The Gravity of Google+
We can't see it, but it's there. Gravity attracts all objects to all other objects. It's a remarkable force and a mysterious one. It keeps you and I firmly on the ground instead of floating off into space. It keeps the Moon in orbit around Earth and the Earth in orbit around the Sun. Gravity explains why things move towards each other or away from each other, and often times in such complex ways and on such a massive scale, that it's difficult to predict. Whether or not we can explain exactly how an object got from point A to point B, we can be assured that gravity was involved. Gravity is the reason you are reading this very post.
We are led to believe the connections we've made on social networks like Google+ are of our own making and yet we follow people and engage with them because something pulls us in, we're attracted. Sometimes that force is weak and we get pulled in only for an instant, leave a +1 and then shoot back off into the vast social web, not remembering how we came across that person in the first place. Other times that force is strong and the attraction more sticky. We interact with them regularly, like a planet orbiting a star. Might Google+ then be a vast universe of people attracting all other people?
It is a silly thought perhaps to believe that we are all on a mathematical trajectory towards or away from each other and that possibly we have been for all our lives. Improbable? Maybe, but it's not impossible. The odds that the person seated next to you on a flight will become the love of your life is highly improbable, but when such situations occur, we chalk it up to fate, destiny, or a wonderful byproduct of a chaotic and random universe. Each individual is on that flight for a reason. A series of events had to occur to put them there on that day. One action led to another, which led to another and another, and so forth. Some were immeasurably small and some were irrefutably life altering. People are drawn to and away from each other invisibly every day all the time. Like a trick shot in billiards, a series of interactions, spins, angles, and timing coalesce to put the 8 ball in the right corner pocket.
If someone had told me in 1998 that a guy named Larry Page was working on a project in his garage with a friend named Sergey Brin that would 15 years later put me into orbit around stars like +Stephan Hovnanian
, +Dustin W. Stout
, +Mike Allton
, +Michael Bennett
, +Mark Traphagen
, +Jesse Wojdylo
, +Christine DeGraff
, or +Gina Fiedel
, I wouldn't have believed them. Gravity is funny like that. The journey that will cause us to meet begins long before we know it and can't be easily foreseen.
Maybe you've experienced that strange and fleeting feeling that your friendships here are not byproducts of chaos but rather an invisible force pulling you in. You're not alone. I feel it too. Months ago I explained in a post titled, WHY I PLUS, that I didn't join Google+ to meet new people, I just kind of ended up on here. I was an asteroid zipping through space that got pulled into Google+'s orbit the day I began asking questions about Authorship. I started following people, people started following me. Paths crossed, worlds collided, and now look how far we've come.
But was it gravity? Perhaps if we analyzed the ripples of every post that has ever taken place, we'd catch the culprit red handed, that somewhere along the way, gravity forgot to cover its tracks. Ironically, those that seek to make sense of the social web act as though gravity is a given. In the process of all people attracting all other people, clusters will form. Some individuals will become authorities and some even bigger than that... they'll become celebrities. An imbalance of importance and influence develops and folks settle into complex orbits around hundreds or thousands of highly gravitational people.
As the world's population grew, so did the collective forces of attraction. Gravity prompted mankind to build a bridge not to the world's information, but to each other. Physical distances are no barrier to the souls answering the calls to come hither. It is why we created the Internet. It is why we talk over it. It is why we follow, +1, comment, and engage with others. We do it because we feel an inexplicable tug at our soul that begs us to.
This is not the final destination. We may walk away with new lifelong friends, or move on alone having gained almost nothing at all. There are others that call us and we are on our way to them. The journey never ends and that's okay. Just know that whomever you meet along the way, you have been moving toward them all your life. Ask yourself why that is. What's the attraction? It may be immeasurably small or irrefutably life altering. They could be best friends with the person sitting next to you on your next flight. That flight may be to a vacation spot you saw in a picture in your stream posted by someone you hardly knew, on an airline that got good reviews from people you trust online. Your seatmate could be your soul mate and it's taken a billion perfectly scripted gravitational events to finally unite. It's impossible to foresee but beautiful to think about.
You may only come to know me through this post, and never come into contact with me again. Maybe you'll leave a +1 or a comment, and forget me as soon as someone else pulls you towards them. We'll be strangers once more in the vast social web. It's sad to think that my 30-year journey to reach you will end so quickly, so abruptly. So wherever you're going dear soul, I wish you well.
And just like that, we're drawn away.
---------By: Sean Murray
I run a blog for the alternative business lending industryhttp://www.merchantprocessingresource.com
Shout outs to other stars including +Chris Beveridge
who just made 2 awesome graphics
for me on a project I'm doing, +John-Pierre Maeli
, +Pepper Oldziey
, +Karen Peck
, +Edward Harris
, +Al Remetch
, and the hundreds of others that are forces
to be reckoned with on Google+.