[ & Public ]
All social networking sites from Friendster to Facebook have had profiles. It's how people identify themselves so that others know they're the right Jane Doe. It’s also how people can condense themselves into a few boxes of text, some movie/book/music titles, and maybe an inspiring or funny quotation. A profile lets you pretend to be way more interesting than you are because you can use a refined set of sentences as a definition for who you are. You’re the guy who likes Star Wars and cat pictures, or you’re the artist who reads a lot of obscure books, or you’re the X who Ys all the time. Whatever the story is, it isn't enough to mean anything because your profile doesn’t change much. You just set it and forget it.
As primates, we are fundamentally social creatures and we need to reach out to each other. People like connecting, and they like to be rewarded for producing good ideas. That much is pretty simple and basically universal. It makes sense that we would want to let strangers think we're extra clever. But even a good profile is not really very interesting for very long. I mean, who cares if you can quote Cicero when all of your updates are about taking a shower and then watching some It's Always Sunny?
Producing content consistently is what's cool. That's what Google+'s public sphere (bolded for emphasis; people are certainly going to use G+ like a regular, 1.0 social networking site, but that kind of sharing should really be kept within Circles and not out in the open) should be about when these meta discussions about Google+ itself are no longer very relevant. It's already what the community rewards us for the most...and the best way to maintain this good, creative vibe is to keep demanding better content from anyone able to create it. Don't get lazy!
Go beyond the Profile on Google+ and prove that yours is as cool as you are. If you’re a photographer, show us! If you normally use your profile to indicate that you’re a witty and very deep thinker, prove it. Post your thoughts and see what the world thinks. Use this network to refine yourself, to refine your art or your prose or your ideas, instead of using a static profile to look like maybe you’re pretty cool if only someone would just get you know you well enough. That’s, like, so Friendster.