I’ve put off the “what I’ll miss about Google Plus” post for a few reasons. One is, of course, that we like to pretend good things aren’t actually ending. Another is that it’s just difficult to pin down exactly what was so great about it. At least it is for me; over the past few weeks, friends have been talking about it and reposting fun memories from the previous eight years, while I’ve still just been thinking it all over.
At some point, it looked as thought 15,000 people were following me on Google Plus. How many of them were real? A startling number to me, though probably not to people who have large “audiences” on Instagram or YouTube or whatever, and certainly there were people there who had a much much higher number. But definitely there were thousands at some point. I felt a little beholden to that, but the way things were always changing, you could never be sure of any kind of consistency. So I just tried mostly to be good and friendly but also there was a lot of odd flirtation, some of which I enjoyed, and it taught me better than anything that some people are very good at that and some people do not know how to read a room.
And I did make friends, far too many to name here, and if I named many of them it would look even worse to leave some out, wouldn’t it? But there’s Terry, who’s like a brother, really like one of my own brothers I never see, with whom I enjoy talk of old music and old movies and old things in general. And Joyce, who is very like-minded in most ways, not in a couple of important ways, but that doesn’t matter, you know, with friendships. At least, if you don’t know it, you definitely should. Friendships are not calculated on balance sheets.
There’s Karen, such a dear and fascinating person. We have only a few things in common, but we share a mode of thinking. We get each other. I love that. Similarly with Jenn, and sweet darling Bruce Shark. He’s everybody’s darling friend, but as he is a great admirer of my widow’s peak, he’s more than just that fun friend to me, as is John. ❤️
It was great to talk with people who were in my own age group; I really need my closer friends to remember at least some of the 1970s. I made a new best friend there, too, someone I know I could be BFFs with if we lived in the same neighborhood. The “we’re just like this” kind of friend. 🤞
So that’s one good aspect of Google Plus.
There were so many communities and so many people who counted for special to someone else. You weren’t there; you have no idea how huge it was, and every negative article you read was superficial drivel. (Consider how many major news outlets acted as though we knew what the entire Mueller report said moments after seeing Barr’s pre-written 4 page summary.) And yet we were all able to become intertwined at different times, like with the Secret Santa project, which allowed people to send gifts to others around the world; people in need and people they just wanted to do something nice for.
Some people shared selfies all the damned time, others never did at all. I wanted to see everyone so I could say, ooh, look, it’s you! But not everyone is comfortable sharing themselves that way. It was neat when people did often, though, because you could tell they were trying to see themselves, and to have you see them as well. Most of the time, that’s not vanity; it’s humanity. It’s a gift.
We found things we had in common! How great is it to just randomly mention some seriously odd bit of pop culture and have sixteen or sixty or six hundred people say OMG I KNOW?
I could say why I truly think it never completely cemented itself and why they stopped marketing it and I bet I’m right, but I don’t want to appear negative toward anyone right now.
Anyway, “Social Media” has changed incredibly since 2011. It’s sort of amazing to realize how different everything is in such a short span of time. Mostly I do not think it’s better. It is certainly bigger. And without Google Plus, for some of us, it will be a little or a lot worse. I just hope we can take from it and apply it to other areas. What else can we do, after all?