I like food. I like eating it, making it, talking about it, and using social media to talk about it (e.g. Bernie Michalik’s posterous site).
However, to be frank, I am an amateur when it comes to food. No matter how much I do in this area, it will never be in the same league as people who are cooks and writers in this area.
I also love Twitter. I like how it is an open forum, and that people who are from very different backgrounds can come together and follow each other and share comments and links. You can ask people questions, give them feedback, share what they said with others, and more.
However, I think that openness is part of the problem. I think for alot of people, they like the Twitter platform, but what they really want is the ability to be exclusive. I noticed this in a number of exchanges with food professionals, where I got the impression that while they were tweeting generally, their comments were really directed at a specific audience that they had in mind. (I am sure this happens with other professionals as well, and I am sure there are some I.T. people, for example, who must think some of the comments from people who think the Mac is the pinnacle of computing technology are asinine.) The more I thought about it, the more I thought it must be ridiculous to get comments on food from someone who has limited ideas on it compared to a professional.
Now, part of the problem is me. Not only do I love food, but when I see tweets from people talking about food, well, I want to tweet back to them! But the more I think about it, the more I think that that is the problem with Twitter. It encourages that give and take, regardless of whether or not tweeps really want it.
This is where Google+ comes in. The circle concept makes sense for alot of people. They could have circles where they just have professionals in it, and they could direct comments to them specifically. And likewise it is ease to follow people without really following them. You can just put them in a circle, call it “Fans” or “Audience” or “Amateurs” and from time to time you can share things with them without having to see everything they share in real time.
True, you can do this with Twitter lists, and I have done this to some degree with political folks and writers and IT people (not to mention famous people and funny people and now food professionals). They are all people I don’t want to forget about, but not really someone I want to follow closely, nor do I expect to engage much with them. The problem with lists however, is that Twitter makes it very hard to create them and update them. In comparison, Google+ circles are a snap to set up.
Sadly, I hate the way Google+ works. Not as bad as Facebook, but almost as much. Whatever else I saw about Twitter, it is fun to use and very concise. Google+ is about as fun to use as Google itself, and it is the opposite of concise. That’s a shame. If it it were more concise, I could see me doing alot more with it. If I could “skin” it and limit the amount of information it provided, I would be using it alot.
I think if Google+ could become more like Twitter, or Twitter could become more like Google+, we’d have a winner. We would end up being less social, but that might not be a bad idea. Maybe the technology needs to become less social and less inclusive: perhaps that would result in better communication over more. I know there are lots of times when I think about tweeting something technical, but I think: who wants to hear about IBM pSeries servers on HACMP or IT architecture patterns? Very few people. If Twitter had circles, I could tweet those comments to IT people. Also, because there are no limits, there tends to be oversharing on Twitter. While with Circles, you are more likely to choose with whom you want to share information, rather than broadcasting it to everyone.