obviously a valid reason to give feedback like this, but I don't think we should be so quick to jump down Google's throat and spew a ton of negativity. In the end, that type of curmudgeonly, knee-jerk criticism does more harm to the community than a simple "Supercharge Your Stream" list. You know what they say: when you point a finger, two point back at you.

I would encourage all of us to be patient with these new features, and voice our concerns in a constructive fashion. I saw a fair number of people do that (yay!), but also a lot of mis/uninformed venting. To be honest, I was surprised and disappointed by the community's overall negativity. It caught me off guard, though I can understand everyone wanting to protect something so precious. I get it. I love Google+, too. :)


6. "Why?"

The number one complaint I hear about Google+, and the single-most frequently cited reason for retreating back to Facebook/Twitter is this:

"It's dead. No one is posting."

I'm always really surprised to hear this. I only have a couple hundred people circled and I can barely keep up with my stream! However, as a new user without a jump-off point, and with none of your family/friends posting on here yet, it certainly can feel desolate. A circle starter-kit can offer the initial catalyst necessary to feel a part of the community and get your foot in the door. All you have to do is add one user seed-crystal and boom! the whole thing explodes wide open. It's kind of magical, really.

Secondly, the other reason why people don't catch on to the wonders of Google+ is that they don't really see the way it can and is being used. Most people learn best by demonstration and picking it up as they go, but without active users in their stream to lead by example, it can be tricky to really grasp the potential of the site and how it sets itself apart. Most of what I've learned on here has been through experimentation and observing other users. An initial crop of circled people is necessary for both of these to take root.


7. "There's nothing but celebrities on there, and celebrities are boring. Why would I want to follow them?"

A.) See #3, and B.) So don't, :) But for new users who are still waiting to establish connections on here, a familiar face in the interim can go a long way.

I realize that some of the celebrities don't post very frequently, but people at large are fascinated by the famous and get a kick out of getting an inside peek into their lives (even if it is just a PR-rep). If Google+ is for everyone and we want to foster an open, diverse community, those that want to follow celebrities should be welcome, as well. Just because you're not into it, doesn't mean others aren't.

*******

Now, all that being said, again, I understand everyone rushing to preserve and protect this delicate community we've worked hard to build. No one wants Google+ to jump the shark, so anything that might rock the boat or shift the dynamic is going to be looked at very critically. I think that's good, as it keeps Google on its toes, and it cultivates a very well-manicured site (hopefully) tailored to users' preferences. We should give feedback, especially if we feel very strongly about something, and obviously, this is one of those things to many people.

However, I think many people had a hair-trigger response to this and bolted to tear it apart without really considering why this might be helpful to other people, or why its potential downfalls probably won't need to affect them.

I'm sure many of you will disagree with me on this, and if so, I encourage discussion around it. I undoubtedly missed some particulars and I, of course, have my own blindspots. Please point them out. I would love to hear them. I only ask that you, likewise, keep a receptive, open mind to the feedback above and any delivered in return. Thanks. :)

(Also, before anyone jumps to dismiss my stance as biased, since I'm on the list, I can assure you that these were my established feelings prior to finding out through the grapevine that I was included. Promise.)


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