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One thing I definitely won't miss about G+. Sigh.

For as good as Google is about managing spam in other services, it's astounding how awful of a job it's always done here. (And perhaps not surprisingly, things have seemed especially bad as of late.)
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Some thoughts on life after G+ and why I'm rethinking my approach to social media

Hi. I've been thinking lately about how the ongoing demise of Google+ has changed my perspective on social media, and I thought — somewhat ironically, I realize — that this would be a fine place to share those musings.

For quite a while, G+ felt like my virtual home — the central place where I interacted with people and shared not only the stuff I was writing but also random thoughts, tips, bits of analysis, and so on. Sure, I posted stuff to Twitter, too, but it never had that same feeling of community for me; instead, it's always felt more like an empty shouting chamber with the occasional yelp echoing back in return. (As for Facebook, I had a page there mostly because I felt for a long time like I had to. I always resented it, for a variety of reasons, and felt relieved to finally pull the plug on it for good last year.)

Even before the news that G+ would be going away this August April, I'd been feeling the forces that made this place so special slowly slipping away for some time. I'm sure you noticed it, too — right? In G+'s early days, even with the ever-present (and woefully misguided) narrative of it being a "ghost town" from those who didn't put in the time to get to know it, these virtual halls felt alive. The Googlers behind the effort were familiar names and faces who interacted with us regularly and kept us apprised on the service's ongoing evolution. It felt like we were a part of something special, and the excitement established by the folks steering the ship was infectious. It really set the tone for what this community was in those early years.

At a certain point, I think we all felt the tides turn. Google stopped caring about G+ and started treating it as a low-priority obligation instead of a happening and a cause for excitement. And that, too, set the tone for what this community would become. Some of us stuck around (clearly), and we still had good times and interesting conversations, but the service itself lost its sheen. The carefully considered paint on the walls started to chip away. A low-budget maintenance crew came in and repainted things carelessly — the marks of an attitude that seemed to be, "Well, I guess we've gotta do something with this place, so let's see what'll be the easiest way to get the job done before we move on and let the next suckers take over." They tore down the parts of the community that were too complicated or expensive to maintain. Little by little, the crowd thinned out. And for those of us who remained, it felt more like hanging onto the remnants of a once-great club left in ruins as opposed to being a part of something special — being a part of a lively community and a movement that mattered.

My feeling of disillusionment was perhaps even broader than most. For me, it wasn't just G+ crumbling away; it was a growing realization that we invest so much of our own time, energy, and creativity in these platforms that we have no true ownership or control over. We post thoughts, share beliefs, and engage in arguments and debates — but whether it's G+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Medium, or wherever, we're doing it on the turf of a gigantic company with ever-shifting values and priorities. What seems so vitally important to us is ultimately just a tiny piece in their massive chess board, and their strategy for playing (and choice of pieces, even) is constantly in flux.

With Twitter, I noticed more and more that the thoughts and ideas I'd put time into sharing were often going unseen or unnoticed — even by the group of people who opted to follow me. The same was true 50-fold for Facebook, where I'd frequently hear from people who said they'd been following me for years and thought I'd gone away because they hadn't seen any posts from me in so long. Why was I spending all this time creating content and sharing stuff to places that were treating it as ephemeral dust in the wind — fluff to be scattered about, maybe shown to a few people once in a while (if they happened to look in the right place at the exact right time), and then eventually brushed under a rug or thrown away altogether?

It was that combination of feelings that led me to start a weekly email newsletter last spring. After watching friends of mine embark on similar adventures, it occurred to me: Hey, what am I doing here? Instead of giving away thoughts, ideas, and writing for free on networks that don't care about me or what I'm saying, I could be putting it all into my own personal platform — somewhere that I can guarantee reaches everyone who wants what it has to offer and somewhere that I can completely control, ensure it always looks the way I want, expand in interesting ways over time, and know it'll always be around and available without any compromises or asterisks attached.

If you noticed the frequency and depth of my social media posts shifting around that same time, that's why. I kept sharing the stories I was writing, but I increasingly shied away from spending time on original stuff — be it random thoughts and analysis on daily news, observations about things I'd noticed in my day-to-day tech adventures, or what have you — in all of my social media destinations. I started instead saving such nuggets for my own platform, where I knew they'd be seen, preserved, and appreciated by the people who were interested. And man, what a world of difference it's been, both in terms of my own experience and in terms of the feedback I get (quite frequently) from folks who read and participate in it.

With G+ officially going dark now, I suspect my approach to social media will only become even more distant. I'll still post links to Twitter, sure, but that's not a "home" for me. It's not somewhere I spend time sharing many original thoughts or interacting beyond the occasional quick response. I've rented out my home to uncaring landlords for long enough. I'm ready to be a full-fledged homeowner now and take care of my own land — in a way that makes me proud to invite everyone over and share what's inside.

That's why, when people have asked where to find me once G+ is gone, I've been saying that the best place to keep up with me and stay connected to what I'm doing is via my newsletter and its surrounding community (https://androidintel.net, by the way, if you haven't yet stopped by). Yes, you can follow me on Twitter, if you want, but you're gonna be getting just the tiniest sliver of me in that environment.

My home these days is out in the suburbs, and lemme tell ya: It's a lovely place to live and visit.
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It's that time again, folks: Yes, oh, yes — time for my always-accurate annual tech prediction. Drumroll, please...

This year, there will be lots of meaningless but confidently stated tech predictions.

You heard it here first. (You're welcome.)
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Hey, look: a nice shout-out to the Android Intelligence newsletter at +Recode: https://www.recode.net/2018/9/6/17825254/substack-chris-best-email-paid-newsletter-casey-newton-recode-media-podcast

Proud to be representing the "other half."

(https://AndroidIntel.net, by the way, if you still haven't signed up.)
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It is such a Google move to announce the availability of a new service but then fail to make said service actually available immediately.

[https://www.blog.google/products/google-one/upgrade-google-one-get-more-out-google -> https://one.google.com/about]
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8/15/18
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Prime Day (n.): a brilliant marketing ploy that convinces people to buy random crap they probably don't need at prices that often aren't even all that exceptional -- all because they're paying $119 a year for the privilege, damn it.
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I am genuinely excited about email newsletters, and I think Revue is really onto something.

My latest feature for Fast Company:
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Very Important Thoughts™ from this week's newsletter. (There's some serious stuff in there, too. I swear.)

Fresh issues every Friday: androidintel.net/subscribe
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Looking at the Opera Android browser for the first time in a long time today.

The app's home page news algorithm is rather, erm, cheeky.
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Accurate.

(From Demetri Martin's very funny book "If It's Not Funny, It's Art.")
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