Getting a Lot from G+, but Giving Up a Lot, Too

Sometime early today, I was put into a circle by a Google+ user. He or she (or it, if the account was created by a spambot) was the 100,000th account holder to do so.

I haven't stopped blogging, or using Twitter (I rarely use Facebook), but I'm doing less of them. The reason is simple: engagement. I get vastly more direct engagement here than I do at the other places.

To those who've been part of the conversations, thanks. To those who've been observing, thanks as well. With few exceptions, the level of discourse here has been high. Even when we've disagreed, most of you have remained civil, and I'm grateful for that.

That said, I'm having misgivings. Specifically, I fear that I am transferring, via my postings here, more of my online identity into Google than I should.

It makes me distinctly unhappy, for example, that the first listing in a Google search on my name is now the Google Profile. The second one is my personal site (, which had been at the top of the listing, for years. UPDATE: A commenter says this is due to Google's filtering of users' personal results; he gets my personal site first in his own search.)

I'm not sure what to do about this. I've recognized from the start that Google gets at least as much value from my postings and conversations as I do, and maybe more, just as Facebook's users are giving Facebook a lot of themselves in return for use of the platform. Ditto Twitter.

I believe I -- not Google, or Facebook or any other operator -- should own my identity. I'm not sure I do anymore, and that worries me a great deal.
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