Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Google+ Means (and Doesn't Mean) To the OSR Community

I am thoroughly enjoying Google+ so far. It is the "New Shiny", and the new shiny is always a pretty bauble to behold. I've given out invites to those that ask, and still will if you ask. Google+ is not the Rosetta Stone of internet communication, but it does a lot of things, and it does most of what it does very well. Let's look at some of it's features that are useful to our corner of the gaming hobby.

1 - Group Video - Zak is using this with success for pick up games. Many layers of awesome here. Greg is using it to get immediate feedback on some of his gaming designs. Effective use of group video. It's easy to get a group chat going. Of course, the same features are available in the Free Pandoren / iTabletop VTT, which also includes maps, tokens, dice rollers, shared PDFs and more - but Google+ is easier to set up and has a much smaller learning curve. If they ever add a whiteboard and a random number generator, you'll have an awesome basic Virtual Table Top.

2 - Immediate feedback - As Greg pointed out, he's getting more comments on his Google+ threads then he is on his blog posts. I'll call that the "Facebook Effect". If I post "I hate commuting in traffic - aargh!" on Facebook, I'll get 6 replies in an hour. If I make a deep post on my blog, I may get 3 posts in 24 hours. Google+ is a more interactive method of communication. That being said, it's "noise to signal" ratio is much worse then a blog. I need to prune my circle tree, because at it currently is it is totally unmanageable and unreadable for me. I prefer reading and commenting on blogs at the moment

3 - Growth - everyone is jumping on the Google+ bus it seems. Those that might not read blogs may be reached by Google+. Effective use of both mediums may do well in growing the community.

Some things that Google+ is not good at (at least, not yet) -

1 - Search Engines - your blog posts may show on a web search, but your best Google+ post will not.

2 - Archives - blog posts are archived and generally easy to find. I haven't found such a feature on Google+ yet.

3 - Google+ plugin for Blogger - this is a no brainer - where is it Google? We want it, and we want it now!


  1. Google+ sounds interesting, but too much like Facebook. While I have a Facebook account, I don't consider it anything vital in my daily interactions. Too much crap too early on made Facebook feel like being trapped on the internet subway of annoyingly loud talkers. I can do without the chatter, however to each his or her own. Thanks for the positive feedback,on Google+ it sounds promising as the latest thang.

  2. I had a G+ account and deleted it. Some of Google's policies and actions were annoying me. I would get rid of Facebook too, but our company's page is under my account. Personally I dislike social media in general. I am, however, a confirmed grouch.

  3. I've just watched others involved in social networking and if you have no other activities in life it's great as the master of time suckage. I watched it really go into orbit with Myspace and had an account for about 15 seconds. You either have to shut yourself off from the community or deal with a withering attack of constant invites and noise.

    My breaking pointing was the page that was 3 screens wide and had FIVE music players all set to start at the same time. The color scheme was a hideous rainbow vomit with so many animated items on it I thought somebody had dosed my coffee with acid.


    So...I have a social network...it's called blogging :)


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