I first read Henry David Thoreau's Walden back in high school. Probably around 1992. At the time, I was pushing hard to expose myself to different points of view so I could find a voice, as is fairly common when you are trying to figure out which of life's trees to start carving your name into first. Walden hit me particularly hard, in that youthful and hopeful Christopher McCandless kind of way. I wanted to find out what the simple truth of life was. The kind of truth you sometimes only find in solitude. With introspection. When you lock yourself out of your home at 2 am.
Smash cut to 20 years later. I came across my copy of Life In The Woods and it dawned on me: I've managed to hold onto that sentimentality that still prompts me to go venture out alone in a remote location and just be...quiet. Quiet as the snow. Which is hard. I mean, let's cut the crap here, we live the noisiest lives in history. I'm probably not the first to say it, but we are a seriously media obese culture. We have the digital feedbag on day and night - status, status, status, eat, eat, eat. STOP THE INSANITY!
So, I did. But I didn't cut off all my hair, bleach it and write a book. I quit Facebook and moved way out into the deep thickets of Google+.
Here were my initial thoughts on leaving:
- Goodbye timeline that sucks and mobile app that doesn't load. I hope Google+ doesn't have a timeline with a Times Square feel and proper mobile functionality
- I'll miss you crazy chick in Vegas that posts lots of pics with side-boob. I'll miss you lady who broadcasts her kid's every developmental moment and tYpEs LiKe tHis. And you, wack-job, political agenda guy. I think I'll miss you most of all, Scarecrow
- So long to that private group with my buddies, which amounts to a frat house. It's graduation day
Now here's where I stand 30 days out:
- I miss the Facebook timeline like athletes foot. Google's interface is smoother, simpler and far easier to deal with. Same plays out on the Google+ app. We all know now that Facebook cut corners so Mark could afford a wedding. But still: If you give me a free BMW with a Fiat engine, I'm going to be pissed at you! The G+ app is fluid and doesn't take any time to load (+1)
- Secondly, I don't miss the Facebook [nicotine] mobile fix. It's the new smoking, except you can do it anywhere. There's no one on Google+ so I am not on it that much. Voila! (Do I know what to do with my hands or downtime now? No. But I'm figuring it out) (+1)
- Lastly, and most importantly, while I thought I would miss posting blackmail photos and destroying my friends every day on comment threads...OK, wait, I won't lie to you here, I do miss that part. BUT! I just moved that action back over to texting again. No blood, no foul. My best friend had a baby 3 weeks ago. I actually called and congratulated him instead of lobbing some sentimental turd on his Facebook wall (+1)
So, the million dollar question you are asking, "Is Google+ that much better and should I consider switching?" I don't know. That's something you have to Facebook poll yourself on. What I can tell you is: It's nice and quiet out here. In fact you can almost hear the low hum of Googling if you sit real still...and listen.
Oh, and congrats to Adam and Meg. Hopefully Myles grows up without Facebook, uses eye contact and holds his head up high when walking around the world (so he can see side-boob happen in person).