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Social Networking: The Empathy Graph
I've written a lot about how Google should ditch the social graph for the interest graph. This week something new emerged. While some of my circles were discussing the #waronwords and how the most recent Google+ redesign favored graphics over text, a whole other communtity was writing about "How Google+ Changed My Life". As it turns out, sometimes strangers are more supportive than friends. Why? Because we don't carry any preconceived notions about you.

I discovered that while I've been mapping an interest graph, I've been developing an empathy graph.

Google+: A Sharing Network
I prefer to call Google+ a sharing network rather than a social network. A social network presupposes that an existing relationship must exist before one can share. "Sharing with friends" is very narrow worldview. In contrast, on a sharing network, relationships evolve as the result of your engagement; relationships are not the prerequisite for sharing.

On an old social network you check in with your friends to see if they are doing anything interesting. On a sharing network, you notice interesting things being said and begin interacting with the people who said them.

Escape from the Tyranny of Small Town Life
Facebook is like the small town that you couldn't wait to grow up and get out of. Everyone knows you and watches your every move. Sure there's friends and family. But there's also gossip, backbiting, and bullying. Those close to you expect you to act a certain way; when you try to break out of your rut, they accuse you of not being yourself. You are defined by your past history and every slight is remembered.

Google+ is the bustling city you escape to. Everyone is a stranger. But, oh, the excitement! The information overload is overwhelming but invigorating. You lurk. You go to a few hot spots. You hang around. You take classes. Pretty soon you notice certain people who catch your attention. You give them a friendly nod. You strike up a conversation.

In the big city, we are free to be ourselves precisely because we do not know each other. We aren't carrying the baggage of our past nor are we weighed down by obligations for the future. We are socializing without our usual social strictures. We are not constrained by old expectations. We are not defined by our past history. We can encourage someone without worrying how their decisions affect personally. In short, we can accept each other in this moment, in this conversation.

So, Google+. Stop telling me how I can share with my friends. Sure. You already provide the tools for people who want to do the Facebook thing. But you can do so much more. Be so much more. We came to you because we reject the Facebook model. Let's create something entirely new.

Related: The Empathy Graph Curated
Note: +Chris Pirillo Our Google+ experience doesn't "suck". Here's why.

* G+ Has Changed My Life (For the Better)
"I'm tired of opposing idiots and bigots, I want to build with people who want to build a better world."
+Ted Ewen https://plus.google.com/u/0/110455526548551633166/posts/gB5WTk4BZ5h

* G+ Is My Tool to Change Life
+Youssef Hachhouch responds to Ted's post.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/109907447383307087458/posts/9MEu2SxJYor

Google+ makes it possible to dump toxic relationships without the drama of publicly "unfriending" someone.

* Getting Personal
"My ultimate decision to move to G+ also coincided with the OWS movement, and I know the precise moment I made the decision to leave FB after observing a similar bullying taking place amongst friends of mine who were polarized by the real world brutality OWS was making apparent...leaving FB to get away from the endless sniping that was happening amongst an extended group of people I thought would have behaved differently...I moved to G+ at what was possibly the lowest moment in my personal life and in a way being here kept me alive."
+P E Sharpe https://plus.google.com/u/0/107066609145001672622/posts/A5mVFT5kkw5

I was tormented by Facebook for years. The job I had required me to be on it professionally. Privately I got stalked by all those past 'friends' that just had to share everything but the ideas I'm interested in." +Youssef Hachhouch (comment on P E Sharpe's post)

* Lessons Learned in Life on FB
‎"In life you’ll meet a lot of mean and disrespectful people. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they've got issues and you're on a different level than they are. That will help keep you from reacting to their insensitivity. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance. Walk away, keep your dignity and always be true to yourself."
+Paulissa Kipp https://plus.google.com/u/0/116071275946594200077/posts/2mcyiKAxrGy

"On Facebook I was lonely among friends, so lost in their Lists of people they shared a more superficial connection to, often never having met in real life, that they lost contact with the quality people. So far, at least, G+ is a more tightly knit and supportive community where "strangers" find each other through passions and interests, and a desire to see this place succeed." +Eli Fennell (comment on +Mike Elgan's post) https://plus.google.com/u/0/113117251731252114390/posts/AfZMXrtZxUQ

Our social graph relationships are mostly accidents of proximity. Do we want to be stuck with people just because our paths crossed once upon a time?

* Facebook is anchored in the past
"'I need more interesting friends.' ...said unthinkingly it gives a very false idea of the differences between these two social networks, as if Google were anti-social. The problem really lies in that Facebook, due to how it works, is anchored in the past, and Google+ -- and I'm not sure if it was intentional or a product of its users -- works in the social network of the present... aah! did you think I'd say future? but no, I think this is present day reality, even if only at its beginnings."

"On Facebook, we're scandalized by those 150 friends that people have (on average), "who has 150 friends in real life? this is stupid!" and they're right, we have a lot of connections, but very few "real" friends, and Facebook doesn't encourage us to change any of that. In Google, it's the other way around, "where you going with 50 persons in your circles, you ass! That's why you're saying it's dead!", because here the network that is formed around you is made of smaller links, but more numerous: our armour is lighter, a better fit and protects us better."
+Daniela Huguet Taylor
https://plus.google.com/u/0/101642015660380479673/posts/24rrgrRAFd4

* Google+ should ditch the social graph
"Google+ is not going to beat Facebook at its own game. It's going to beat Facebook by changing the game. It's going to beat Facebook by understanding that people aren't using the Internet as a tool to map their existing lives. The Internet is an entirely different landscape in which we live and form new relationships."
https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/JCkxasKMQVY

So onward, pioneers!

* Facebook Connections Don't Always Make People Happy
"I never feel, here, like I'm lost in the noise, rather I feel like I'm a valued fellow traveler in a new frontier. I wonder if this is how the folks who migrated along the Oregon Trail to new homelands felt about their own "pioneer community"?"
+Eli Fennell
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110619855408549015935/posts/RsaHYSBnm2s
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no harmony? ;)
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A "Global Warming" Skeptic Scientist tests and confirms "Global Warming is REAL."
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And worse than we thought.
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Facebook Marketing Strategies - http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/271638707_PZr7EVjb_c.jpg #facebook #social #marketing
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