Google + shows networking evolution
July 14th, 2011
Omaha, NE – For many of us, online social networking has become an integral part of our lives. Whether it be communicating with friends, loved-ones, or co-workers; logging on to websites like Facebook and Myspace have become just as popular as making a phone call or sending a letter ever were. So how will new forms of social networking like Google Plus fit into the mix?
From the iconic profile image of Myspace creator Tom Anderson welcoming each new user with a thumbs up and a big grin to the unmistakable “beep” anytime a new chat message comes up on Facebook, social networking sites have come a long way. Some could even argue that theyâ€™ve completely changed the world of communication as we know it.
On June 28th, 2011, a new hat was thrown in the ring. Google officially made the leap into the social networking world with the site Google +. Following the news of the launch, I promptly moved to become one of the â€œinvite onlyâ€ members of the site, but to no avail. However, once the site became more available to public, I signed up, logged in, and spent close to six hours exploring the site.
After interacting online with several friends on the site, I began to wonder: what does Google + mean for traditional networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, and will the new networking site have any chance of dethroning Facebook – the powerhouse networking site valued at nearly $100 billion?
Dr. Adam Tyma, an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, thinks that’s a possibility:
â€œI think itâ€™s going to make certain people much more happy.”
Tyma has focused much of his research on computer-mediated communication. He said that although many people will probably enjoy the immense customization with Google +, others might be reluctant to jump ship from other social networking sites.
“I think on the flip-side though, people out there are going to say, why should I invest in yet another social network?” emphasized Tyma. “But Facebook, as was reported a few months ago, was losing members – or theyâ€™re sort of stagnant, which tells me that, as of Myspace and Xanga, and the ones before that, I think social networks kinda have an evolution. It seems like theyâ€™ve kinda hit a critical mass or a saturation point with Facebook, and what it can do.â€
Tyma said in the past, social networking sites have attracted different audiences with different preferences. But as those connected to the online world make these decisions, and become further connected, how will that ultimately affect the way we communicate?
â€œOh thatâ€™s theâ€¦ $5 million question,” Tyma laughed. “Right now, no one knows. Everyone thinks they have an idea. And I think we wonâ€™t know in near 20 years, until weâ€™ve really seen a full generational shiftâ€¦.in how weâ€™re writing and how weâ€™re communicating day by day.â€
Tyma went on to point out that whether itâ€™s by hieroglyphics of the past or emoticons in present-day text messaging, our ways of communicating with one another will continue to change. Only time will tell where that will ultimately take us.